The Memphis Variations, Salone del Mobile, Milan
During the Salone del Mobile fair in Milan, we created a huge showcase of Memphis products in a wide sequence of empty spaces that were magically transformed by colored lights. The celebrated 1980’s collection of furniture and objects was mixed with a selection of contemporary paintings and sculptures.
In the 80s, a group of designers and architects gathered around Ettore Sottsass gave shape to a cultural movement that revolutionized the world of design. Today, the historical pieces designed at the time still display their subversive modernity. Decontextualized and removed from the dust of their time, Memphis furniture and objects are still able to provoke spontaneous and irrational links with objects from other cultures, geographical areas and historical periods.
Inspired by these assertions, the exhibition takes the form of a fragmented and discontinuous interior, the concept of a house expressed through a theatrical staging where the elements of the scenography are actually the protagonists and the actors of the presentation. They are fragments of interiors, micro-stories that refer to the themes of the debate that saw the birth of movement: anti-minimalism, the rejection of good design, the explosion of color and decorum, absurd and irrational forms, the coexistence of cultures high and low of different origins.
In the exhibition, the historic pieces from the 1980s are confronted through infinite variations with ancient ethnic rugs, antiques, contemporary works of art, rare pieces and mass market objects, based on the same idea today as back then, to live freed from bourgeois rules. The concept was to rediscover the root of the Memphis revolution in its irreverent expressive freedom.