Memphis Design Movement by George 13 Walters, Sep 23, 2012 -
In 1981 Mr Ettore Sottsass, an already world famous Italian product designer in his ‘60’s formed a new design team with six other designers and architects with all but Sottsass in their 20’s. Their main objective was to break all traditional rules that had applied to furniture and product design up until that time. They became almost instantly famous around the world for their outrageous furniture designs as well as their many different production pieces. Their designs were repulsive to some and to a few others very delightful. Most everything they designed had a cartoon aspect to it, there was nothing they did that wouldn’t make me smile or even chuckle a little back then. The timing of this new movement came at an opportune time, the long and troubling Vietnam war was finally over and there seemed to be a new optimistic attitude in the air that things were going to be better now. After listening to a Bob Dylan album the group came up with the name “Memphis” that stuck and became the official name of the movement.
The bookcase pictured above was titled the “Carlton Cabinet” and was designed by Mr Sottsass himself in 1981. It was finished using a combination of different laminate colors, textures and patterns. This movement was also heavily influenced by the Art Deco period and the then current American pop culture.