My favourite favourite things at this year’s London Design Festival (LDF) were the vivid and often in-your-face installations and products inspired by Memphis – the design movement founded in Milan, Italy in the early 1980s. Happily for me, designs channelling Memphis’s bold geometric forms, bright colours and hyperkinetic patterns were present at several of LDF’s venues.
First up was the historic Somerset House, which played host to ‘Ten Designers in the West Wing.’ Patternity, one of the participating design studios, created an immersive monochromatic room installation they described as “a giant patterned playground, celebrating human interaction.”
Image credit: PDD
Choosing to mix up the traditional Memphis primary colour palette with a combination of modern pastel shades, designer Luca Nichetto, working with design studio, Hem, also created an immersive experience to showcase the Alphabeta pendant lamps. Inside a dark, curtained room, visitors witnessed an interactive sound and light display as the 44 hanging lamps lit up in response to the 88 keys of the electric piano placed in the centre of the room. The world’s first online-customizable lamp, the Alphabeta modular lamps offer a staggering 10 billion+ combinations.
Over in North London, a welcome burst of colour came courtesy of textile designer Camille Walala who transformed Islington design store Aria both inside and out. Camille’s vibrant room-setting installation included a collection of graphic prints, ceramics, furniture and home accessories.
Image credit: Aria design store
Combining polished steel with graphic prints, Lorenzo Cereda’s conical chair made quite an impression at Tent in East London. As did the edgy lacquered chest of drawers which, according to the designer, was inspired by post-industrial landscapes. Again, the use of softer shades of blue and pink – as also seen in Camille Walala’s work and the Alphabeta lamp- give Lorenzo’s designs a more contemporary Memphis feel.
Designed by Mendes’ Macedo, the simple Pendura coat stand was just one of many of the Portuguese duo’s products that caught my eye at the Galula stand at Tent. The small but geometrically formed Três Stool/Table is also one of theirs.
Not entirely Memphis related but the clear winner of my LDF’s ‘most fun furniture piece’ award goes to another Mendes’ Macedo design. Their fun-tastic Tio End Table was one of the most photographed objects at Tent this year. And deservedly so. It brought a smile to many a face. In my book that’s just how playful design should be – wherever it comes from.
Posted by PDD
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