Design has dealt for too long with form first—form should follow idea.

Gerard Taylor

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. 

Gerard Taylor

He studied industrial design at the Glasgow School of Art and the Royal College of Art, London. After graduating, he worked under Ettore Sottsass in Milan, working in the commercial department of the Sottsass studio, designing retail spaces. Taylor was invited by Sottsass to join Memphis in 1981, creating ceramic works the, most notably, the Piccadilly lamp, a design enduring for its architectural quality and playful, confident presence. In the late 1980s, Taylor returned to London to head his own design agency in London, working with the likes of retail stores, hotels, Knoll and Sony. He also serves as the creative director of Orangebox, which produces progressive office systems, and he writes and gives talks internationally about product design and the workplace environment.

Auction Results Gerard Taylor