Memphis: Then and Now

The radical design movement that defined the look of the 80s and how it is still very much alive and well.

Written by Craig Berry
Former Junior Designer at VBAT

Image for post
Image for post
Memphis – Milano Collection
Image for post
Image for post
Major Design Movements of 19th, 20th & 21st Centuries

As iconic and recognisable as Memphis is now, it was very controversial at the time. For some people, it celebrated the use of bright colours, vibrant patterns and bold graphic forms and for other people, it was offensive, distasteful and famously was referred to as “a shotgun wedding between Bauhaus and Fisher-Price”.

Memphis, named after Bob Dylan’s song Stuck Inside the Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again, which was playing when the group first met. Their first collection was launched at Milan’s Salone del Mobile in 1981 at the Arc ’74 showroom. The show was critically acclaimed for its innovation and unique look; the show included designs for clocks, lighting, furniture, and ceramics created by internationally famous architects and designers.

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Various Memphis products (c. 1981)
Vox — The origin of the 80's aesthetic
Image for post
Image for post
Memphis Group Designers
Image for post
Image for post
Camille Walala – Clerkenwell Store (2016)
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Supermundane various work
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Karan Singh various work
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Morag Myerscough various work
Image for post
Image for post
Kate Morross – Tribal Multicolour (2012)
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Supreme x Mendini collaboration (2016)
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Adidas Pomo Pack (2014)
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Garage Italia Customs – BMW at Milan Design Week (2017)

If you enjoyed this story, please clap👏 and share to help others find it! Feel free to leave a comment below.

Follow VBAT: Instagram | Facebook |Linkedin |Twitter
written by Craig Berry, Creative at VBAT
edited by Connie Fluhme, PR at VBAT

A game of chess is like a swordfight. You must think first, before you move.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store