The Next Big Thing: New Memphis style

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  • The Eighties are back! The re-worked version of the Memphis movement feels truly modern

    Crown Paint’s Sun-Drenched City trend highlights the palette with paint colours

    From top: East Village Matt Emulsion from £18.47 for 2.5L; Ballet Shoes Period Collection from £24.99 for 2.4ltr, Beauty Queen Solo Emulsion from £20.72 for 2.5ltr; Mustard Jar Matt Emulsion from £18.47 for 2.5ltr; Rebel Feature Wall Emulsion from £18.42 for 1.25ltr; Crown Paint


    The design movement The Memphis Group was founded by a collection of architects and designers in Milan 1981, headed up by Ettore Sottsass. The aim was to create furniture and products to counteract minimalist design; inspired by Pop Art, Bauhaus and Art Deco the collective added personality to furniture and fabric design by assembling colourful, asymmetrical block shapes. The bold shapes also drew inspiration from African design with fabric in both colourful combinations and graphic monochrome.

    Founding member of the Memphis movement Nathalie du Pasquier uses bold pattern and colour in her collection designed for Hay; from £50, Made In Design

    Designers are now being inspired by this playful style for furniture and lighting, and particularly fabric and surface design in the signature palette of punchy pastels, a strong black accent with hits of mustard and olive and primary tones of blue and yellow.


    During Milan Design Week in 2015,
    Kartell paid homage to Sostsass with colourful exhibition showcasing 8 pieces of furniture, lighting and vases designed by Sottsass for Kartell that had never been seen before.

    So Sotsass plates, £80, Darkroom

    Darkroom celebrated the Memphis Movement during Design Week 2013, along with the in-store exhibition by interior designer and passionate follower of the movement Camille Walala; in-house designed products such as the trio of Sottsass plates, cushions, fabric and stationary are still part of the current collection.

    Dalston mug, £19.95, Camille Walala range, Aria

    Laura Slater’s textile designs (below) of assembled, layered shapes and confetti grid fabrics are a contemporary update on the style.

    Assemble/Configure lampshade, £90, Laura Slater

    The influence is clear within Ferm Living‘s range of rugs and cushion in the Memphis palette range, but updated with inky blue and grey, see home accessories such as the Geometry vases, Wall Wonder Clock and Elkelnad mobile.

    Wall Wonder, £129, Ferm Living


    Go wall to wall Memphis style with this new wallcovering design.

    Memphis Bound #2 wallpaper, £89 per roll, Sanne Sofia range, Feathr

    Berlin brand Hem landed in London last year, check out the Alphabeta lights, the powdered-coated shapes can be assembled for a customised pendant. There are also textiles such as table cloths, napkins, throws and cushions that bear the signature monochrome grid pattern and confetti designs.

    Alphabeta Quattro, £246, Hem

    After Habitat went all out with a bold Memphis inspired collection last season, it’s much more subtle for SS16, see the Malo shelving unit with triangular insert, abstract geometrics Silo rug and cushion, and Bobsy, Leri and Pepae vases.

    Bobsy vase, £30, Habitat

    Textile designer Tamasyn Gambell has used the geometric Aztec print in the palette of putty pink, mustard and punctuated with dark blue for lighting, accesories, fabric and tote bags.

    Aztec tote bag, £40, Tamasyn Gambell

    Bristonian brand, El Aich Designs, have a range of ceramics, clay and paper goods in confetti designs in monochrome and primary yellow.

    Yellow bowl, £15,El-Aich range, Unique & Untiy

    Check out London studio Giannina Capitani hand knitted cushions Forma, Tic Tac and Etto.

    Forma cushion, £79, Giannina Capatini

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