We were always trying to keep the name new, to keep Memphis very alive and innovative.

Marco Zanini

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. 

Marco Zanini b. 1954

Marco Zanini was born in Trent in 1954 and studied architecture at the University of Florence. Taking a break from his studies in the late 1970s, Zanini worked for a short time as a designer at Argonaut Company in Los Angeles before settling back in Florence, and working under Ettore Sottsass, who he had met as a student in 1975. Sottsass later invited Zanini to join the Memphis group in 1981 and he contributed iconic designs such as the Dublin sofa, Roma chair and Union shelving unit. Most notable in his diverse body of work however, are his bright, totemic glass and ceramic works which are enduring icons of postmodern design. Today, he teaches design and architecture at various universities throughout the world.

Auction Results Marco Zanini