The project was first called The New Design, but when Bob Dylan's "Stuck Inside of Mobile (With the Memphis Blues Again)" kept sticking on Sottsass's record player at the phrase "Memphis blues again," they decided to change the name to Memphis.
Their goal was to free themselves of modernist doctrine by employing industrial materials, as well as gaudy colors and kitschy geometric and leopard skin designs, generally found in 1950s comic books or cheap diners. They often employed spangles and glitter.
Memphis was considered sensational, and people either loved it or hated it. Some saw it as innovative and exciting. The old guard considered it tasteless and of little design value.
By 1985 Sottsass had become disillusioned with Memphis and the media circus surrounding it, so he announced that he was leaving the collective but continued to work with Branzi, Cibic and De Lucchi.
|Freemont cabinet by Ettore Sottsass|
|First chair by Michele De Lucchi|
|Belvedere console by Aldo Cibic|
|D'Antibes cabinet by George Sowden|
|Memphis Group in the Tawaraya boxing ring conversation pit in 1981|