Walking in Memphis
Ettore Sottsass 1986 Telephone
When this Austrian born Italian architect and designer teamed up with an American friend, the founder of one of the large West Coast design offices, the result was technically sound and visually outstanding. With the trademark building block look of the Memphis movement he had created almost a decade earlier, it suggested simplicity. Masterful proportions made it easy on the eye. A mix of Art Deco and Pop Art, the philosophy behind the movement made it a successful attempt to lead the design world in a new direction, with bold colors and graphic patterns. Criticized by some as ‘a shotgun wedding between Bauhaus and Fisher Price’, it still accomplished to inspire many designers and consumers who appreciated the vividly expressive form language and the fun it expressed. For the creator of the phone, it was just the logical continuation of his life’s work, which started in his father’s architecture office, continued through years of being responsible for Italy’s largest office machine manufacturer’s design until his later life, where sculptures, fine arts, architecture and product design kept him busy and made him one of the most influential designers of his generation.