Who created the 1980s design aesthetic? A great video about the Memphis Group

Originally published at: Who created the 1980s design aesthetic? A great video about the Memphis Group | Boing Boing

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I just found a Swatch watch in an old box of crap, lucky me.

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Déjà vu:

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Everything old is new again?

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that was a fun thread

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big fan - we have a Sottsass “Westside” lounge chair in our living room, just had it reupholstered .

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I rewatched the (criminally underrated) Ruthless People for the first time in decades a few months back. I had somehow forgot about the Memphis overload in that film.

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Just like in the long, long trailer.

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Folk seem to love to hate Memphis… whatever happened to ‘who cares’ or ‘meh’.

I really like that this is design upsetting people… hello I’m design what do you think about me? Comfort… go elsewhere, you will be better served.

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All the dishes got broken and the car kept driving

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Memphis group could be a terrorist organization for how egregiously they hijacked a room’s aesthetic.
But I do covet a pair of those Adidas Memphis Group kicks.

I always find the 1980s to be a decade of several aesthetics. On the one hand you have the Memphis group representing what felt like the optimism of the decade to my pre-teen mind. On the other I had my every day reality, think Get Carter (the Michael Caine one) after 15-20 more years of post-industrial decay.

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True for much, but the Westside is extremely comfortable.

I would absolutely love to sit in one!

You have a fine piece of furniture

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I don’t think the manufacturer, Knoll, would have let him make an uncomfortable chair - they are mainstream and they have to sell chairs…

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Yes, the actual look of the 80s included a lot of what most people would think of as 1970s and earlier styles. Partly because most people and businesses weren’t on board with these cutting edge style trends, people don’t actually tend to replace everything all at once, and the much more common look in the 80s was “we haven’t been able to afford anything new since 1976”.

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I don’t fault the designers for exploring a new space – even if all they created was a catalog of counterexamples, that’s still valuable. Most eighties postmodernism in the Memphis / Venturi / Terry Farrell vein is not stuff I’d pay money for, but there are interesting design thoughts there.

The problem is it’s all very academic, with layers of irony, if not actual sarcasm, that translate badly into mainstream fashions. When everyone buys knockoffs of Robin Day’s plastic stacking chair, that works out OK because the original design is earnestly meant to be a good, practical chair. But if knockoff Sottsass chairs become fashionable, you just end up with a world of weird bad chairs that everyone can’t wait to see the back of, and aggravated class tensions, and just the 1980s generally.

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Same re paying money for, but there is a pattern and colour language that ironically sparks nostalgia for ironic nostalgia of another time

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:notes:Happy days are here again :notes: