Originating in the Italian protest movements of the 1970s, Memphis was created in Milan during the winter of 1980-1981 by Ettore Sottsass and a group of young designers. They borrowed their name from Bob Dylan’s song The Memphis Blues Again.
In 1981, Memphis presented its first collection outside the walls of the Milan Furniture Fair and then brought together many international designers who instigated a major formal renewal. They reinvented a language in which the forms, scales, materials and colours were radically rethought. The Carlton bookcase, the Terminus lamp and the First chair all evade the rules of good taste and prioritise playfulness, while the Plaza chest of drawers, an interpretation of the Art Deco tower of the Chrysler Building in New York, can be seen as architecture.