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triennale milano presents memphis again, italian design icons with a nightclub twist

MEMPHIS AGAIN AT TRIENNALE MILANO, NEITHER AN HOMAGE NOR A HISTORICIZATION

 

In the winter of 1980-1981, a group of young designers eager to break away from the dogmas of functionalism and industrial design emerged. Formed around Italian architect and designer Ettore Sottsass, the collective called Memphis took its name from the Bob Dylan song ‘Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again’, which was playing at the group’s first meeting. 

 

From May 18 to June 12, 2022, Triennale Milano and Memphis Milano present Memphis Again, an exhibition that is neither an homage nor a historicization, but a continuation of the collective’s objective which today remains the same: to direct the attention on the expressive and cultural possibilities of a design that goes beyond marketing. 

triennale milano presents memphis again, italian design icons with a nightclub twist
images © Delfino Sisto Legnani & Alessandro Saletta

 

MORE THAN 200 PIECES OF FURNITURE AND OBJECTS PRODUCED BETWEEN 1981 AND 1986

 

Curated by Christoph Radl, the Memphis Again exhibition at Triennale Milano presents more than 200 pieces of furniture and objects produced between 1981 and 1986 in the most diverse selection of materials. Displayed along the Curva Gallery, the objects have been organized in chronological order along the 100-meter-long space that welcomes guests and guides them along a catwalk with music by American DJ Seth Troxler, adding a nightclub twist.

 

Non-compliant with the rigidity of modernity, Sottsass imbued his designs and objects with expression, humor and humanity. In the exhibition’s dark walls, quotes by critics, architects and designer are projected — in both English and Italian — giving an intimate glimpse into one of the design world’s most celebrated collectives.

triennale milano presents memphis again, italian design icons with a nightclub twist

 

CELEBRATING THE BANAL AND THE EVERY DAY

 

Throughout its active years, the Memphis group aim was to overcome the dictates of functionalism while celebrating the banal and every day. They broke the taboos of good taste and had their final breakthrough in 1982 when fashion guru Karl Lagerfeld furnished his apartment in Monte Carlo with the latest Memphis pieces.

 

‘Memphis does not deny functional utopia, but it looks at functionality with a wider vision, more as an anthropologist than as a marketing specialist,’ said Barbara Radice, Memphis Artistic Director, in 1981. ‘Function therefore not only in respecting ergonomic norms or salability statistics, but also in respecting a vision of public necessity, a historic push.’

triennale milano presents memphis again, italian design icons with a nightclub twist

 

The Memphis Again exhibition features bookshelves, dividers, vetrines, toilette furniture, dining tables, countertop tables, coffee tables, desks, chairs, couches, sofa beds, table lamps, appliques, floor lamps, chandeliers, ashtrays, flower pots, fruit bowls, fabric accessories, and rugs by Ettore Sottsass, Michele De Lucchi, George J. Sowden, Martine Bedin, Andrea Branzi, Shiro Kuramata, Marco Zanini, Matteo Thun, Peter Shire, Aldo Cibic, Nathalie Du Pasquier, Gerard Taylor, and Masanori Umeda. Special guests include Arquitectonica, Michael Graves, Hans Hollein, Arata Isozaki, and Javier Mariscal.

triennale milano presents memphis again, italian design icons with a nightclub twist

 

‘I would have loved to suggest a sort of non-cultural iconographic, a culture that belongs to no one (not an anonymous culture), but the iconography of a culture that is not used and not usable, not because it doesn’t exist, not even because it is not utilized, but because it can’t be looked at, because it is not considered, because it doesn’t belong, because it looks like it doesn’t exist in known culture, and maybe it doesn’t even produce culture. These areas of non-culture, these areas of “no one’s culture” do exist.’ — Ettore Sottsass.

 

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triennale milano presents memphis again, italian design icons with a nightclub twist triennale milano presents memphis again, italian design icons with a nightclub twist triennale milano presents memphis again, italian design icons with a nightclub twist triennale milano presents memphis again, italian design icons with a nightclub twist

 

exhibition info:

 

name: Memphis Again

location: Triennale Milano

dates: May 18 to June 12, 2022

ETTORE SOTTSASS (18)

MEMPHIS (16)

MILAN DESIGN WEEK 2022 (50)

TRIENNALE DESIGN MUSEUM (19)

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