Part of the Project
World renowned Parisian-based trend forecaster Lidewij Edelkoort sat down with Core77 to share insight into the show she curated for this year's Design Indaba, Totemism: Memphis Meets Africa.
Showcasing the works of 53 South African designers, the exhibition drew connections between the pop aesthetic of the Memphis movement and contemporary trends in South African design and craft.
Founded by Milan-based architect and designer Ettore Sottsass in the '80s, the work of the Memphis Group was characterised by a democratic philosophy, bold colours, simple geometries and stacked forms produced with industrial materials. As Sottsass proclaimed, Memphis, "is everywhere for everyone".
Post-apartheid South African designers reappropriated African icons in their use of animal prints, spears, wooden masks and African crafts in interior design. As the movement became saturated, the South African design community turned to art, crafts and textiles instead. As Edelkoort writes in the call for entries:
Now these long-lasting trends can gain inspiration from new ideas working with colour, craft and pattern, liberating themselves in pretty much the same way that Memphis did. Working on my trend forecasts for 2014 and beyond, it suddenly became very clear to me that there is a kinship between the Memphis ideas and South African style, between shantytown colours and Italian kitchen laminates from that period. The use of tactile matter, coloured patterns, wild animal skins, fringes and finishes, lightbulbs and neons are all reason to believe that we can expect an '80s inspired revival of some magnitude.
In this video Edelkoort speaks about a resurgence of interest in the Memphis movement as evidenced in fashion, interiors, color palettes and pattern while highlighting the innate humanity in creating totems.