Wednesday, April 23, 2014

'Memphis-Milano: 1980s Italian Design' Opens at the Dixon Gallery

all photos courtesy of Dennis Zanone, Memphis-Milano

Remember that post on Ettore Sottsass and his technicolor '80s architecture? While Sottsass' buildings are attention-grabbing to say the least, he is actually better known as the furniture and industrial designer who founded the Memphis Group. Based in Milan (not Memphis), the post-modern design studio created furniture and household objects throughout the '80s that were matched in flamboyance only by Sottsass' buildings.

Dennis Zanone, a collector of all things Memphis, contacted me soon after I featured Sottsass' architecture and sent me these incredible photos of his home. Filled with over 150 works by Sottsass and his contemporariesand incidentally located in Memphis,'s basically an artful version of Pee-Wee's Playhouse on crack.

It's no surprise, then, that the impressive collection garnered the attention of Memphis' Dixon Gallery & Gardens, who opened Memphis-Milano: 1980s Italian Design earlier this month. The retrospective exhibit gives viewers a chance to view Zanone's private collection in its entirety, from sofas and  bookshelves to lamps and electronics. Click through to see a few of the pieces on display in all their vivid detail...

Lido sofa by Michele De Lucchi (1983)
Lido Sofa by Michele De Lucchi (1983)

Laurel lamp by Peter Shire (1985)
Laurel Lamp by Peter Shire (1985)

Colorado teapot by Marco Zanini (1982)
Colorado Teapot by Marco Zanini (1982)

Ginza robot cabinet by Masanori Umeda (1983)
Ginza Robot Cabinet by Masanori Umeda (1983)

City table by Ettore Sottsass (1983)
City table by Ettore Sottsass (1983)

Tanganyka, Victoria and Baykal ceramic vases with flowers by Marco Zanini (1982)
Tanganyka, Victoria and Baykal ceramic vases with flowers by Marco Zanini (1982)

Plaza Vanity by Michael Graves (1981)

One final note in case you were wondering: the Milan-based Memphis Group took its name from the Bob Dylan song "Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again." The exhibit occurring in Memphis, Tenn., is just a happy coincidence. Check it out if you're in the area.


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