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These 10 Pieces Prove That Memphis Design Is Alive and Well

Squiggles? Eccentric geometric shapes? They’re all here, and more.

memphis design movement
Gustaf Westman / Pieces Home

There’s no question that the last decade saw a revival of the Memphis Milano movement that captured the popular imagination. The collective—brought to life in the early 1980s by the Italian architect and designer Ettore Sottsass in reaction to the austerity of modernism—was known for its predilection for eye-catching asymmetry, Pop color palettes, and the incorporation of synthetic and composite materials, and these are the traits that reverberated with Instagram influencers and curators alike. From the 2016 Supreme collaboration with Italian designer and founding member Alessandro Mendini to the 2017 Met Breuer exhibition “Ettore Sottsass: Design Radical,” the unabashedly eighties design movement was suddenly everywhere.

Now, in a new decade, the Memphis movement hasn’t quite relinquished its influential grip on the work of emerging talents. “I often think of Sottsass saying functionalism is not enough, design must also be sensual and exciting,” says Brooklyn-based designer Asa Pingree, who describes the movement’s influence on his work as an “ideological connection.” The Stockholm designer Gustaf Westman concurs: “My objects are supposed to be friendly and fun, and hopefully are an escape from reality in some sort of way. That’s what the Memphis group did, too.”

Many contemporary designers are interpreting the patterns and colors of Memphis in their own fresh ways, evolving the collective’s design vernacular and customizing it for the way we live today. From Italy to Brooklyn, here are 10 of our favorite Memphis Milano–inspired pieces, any of which would surely bring some liveliness and spunk to your home.

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      1 Elio Lamp, Small
      2 Curvy Mirror
      Gustaf Westman
      3 Occhio Floor Lamp
      Mario Bottiglieri
      4 Tubo Bookend
      Bi-Rite Studio
      5 Wavy Rug
      6 Lombrella Chairs Special Edition, Set of 4
      7 River Bedding
      Dusen Dusen
      8 Console x Shelf
      Objects for Objects
      9 Double Float Hook
      10 Monitor Stool
      Asa Pingree
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