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Memphis Again: Five Years of Design History at Triennale Milano

This week, Memphis and Triennale Milano present "Memphis Again": an exhibition curated by Christoph Radl, displaying the brand's most iconic objects made between 1981 and 1986. Take a peek at the pieces that have made the history of design, as part of a cultural movement that marked the beginning of a new artistic era.

From Wednesday 18 May, Triennale Milano will host the Memphis Again exhibition: a five-year travel across one of the most disruptive cultural movements of Italian design. The exhibition presents more than two-hundred pieces of furniture and objects produced between 1981 and 1986 for the Memphis Collection.

​Memphis Milano was a collective of architects and designers, a real cultural movement born in the 80s by the creative genius of ​Ettore Sottsass. Now as then, its design is characterized by a unique iconic style, striking and eye-catching. Known for the use of bright neon, primary and pastel colors, bold patterns and geometric shapes, Memphis style represent an explosive mix of Art Deco, Futurism and Pop Art. As a revolutionary movement, Memphis continues to influence the imagination of the general public, from fashion to art and cinema. Its liberating spirit is, still today, a source of inspiration for designers around the world, representing a revolution of the concept of design and exceeding the old aesthetic dogmas and productive aspects.

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Memphis was born from a compelling need of freedom and revolution, focusing on the artistic process behind design. Its objective today, just as it was back then, is that of directing the attention on the expressive and cultural possibilities of a design that goes beyond marketing. Memphis Again Exhibition offers a special focus on this cultural movement, celebrating the world of Italian design free from the established conventions.

Memphis was a vacation from functionalism.

Aldo Cibic

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The exhibition is far from being a mere homage or historicization, its personality lies behind the fertile imagery that characterized the Memphis project right from its founding. The objects will be displayed in chronological order in the “Curva” gallery, which is more than 100 meters long, just like a fashion show in which the observer will be the one moving along the catwalk in a space that, thanks to the furniture and the music by Seth Troxler, feels like a nightclub.

Pieces from the greatest exponents of radical design such as ​Ettore Sottsass​Michele De Lucchi​Andrea Branzi​Matteo Thun​Aldo Cibic​Nathalie Du Pasquier and more are on show along the immersive path of the exhibition. Each object plays the role of a silent actor, emblems of the cultural movement that rewrote the rules of Italian and international design, passing through the ages and building a colorful bridge between past present and future.

The fact is that we no longer are scared: I mean the fear of having to represent or not represent something or someone, élites or derelicts, traditions or boorishness. We no longer fear what the past sends along nor do we fear what the more aggressive future sends.

Ettore Sottsass