With its abstract patterns, geometric motifs, bright colours and contrasting combinations, the Memphis style really was the odd one out in the eighties. And with an eighties revival in full swing, it’s only normal that the Memphis look should make a comeback as well!
The Memphis movement arose in 1980 when a group of like-minded designers met one evening in... Milan, fashion city par excellence. The designers felt that the then contemporary design was stylish but impersonal and colourless. They created a signature style with busy prints, bright colours, geometric patterns and a wealth of different materials. They drew inspiration from pop art and art deco and derived their name from a Bob Dylan song that happened to be on the radio during their meeting: ‘Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again’.
For eccentrics and daredevils
The Memphis school dominated the eighties and was hot for a while in interior decoration and the fashion world. It advocated eccentricity and daring: metallic and fluorescent colour accents, insane shapes and patterns, striking furniture, decorative items and jewellery. Memphis was so over the top that the movement quickly faded into the background again. But then in recent years Memphis gradually started making a comeback in the wake of the overall eighties revival: first on the catwalk and then also in interior decoration.
Compared to thirty years ago, the furniture has a tighter finish. More minimalistic in design, the furniture also has slightly quieter colours. However, the geometric patterns and the cheerful graphic elements have remained: playful lines in black and white, twirls or blocks, rectangles, circles and cones, ...
Natural hues, striking accessories
The busy patterns often go hand in hand with more subdued colours, natural hues and materials, creating a somewhat ‘calmer’ – but far from dull – look that makes it easier to alternate with striking accessories. The creed is ‘back to the eighties but in style’. Take care not to exaggerate if you want to integrate the Memphis look in your interior because it’s easy to go over the top.
A solid base is crucial. Everything starts with your choice of floor. Opt for a white or grey floor because they are easy to combine with bright accessories, colour accents and materials such as natural wood, ceramics and marble in various shapes and sizes.
Extra tip: if your mind is set on a floor with a marble or concrete look then go for a user-friendly laminate or vinyl version, for instance from our Arte or Ambient Click collection. Thanks to modern techniques, imitation floors look just like the real thing, they are water-resistant and easy to clean!