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THE MEMPHIS GROUP (POST MODERNIST GROUP) - 1980s

V. Ryan 2011

 

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The Memphis Group, established of the 1980s, was composed of designers based in Italy. Its designs emphasised Post Modernist design principles, although some principles were shared with Modernism. The obvious difference between Modernism (Bauhaus) and Post Modernism (Memphis Group), was that modernist designers produced functional products, whereas Post Modernist Designers, regarded aesthetics as the primary reason for the products they designed. It could be argued that Post Modernist products, designed by Memphis designers, were first and foremost pieces of art or exhibition pieces, not useable, practical items. Two of the best known ‘Memphis’ designers were, Ettoire Sottsass and Danny Lane.
 
Below is a chair designed by Danny Lane, based on Memphis design principles. Alongside it is a chair designed by Marcel Breuer, based on Bauhaus / modernist principles. The differences in each design philosophy, are written underneath each chair.
 
 
   
DANNY LANE
MEMPHIS GROUP
MARCEL BREUER
BAUHAUS DESIGNER

THE ETRUSCAN 1984

MB-118 CHAIR 1928
Visually, high impact.

Artistic / ornamental, an exhibition/display piece.

Lacks functionality.

High level of craft skills applied during manufacture.

'One Off' manufacture.
.
Materials applied to a unfamiliar situation. Glass normally applied to a different type of product.

Target Market: Rich Individuals, Galleries, Design Museums.
Minimalist in design.

Simplicity is key to this design.

Simple shape and form.

The function of the chair put before decoration.

Minimal material used.

Mass production.

New materials and manufacturing techniques used in this innovative design.
Aesthetically pleasing.

Target Market: General Public
 
 
 
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