Contrary to its name, the Memphis design movement originated in Milan in 1980. Founded by a collective of young architects and furniture designers, the micro-movement was a rebellion against the strict modernist principles that prioritized utility above all else. Early admirers of the flamboyant trend included the late Bill Moggridge, former director of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and Karl Lagerfeld.
Ferruccio Laviani was also a member of the Memphis group, and the spirit of that movement is evident in his 2003 Bourgie Table Lamp designed for Kartell. A tower of baroque swirls, the clear polycarbonate lamp (the same material Philippe Starck used when he created the famous Ghost Chair) became one of Kartell’s notable designs. Now, for it’s 10th anniversary, the Italian furniture company has tasked 14 designers to cook up new versions of the Laviani original.
The outcome for Kartell Goes Bourgie is a colorful hodge-podge: Japanese studio Nendo (who just gave chopsticks a clever makeover) played with the silhouette and transparency of the original to create two lamps that click together like puzzle pieces. Starck teased out the Memphis idea of ornamentation and smothered his lamp in cheap baubles and jewelry. Most imaginative might go to Patricia Urquiola’s interpretation. The designer, who can masterfully repurpose materials, flipped the lamp into a rococo hanging chandelier.
Kartell Goes Bourgie was unveiled this week during Maison & Objet and are for sale at Kartell’s Paris flagship store.