How the Memphis Movement Went Against “Good Taste” to Inspire Designers Today

How is Memphis design making a comeback?

Memphis design began to reemerge in 2005 and 2006. The LACMA in Los Angeles exhibited a survey of Sottsass’ designs a year before he passed away. Many years later in 2014, Nathalie Du Pasquier—a founding member of the group—designed a collection of patterns for American Apparel.

In 2016, the brand Supreme released a series of skate decks and clothing designed by Alessandro Mendini, who appeared in the first Memphis show. And in 2017, the movement made its way to a big box retailer—West Elm debuted a series from contemporary Du Pasquier-inspired brand Dusen Dusen.

Where to find Memphis design:

Original Memphis Group pieces are collectible and are out of reach for many people. But, the squiggles, bright colors, and wacky shapes still live on thanks to contemporary designers. For proof, look no further than the Instagram account of Raquel Cayre; she shares archival images of Memphis pieces as well as objects, interior, and architecture that carries on the spirit of the group.

Here are 10+ ways the Memphis movement inspires the design of today.

The textile design of Dusen Dusen:

A post shared by dusendusen (@dusendusen) on

A post shared by dusendusen (@dusendusen) on

Ceramics by the Recreation Center studio:

Set design by Philip Lück:

A post shared by Philip Lück (@philiplueck) on

The art of Spencer Harrison:

A post shared by Spencer Harrison (@spenceroni) on

A post shared by Spencer Harrison (@spenceroni) on

Paper plates by Bash Party Goods:

What is Memphis Design

Clothing by Camille Walala for Gorman:

A post shared by gormanclothing (@gormanclothing) on

Ceramic jewelry by Julie Moon:

What is Memphis DesignWhat is Memphis Design

Duvet cover by Society6:

What is Memphis Design

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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