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Walala and the Memphis Movement

An explosion of pattern and colour.

That`s how you could describe the Camille Walala exhibit at NOW Gallery in Greenwich. And is also how you could the Memphis style. So, before telling you about Walala and the Memphis Movement now, here you have some quick facts about it:

5 basic things to know about the Memphis Group

  • It was founded in Milan (Italy) in the 80s (It rum from 1981 to 1987) by designer Ettore Sottsass.
  • It owns its name to the Bob Dylan’s Song ‘Stuck inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues again‘ that was playing on the background duration the inaugural meeting.
  • At the time, the movement was reacting to the austerity of modernism. Personally I think that its come back is also a way to react to these days widely adopted minimalist tendencies (come in, even Scandinavian design trends have moved from bland to more rich, deep colours!)
  • Their design were inspired by Art Deco (striking geometric figures), Pop Art (use of bold colour palettes) and Kitsch Style (you either love it or hate it)
  • Memphis designs have been the inspiration the many fashion lines in the last years. Nathalie du Pasquier, a member of the original group, designed a Memphis inspired line for American Apparel in 2014


Images by Dennis Zanone – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Memphis Style here and now

I have come across from several examples of this style, but my two London based favourites are Benjamin Craven and Camille Walala

Craven is a young designer I met a New Designer this last month. (I told you about him and some other amazing designer on one of last month posts)

When asked about his source of inspiration, he said ‘I’m constantly being inspired, from the moment I walk out my door to when I go to bed. I’m heavily inspired by architecture and just general happenings. It could be a brutalist building to a bright yellow grit bin against a concrete wall… I’m forever taking pictures of everything on my phone, from architectural compositions to cleaning products!’

He is constantly experimenting with new ways of applying his pattern designs, and his latest creation is a colletion of tote bags that I completly love (The Wiggle bag is my favourite, hands down)

benjamin craven memphis patterntote bag

Pictures via Benjamin Craven Instagram

Walala X Play

But, the reason for this post was me going to a Camille Walala exhibit.

There I went all the way from Camden to Greenwich on a Saturday morning to the NOW Gallery to play around the colourful mace that Walala has created there. And let me tell you, it was Fun! 

walala maze now gallery

Granted, is not that big, but the strategically placed mirrors had me almost walking into walls in more than one occasion. Although, that might had almost happen because I was way too busy taking pictures. Let me tell you, it was on of the most instagramable (is that even a word?) places that I have been to as of late. And I am not the only one that thinks that way, seeing as it was becoming so popular that they had to start ticketing the entrance (is still free, but they needed to control how many people they let in)

walala maze now gallery london mirrors

‘A graduate in textile design from the University of Brighton (lovely city, very much recommend going visit if you get the chance), Camille Walala established her studio and brand in East London in 2009, and has since evolved from textile-based work to art direction, interior design and large-scale civic art and installation projects. Drawing on influences including the Memphis Movement, the Ndebele tribe and Victor Vasarely, Walala has an irrepressible enthusiasm for playful, graphic patterns that invoke a smile.’.

walala maze now gallery london patterns

And that’s exactly what it did the first time I came across her work here in London. It was the building facade she painted in Old Street, and it really draws your attention to it (even if it is not as colourful as other of her creations).

And I am really looking forward to Villa Walala, her Landmark Project for this years London Design Festival. Defined as a ‘soft-textured building-block castle’ it would definitely be a colourful change from the City landscape. You would find it at the Exchange Square from the 16 to the 24 of September, I know I am not missing it!

villa walala london design festival

Picture via London Design Festival

Memphis Group

Ettore Sottsas instagram curated by Raquel Cayre

Trend Alert: 1980s Memphis Design

Memphis at the Design Museum

The Memphis Movement is having a moment

Benjamin Craven

Website

New Designers Interview

Camille Walala

Website

Now Gallery Exhibit

Villa Walala – London Design Festival

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