Memphis design is a distinctive design style that emerged in the 1980s, primarily in Italy. It was founded by the architect and designer Ettore Sottsass, along with a group of young designers, including Michele De Lucchi, Nathalie Du Pasquier, and Alessandro Mendini. The movement was named after the Bob Dylan song “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again.”

Memphis design is characterized by its bold, colorful, and eclectic aesthetic. It often features geometric shapes, asymmetrical patterns, and whimsical motifs, as well as a mix of materials such as plastic laminate, terrazzo, and metals. The style combines influences from Art Deco, Pop Art, and 1950s kitsch, resulting in designs that are playful, energetic, and unconventional.

In categorization, Memphis design is considered a subset of Postmodernism, a movement that emerged in the late 20th century as a reaction against the modernist principles of simplicity and functionalism. Postmodernism embraced eclecticism, historical references, and a playful approach to design, rejecting the idea of a singular “correct” style.

Memphis design had a significant impact on various fields, including furniture design, interior design, fashion, and graphic design. Its bold and expressive aesthetic challenged the prevailing design norms of its time and continues to influence designers and artists today, particularly those interested in exploring the boundaries of color, form, and materiality.