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5 pieces we love from MK Gallery’s latest exhibition

Pushing the boundaries of stylish furniture, the Memphis Group rose to prominence in the early 80s. Their iconic designs are on display right now at MK Gallery, in neighbouring Bucks, so don't miss these five coolest pieces.

Memphis: Plastic Field is a kitsch-cool exhibition running at the MK Gallery until 12 September on the Italian design and architecture group, The Memphis Group.

If you’re feeling a little lost, never fear. Here’s your 101: Rebelling against the grey and merlot tones of 1970s interiors, The Memphis Group’s USP was bright colours, bold shapes, and unusual textures.

The exhibition, which first ran briefly in December but had to stop for lockdown, displays over 150 of the design collective’s most significant objects. Here’s a sneak peak of some of our favourites. It’s a look but don’t touch exhibition we’re afraid, but definitely offers a bit of well-needed interiors inspo… or just a lift from these endless grey skies?

Carlton, 1981

Wooden shelves were so 1970s, apparently. A book cabinet? Get outta town — real stylists stored their fiction in a plastic laminate, primary-coloured, multi-layered sculpture. Designed by Ettore Sottsass in 1981, the ‘Carlton’ was a bright, geometric home for books, and also a cool room-divide.

Super, 1981

It’s a dinosaur, it’s a hedgehog — no, it’s a lamp! Made from fibreglass in 1981 by Martine Bedin, the ‘Super’ was designed as a table or floor light with just that extra bit of pizazz. A certain… je ne sais quoi that products these days are definitely missing.

Ginza, 1982

Frankly, if you’re not storing your underwear inside a 5’7 robot cabinet, you’re doing something wrong. Designed by Masanori Umeda in 1982, the ‘Ginza’ is made primarily from wood, with plastic laminate shelves and drawers

Big Sur, 1986

Picture this: it’s been a long day. Finally home, you collapse onto your ombre, geometric ‘Big Sur’ sofa — what else? Designed by Peter Shire, this funky living room essential is made from 100% wool with a lacquered wood frame.

Photo of The Memphis Group, 1981

Gang gang! Taken in 1981, this photo shows the members of The Memphis Group lounging on Masanori Umeda’s ‘Tawaraya’ boxing ring, which had been designed that same year. Who knows what bright, geometric patterns were running through their minds…

See more of The Memphis Group’s designs on display at Memphis: Plastic Field, running at the MK Gallery until 12 September.

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