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David Bowie‘s collection of Memphis-Milano furniture (2016) (collectorsweekly.com)
69 points by tintinnabula 9 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 16 comments

This style is still alive and well in Milano - on a recent trip to La Rinascente (a shopping mall) I noticed a new edition of the record player listed here. I also noticed no indication of price, and correctly assumed it was out of the sane spectrum - https://www.brionvega.it/en/products/radiofonografo/radiofon...

That’s awesome! Feel free to post some more links (or mail me), I’m very fascinated by Italian design.

Stylistically, it's hard to imagine anything as stereotypically 80s as this collection of furniture and lamps. It's like the early days of 3D rendering in physical form.

I was in architecture school in the early 80s, part of the last generation trained to produce only hand-drawn work. Memphis, plus Michael Graves on the buttoned-down side (what do you mean you can’t find a caryatid supplier?) and Frank Gehry on the wild side (the chain link fence goes where?), were hugely disruptive, creating imagery that was “so wrong it had to be right” for us noob designers.

That said, two of the most archetypal 80s things I can think of are that weird percussion break in the middle of “Owner of a Lonely Heart”, by Yes, and David Byrne’s huge suit. Although these are music-related, they were every bit as influential to my cohort.

That huge suit found itself in oversized jackets and shirts (all kinds of “tops”) in Hollywood. Looking at early pictures of mature stars today, Pitt, Moore, Roberts, etc... shudder...

That's because graphic designers in the late 80s and 90s slavishly copied this design language from the early 80s.

The originals were prestige high-ticket items. It's interesting how the style trickled down to mass culture.

Pretty sure that’s just how things work. Svante guard designs start out as elite expensive works, whether they’re furniture, art, or fashion. As time goes one that work “trickles” down to mass produced items for the masses.

The Devil Wears Prada had a neat little scene about it:



Is too!

These pieces of furniture remind me of all of my childhood clothes. My parents dressed me almost exclusively in Bugle Boy from 1988 to 1995.

I thought I was rid of this nightmare.

I also find this style awful and nightmarish.

I can only assume it developed as some kind of cultural reaction to the situations at the time, because it seems so damningly unattractive to me. Of course this is my super subjective opinion and I'm sure there's a perfectly acceptable way to appreciate it - but the sheer contrasts and color clashing remind me of the smell of dust and mediocre LP covers bleached pale from sunlight.

"Excuse me, are those Bugle Boy Jeans you're wearing?"

Forgive the tangent:


  I once had a pair of bugle boy pants
  and I wore them into a gas station
  and this story has nothing to do with waffles
  but the lady at the gas station said,
  "By any chance are those bugle boy pants you're wearing?"
  and I said "Why yes they are"

  And that's the real story of this song

  You gotta wear pants to get waffles
  You gotta wear pants to get waffles
  they said no shoes, no service
  but if you don't wear pants
  you'll get thrown out on your ass
(From my band's song "Waffles"... no good recordings of it exist though)

> The upcoming Sotheby’s auction includes a few other items that predate the movement, like Bowie’s red Olivetti from 1969, as well as the full breadth of Memphis output, from a 1981 “Nefertiti” tea set by Matteo Thun to a 1986 “Big Sur” sofa by Peter Shire.

The article features a big pic of Peter Shire’s iconic sofa.

Peter is one of the original awesome guys of the LA art world. He has kept a studio in Echo Park for years, and he has a holiday open house where you can buy some of his smaller objects. His studio website seems down, but here’s his feed: https://www.instagram.com/petershire/?hl=en, and some pictures from his studio: http://www.yoshimakino.us/work/artist-visit-2/

Looking at some of Ettore Sottsass' earlier industrial design work he did for Olivetti (e.g. the Valentine typewriter or the Divisumma calculator), and then at his Memphis Milano stuff, it almost seems like he woke up one day a bit bored and decided to go completely nuts from now on.

Not sure it's true bot I recall reading somewhere that the goal with Memphis Milano was to apply the colors and forms of abstract painting to furniture design.

The Carlton bookcase is... quite something.

The title was altered from the original article. Unfortunately, the new title features the wrong apostrophe character (a left single quotation mark was used instead of the correct right single quotation mark). So it’s »‘« instead of »’«.

Also, why use directional quotation marks at all? I don't see the need here

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