Christoph Radl, who designed the image of Memphis in the eighties, curates an exhibition at the Triennale that exhibits over 200 furniture and objects created between 1981 and 1986 for the homonymous collection

From 18 May to 12 June 2022 , Triennale Milano and Memphis Milano present Memphis Again , a direct exhibition curated by Christoph Radl, graphic and creative in the field of design and fashion, art director of Interni for more than 20 years and still collaborator, exhibited in the evocative space of the Curva della Triennale which for the occasion takes on the unprecedented (double) as a catwalk for fashion shows and eighties night clubs.

Read also the interview with Christoph Radl

Over 200 furniture and objects by Memphis

The exhibition features over two hundred pieces of furniture and objects - bookcases, partitions, display cabinets, dressing tables, dining tables, support tables, coffee tables, desks, chairs, armchairs, sofa beds, table lamps, wall, floor, ceiling lamps, ashtrays, flower vases, fruit containers, textile accessories, carpets, in the most diverse materials, woods, plastics, laminates, glass, ceramics, porcelain, silver, steel, fabrics - made between 1981 and 1986 for the Memphis collection.

Memphis is to design as Futurism is to the history of art

In the space of the Curva di Triennale, over one hundred meters long, the objects are presented in chronological order, like a fashion show , in which the spectator will move along the catwalk in a the night club atmosphere suggested by the set-up and the soundtrack by Seth Troxler. On the walls, phrases of protagonists, critics, architects and designers are projected.

"Memphis is to design as Futurism is to the history of art" he explains, with a phrase with a high visual impact, Marco Sammicheli, curator for the design, fashion and crafts sector of Triennale Milano and director of the Museum of Italian Design.

The intervention of the curator Christoph Radl

"We didn't want to do a Memphis historicization exhibition, nor 'a tribute to'. The intent is simply to revive the Memphis reality as it is ' was then, and still is today: lively, colorful and fun" explains Christoph Radl, curator of Memphis Again. Born in Switzerland and raised in Austria, the graphic designer and art director moved to Milan in 1977. After graduating from design school, in 1980 he began working with Ettore Sottsass, designing the image of Memphis. Together with Sottsass Associati, in 1984 he founded the Italian communication agency. In 1993 he then started his own communication and graphic design studio which works for companies in the fashion, design, publishing and contemporary art sectors.

"The exhibition is conceived according to two key metaphors: a fashion show and the clubbing scene of the Eighties. Just as there are some clothes, perhaps not functional, but which make us more attractive, happy and intriguing, so there are libraries like Carlton that allow you to establish an emotional relationship with object : the books begin to do a little dance that colors the house and makes us more cheerful. This is the reason for the metaphor of the parade, which translates into an 80 meter long platform. But this time the models are still. Let us be the ones to move, to admire them. Everything is packaged in a ' eighties club atmosphere, with a soundtrack that traces the disco music of that era, reinterpreted in a contemporary way. Good show everyone!".

To experience (all of them) the emotions of Memphis

"In 1981 I was not yet born" explains Charley Vezza, CEO of Memphis Milano. "I can understand the reasons why Memphis was born but not the sensations. This is why I asked Christoph to make experience all those emotions. We wanted a contemporary exhibition, because if it is true that Memphis expresses itself in a luster, her objects are now part of an eternal present. All the objects on display are new, produced serially since 1981 in the same way: they are not re-editions, limited editions or reproductions . The title is evocative: Memphis Again. Again, again, again: this is what we want to do in our entrepreneurial vision".

More than a tribute, an alternative proposal

The exhibition is neither a homage nor a historicization. It intends, now as then (1981), to re-propose attention to the expressive and cultural possibilities of design beyond marketing. Memphis was born as a proposal to update the language of design and architecture. An alternative proposal to a design conceived to solve problems above all functional and/or industrial, while also emphasizing the psychological and emotional aspect of the discipline.

Every designer, for example, was free to design whatever he wanted, without any restrictions . Later, when from a cultural necessity it became, as expected, 'projects and prototypes', the company for distribution and sale was born. And it worked.

The protagonists

Starring (in order of appearance): Ettore Sottsass, Michele De Lucchi, George J. Sowden, Martine Bedin, Andrea Branzi, Shiro Kuramata, Marco Zanini, Matteo Thun, Peter Shire, Aldo Cibic, Nathalie Du Pasquier, Gerard Taylor, Masanori Umeda.

Special guests: Arquitectonica, Michael Graves, Hans Hollein, Arata Isozaki, Javier Mariscal.