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Design Icon: George Sowden

Read the story of George Sowden, extremely talented Milan based designer and one of the founding members of the iconic Memphis Group. Step into Memphis charm, through a harmony of saturated colors in daily objects, patterns and graphics on ceramic vases and carpets designed by George Sowden.

Leeds born industrial designer, George Sowden has been involved in several interdisciplinary projects- from domestic appliances to handmade decorative objects, including ceramics, glassware and textiles. After completing his architecture studies at Gloucester College of Art, in 1970 he moved to Milan, inspired by the fluorishing design scene of the city, and never left. 

His adventure in Milan began when he started working as a consultant for Olivetti, where his innovative research and fresh curiosity to break out from conventional designs led him to unite with ​Ettore Sottsass and other international designers to create ​Memphis. Also known as a dawn of the new style in the early 80's, the Memphis design movement pushed the limits of strong graphics and colors breaking the rules of Modernism. These unmistakeable elements became the main ingredients of his personal practice: his iconic patterns, featuring both bold black and whites and colorblocking shapes and lines, have influenced countless designers over the years, defining the prevalent aesthetic for design in the 1980s as provocative, rebellious and radically different from the previous austerity

​Simultaneously, he founded his namesake studio, ​Sowden Design, that collaborates with several internationally renowned companies.

Pattern adds emotional interest and identity to interiors

In his extensive career, George Sowden has received several awards including the prestigious ADI Compasso d'Oro and his works have been featured in “Designing the 21st century” published by Taschen. In 1990, The Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Bordeaux, France, held an exhibition of his work, “George J. Sowden Designing 1970-1990”.

George Sowden continues to develop products for various companies. Some of his statement furniture and décor pieces for Post Design, Bitossi Ceramics, Memphis display a new rendition of classic products that surely strike out of the mundane. He says that his designs facilitate one’s personal freedom to decide the final effect of the patterns used.

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