The Memphis group was formed by elite Italian designers and architects to come up with a series of profoundly compelling products in the 1980's. Their movement was a deviation from the mainstream minimalistic fundamentalism and disregarded the conformist adherence to specific routine shapes, hues, and geometries of products.
Establishment Of Memphis Group
Established in 1981, Memphis group, under the leadership of Ettore Sottsass, was a response against the plain, dark humorless design of the 1970s. This previously lacking individual identity and personal independence in design is what this group of designers sought to reinvent. Their creations, though not commercially very successful, were groundbreaking at the time as far as design philosophy is concerned. The signature Memphis piece was splendid, colorful and alluring, contrasting the dim blacks and tans of European furniture.
Memphis designers drew motivation from such developments as Art Deco and Pop Art, and post modernism styles, for example, the 1950s Kitsch and cutting edge products that came to pervade the design industry in the next one decade.
Characteristics Of Memphis Group Design
Memphis designs usually came with brightly colored covers. Covers were used on products regularly to shield kitchen furniture and surfaces from stains from spillages. The group particularly picked this material as a result of its self-evident ''absence of society''.
The expressionist nature of Memphis designs attracted criticism as superficial and shallow. However, its proponents saw their style as a bid to reinvigorate the radical design movement that had died away in the previous decade. They sought to redefine innovation in design, and thus at the same period of their prominence, Memphis designers collectively authored and promoted the book, “Memphis, The New International Style”. The book was used to reach people and inspire them on the group’s design style.
End Of Memphis Group
The work of the Memphis Group has been depicted as dynamic, flighty and decorative. It was brought about by the group to be a 'prevailing fashion', which like all styles would rapidly reach an end. In 1988 Sottsass and members dismantled the group.
Although Memphis officially closed shop, its pieces are to date valued by collectors and continue to impact on visual depiction, eatery design, fabrics and clothing. But the products are not only viewed as novelty items, but they have also inspired a revival of the style in the recent years. This is a clear indication that Memphis style still resonates well with our present day culture.