Memphis succeeded, on the one hand, in expressing human wishes and imagination at a particular historical moment and, on the other, was able to provoke, seduce and direct attention back to design. Many were won over to its cause by the fascination it showed in product quality at a time when industry and product managers were governed by a trend stripping the product totally of any sensuous material and thus seductive qualities.
Michele de Lucchi
Living With Memphis
Memphis only lasted six years, yet the radical design collective made a lasting impact on the field of design. Memphis challenged the aesthetics of Modernism and, as Aldo Cibic explains, “reset everything design had seen before”.
Identifiable and bold, Memphis designs found their way onto movie sets and into the homes of forward-thinking and creative luminaries such as Karl Lagerfeld, whose Monaco penthouse was bursting with the bold designs that he acquired directly from Ettore Sottsass and David Bowie who collected Memphis alongside important modern and postmodern art. Memphis also found its way into retail establishments such as Macy's and Bloomingdale's and in the years since its introduction, museum collections across the globe.
Dennis Zanone first saw the work of Memphis in 1984 during its first American tour and over the past several decades, he amassed an impressive collection that rivals the depth and breadth of Lagerfeld’s and is the largest since the fashion designer’s, which sold at Sotheby's in 1991. Zanone has lived with Memphis and is a champion of the movement. The incredible group of works offered in this sale has been extensively researched and was the basis of the 2014 Memphis-Milano: 1980s Italian Design exhibition at The Dixon Museum.
Michele de Lucchi b. 1951
Italian architect and designer Michele de Lucchi was born in Ferrara in 1951. He studied in Padua and Florence founding the radical “Gruppe Cavart” for experimental architectural design. After meeting Ettore Sottsass, he was invited to join Studio Alchimia in Milan and was also involved with the Memphis Group design movement. In 1975, de Lucchi graduated in Architecture from the Florence University then taught for two years as an academic assistant.
De Lucchi’s expansive range of design projects includes furniture, interior design, lighting, and architecture. He has designed for European companies such as Artemide, Alias, Unifor, Hermès and Alessi. From 1992 to 2002 he was Director of Design for Olivetti developing experimental projects for Philips, Siemens, Compaq Computers, and Vitra. In 1998 he founded the architectural studio aMDL, opening offices in Milan and Rome, and designed corporate work spaces for Deutcsche Bank and UniCredit. His wide range of architectural projects includes the Expo 2015 pavilions for the City of Milan and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia.
A widely respected educator, he was appointed to be Professor of the Design and Art Faculty at the University of Venice in 2001, Professor at the Design Faculty of the Politecnico of Milan in 2008, and awarded an honorary doctorate from Kingston University in 2006. His work is included in the collections of the Neues Museum Berlin, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the Triennale di Milano.
Auction Results Michele de Lucchi