Memphis Group: The Revolution of 1981 That Reshaped Interior Design Forever

Memphis Group: The Revolution of 1981 That Reshaped Interior Design Forever


In 1981, Ettore Sottsass and his young collaborators formed the Memphis Group, unleashing a design revolution that forever altered the course of interior design. This groundbreaking movement shattered conventions, defied the norm, and paved the way for a new era of creative expression. Over four decades later, their impact still reverberates throughout the design world. In this blog post, we will explore the profound influence of the Memphis Group, highlighting their iconic designs and examining how their legacy continues to shape the world of interior design. We will also delve into, a platform that celebrates and showcases objects inspired by the Memphis Group's aesthetic.

The Birth of Memphis Group

The Memphis Group emerged from a desire to challenge the established norms of design in the early 1980s. Led by the visionary Ettore Sottsass, the group of young designers, including Michele De Lucchi, Martine Bedin, and Nathalie Du Pasquier, sought to break free from the minimalist and functionalist principles that had dominated design for decades. Instead, they embraced bold colors, playful patterns, and unconventional shapes to create a vibrant and distinctive design language.

Iconic Designs

The Memphis Group's designs were a riot of colors, patterns, and geometries. They drew inspiration from a wide range of sources, including pop culture, Art Deco, and kitsch. Some of their most iconic pieces include:

  • The Carlton Bookcase: Designed by Ettore Sottsass, this asymmetrical bookcase featured a cacophony of vibrant colors and angular shapes. It epitomized the Memphis Group's rejection of symmetry and traditional design principles.
  • The Bel Air Chair: Created by Peter Shire, this chair resembled a whimsical throne with its playful use of materials, including plastic and metal, and its bright, contrasting colors.
  • The Bacterio Print: Designed by Ettore Sottsass, this famous textile featured a pattern reminiscent of microscopic organisms. It encapsulated the group's fascination with the unexpected and the unconventional.
  • The Super Lamp: Michele De Lucchi's lamp design combined a playful form with bright, bold colors, challenging the idea that lighting should be purely functional.

Impact on Interior Design

The Memphis Group's impact on interior design was profound and enduring. They shattered the notion that design should be rigid, austere, and practical. Instead, they celebrated individuality, self-expression, and the joy of living. Their influence can be seen in:

  • Postmodernism: Memphis Group's designs played a pivotal role in the emergence of postmodernism in design, which emphasized eclecticism, irony, and a rejection of modernist principles.
  • Colorful Aesthetics: They reintroduced color to interior design, sparking a renewed appreciation for vibrant and bold palettes that still influences designers today.
  • Mixing High and Low Culture: Memphis designers freely mixed high and low culture references, paving the way for eclectic interior design that combines diverse elements from various eras and styles.
  • Emphasis on Individuality: Memphis designs celebrated individualism, encouraging people to express their unique tastes and personalities through their living spaces.

The Memphis Legacy on is a platform that pays homage to the Memphis Group's enduring legacy. We offer a curated collection of objects and products inspired by the Memphis aesthetic. Here are some examples of objects available on

  • Decorative Accessories: From vases and cushions to lamps and wall art, offers a range of decorative accessories that capture the spirit of Memphis design.
  • Tableware: Unique and quirky tableware items on the platform add a touch of Memphis design to your dining experience, making every meal a work of art.

The Memphis Group's audacious designs of 1981 marked a turning point in the history of interior design. They shattered conventional boundaries, ushering in a new era of creativity, color, and individualism. Today, their legacy continues to inspire designers and homeowners alike, as evident on platforms like, where Memphis-inspired objects offer a vibrant and playful way to infuse your living spaces with the enduring spirit of this groundbreaking movement. The Memphis Group's revolutionary impact on design is a testament to the power of pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo, leaving an indelible mark on the world of interior design that remains as fresh and influential as ever.

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