“Memphis and the Post-Contemporary Object” Exhibition announce

Design Made in Hong Kong 2022:
Memphis and the Post-Contemporary Object
Date: 1 – 3 September 2022
Venue: Exhibition booth at “25 Years of Design”
Hall 1, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre

Design Made in Hong Kong 2022: Memphis and the Post-Contemporary Object is a project commissioned by the Italian Cultural Institute – Hong Kong, in which Novalis Art Design provides concept and guidance to university students at the Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI) to produce new furniture that shows a contemporary interpretation of the Memphis Group. The students’ projects will be shown alongside Memphis Group works at the 25 Years of Design exhibition. 

The Memphis Group was an Italian design movement founded by Ettore Sottsass in 1981 alongside Michele de Lucchi, Aldo Cibic, Matteo Thun, Marco Zanini, Martine Bedin, Nathalie Du Pasquier, and George Sowden. Active between 1981 and 1988, the Memphis Group defined ‘80s aesthetic and greatly revolutionised the design world. 

Memphis sought to rebel against the ‘uniform panorama of good taste’ of the time, where the principle ‘form follows function’ reigned supreme. With Memphis, design has been liberated from rationality, and enters the realm of poetry. Form no longer had to follow function. Design could be loud, colourful, whimsical, with clashing patterns. Objects were liberated from function and instead became a visual object rather than just a tool or piece of furniture.

The pieces shown by the Memphis Group and their international collaborators were shocking: mixing elegance and kitsch, playing with absurd and irrational shapes, using plastic laminates with patterns that simulate precious materials, but most of all it introduced the pleasure of play into the rational language of industrial production. Love it or hate it, it rapidly amassed public and press attention worldwide, and came to define the aesthetics of the ‘80s. More importantly, it expanded the boundaries of design, emphasizing the expressive possibilities of design as a vehicle of communication, rather than just one of utilitarian function.

With this in mind, each student of the Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI) participating to the project designed a furniture that declines the aesthetic identity of Memphis in a way that is consistent with the brand and, at the same time, in line with the new aesthetic sensibilities native to digital networks, thus bringing the freshness of the new contemporary visual scenarios into the real product, defining a new contemporality in which the physical product speaks the language of the digital image, turning it into a “solid”, physically present element.

Here are some examples of the students’ projects:

The exhibition, featuring masterpieces from the Memphis group alongside the students’ projects, will be part of “25 Years of Design” held at Hall 1, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 – 3 September 2022.

Opening hours:
1 Sep 11 am – 7 pm
2 Sep 11 am – 7 pm
3 Sep 11 am – 6 pm

Register for free tickets here: