A couple of weeks ago I wrote a little retrospective of Memphis, the Ettore Sottsass-founded design group whose wild, geometric style came to define the look of the 80s. Their work is nothing if not polarizing — it has been called "a shotgun wedding between Bauhaus and Fisher-Price". Calling these pieces bold would be an understatement. One can imagine a room with one or two Memphis pieces, perhaps, but not an entire house full of them. But that's exactly what one Tennessee man has created.
Dennis Zanone, a wedding photographer, has amassed the largest collection of Memphis pieces in the US and possibly the world, bringing them all together in his modest Tennessee home. (Designer Karl Lagerfeld famously filled his Monaco apartment with Memphis pieces in the 80s, but he sold his entire collection in 1991.)
Zanone's living room, with all those wacky colors and shapes unrelentingly superimposed upon each other, sort of feels like a funhouse. But there's something about it that draws you in — it presents a sort of pleasing surreality, like this is a space when anything could happen, where the natural order of things is subverted just a little bit.
Dennis' bed isn't a bed at all — he sleeps in a modified version of Sottsass' 'Tawaraya' conversation pit, overlooked by a photo of the designer and the rest of the Memphis crew lounging in the same design in 1981.
It's definitely an admirably pure dedication to a single design aesthetic, one that Zanone says he's had fun living with on a daily basis. He says that it's a bit "frenetic because of the primary colors, mix of materials and the unusual shapes," but also "fun to see people’s reaction when they unexpectedly walk into a room full of the design. They freeze for a few seconds trying to get their brain and eyes in sync with what they are seeing."
You can see more photos of Dennis' home, and read more about his collection, at Art News. Also check out Core 77 for even more photos of the apartment, and Dennis' Flickr for a heavy dose of postmodern goodness.