March 16, 2016

The Movers & Shakers | Memphis Design

FILED IN: Uncategorized


When it comes to design you’re probably well aware that I tend to like it bold and graphic. I’ve always attributed my love of Pop Art as the basis for this affection but it’s fair to say that I’m actually more than likely to have been subconsciously influenced by the Memphis movement. The artists involved with creating these simple statement patterns, using lots of colour and geometric forms, are those that I aspire to be like and I’ll forever be drawn the work with the ‘squiggly’ shapes and thick black lines.

The Memphis Group was founded by Italian, Ettore Sottass in 1981 and promptly faded from the scene in 1987. Although short and sweet, the design and architecture movement is still inspiring plenty of others to this day and it is through these new designs that we can relive the 80s and thank the lord for Nathalie Du Pasquier.  

When Du Pasquier chose to re-emerge in 2013 in collaboration with Wrong for Hay I was smitten and when delving into further research I found that she states her bold grasp of colours and patterns is more instinct than fascination – something I whole heartedly stand by when reiterating my design process (I just know where I want each line or shape to go)With design brand Kartell also heavily championing Sottsass’ designs and Du Pasquier’s textiles in 2015, the revival of the movement has seen the return of colour in the interiors industry and I’ve got a feeling it won’t be going anywhere fast. Here’s a little round-up of some of my favourites, let me know if there is anyone around who you think I might like, you can never have too much Memphis!
Nathalie Du Pasquier for Rubberband
Talking of Nathalie du Pasquier, her latest collaboration with Mumbai-based product design brand Rubberband has just launched and boy is it right up my street. A series of six wonderfully bold notebook designs, all with an apt inside of coloured paper and coloured thread detailing – something for you stationary fanatics! There’s also a digitally printed poster if you’re after something larger / have enough notebooks to fill a museum like I do. Interestingly, the collaboration has been a life-long dream of Rubberband founder Ajay Shah ever since he was a design student, which just shows you CAN get what you want. That’s a lesson to us all to keep on doing what we’re doing.


Pressed & Folded
One of my most favourite recent discoveries is Pressed & Folded, as you may have already seen in the February High Five. The design duo’s work fits perfectly into the Memphis trend but with a slightly more organic feel – less constructed lines and even more of a playful feel. These greetings card bring a sense of the bizarre and unusual, which is surely what Memphis is all about and certainly an alternative that I’d rather gift to my buddies on their birthday. Check out their full range for even more Memphis options with a twist.


Camille Walala
Walala is a welcome addition the streets and interiors of Shoreditch with her large murals currently donning and brightening up buildings in the area. Her mix and match style of monochromatic patterns paired with bold and bright geometric shapes as well as typography makes me feel a little happy inside – this lady surely is the modern day Memphis queen. Although I could certainly handle a whole wall of Walala, these neat prints make for the perfect addition to a gallery wall and you can choose from three different sizes depending on your wall needs.


Art & Hue

Art & Hue’s latest collection gives the nod to Memphis design whilst taking inspiration from 1950s jazz music too – what a combination! Described as “Saul Bass meets Ettore Sottsass”, these prints are slightly less in your face then the rest would work wonders for adding a pop of colour to a room. Sometimes it’s hard to justify the amount of art I buy to the boy, but when there is musical connotations involved everyone’s happy!  The contemporary prints feature abstract shapes in Art & Hue’s signature halftone style  (an age-old technique that uses dots to make up the printed image) and with the brand also heavily influenced by Pop Art these designs are certainly ticking all the boxes for me. Once again, the prints are available in a multitude of colours and sizes so make some space and bring some modern day Memphis into your home. 


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Emma Jane Palin is a freelance art consultant, interior stylist and multi-award-winning blogger residing in Margate, UK. She has worked with various home and lifestyle brands not limited to West Elm, Apple, John Lewis, Habitat, MADE, Caran D'Ache + No.3 Gin. Emma is also a regular contributor to Hunker where she writes about design trends and interior advice.

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