The exhibition Memphis Plastic Field is held at Fondazione Berengo during the Biennale: there is still something to discover about the rebel spirit of the movement founded by Sottsass

One would think: “Enough! Are we still talking about an exhibition on Memphis?”. Well, yes, we have already said everything that could be said about the group founded by Ettore Sottsass in 1981 in Milan, there have been exhibitions, lectures, books, publications.

One could even speak of a ‘trend’, of a current mysteriously revived in recent years, hailed by journalists, critics, gallery owners, and really loved by the public. However, they often focused only on appearance, almost without taking into account the group’s critical spirit and provocative approach. This is why it is useful and interesting to visit the exhibition Plastic Field curated by Jean Blanchaert and Adriano Berengo, running until November 25th, 2018 at Fondazione Berengo (, at Palazzo Franchetti, during the 16th edition of the Venice Architecture Biennale.

In addition to plastic and laminate, the group’s favorite materials, a room is entirely dedicated to glass, reflecting the Foundation’s great commitment to Murano glass.

You will find the iconic pieces produced by Memphis, along with others less known. On show are works by Thomas Bley, Martine Bedin, Aldo Cibic, Alessandro Mendini, Javier Mariscal, Shiro Kuramata, Michael Graves, Massimo Iosa Ghini, Matteo Thun, Gerard Taylor, Masanori Umeda, George Sowden, Maria Sanchez, Marco Zanini and Marco Zanuso.

Curators Adriano Berengo and Jean Blanchaert, Photo credit Karolina Sobel, courtesy Fondazione Berengo

All this, in sharp contrast with the historical backdrop of Palazzo Franchetti, the perfect frame for the colored path that imposes itself in the space exactly the same way that Memphis rebelled against the canonical and prevailing taste of the period, going against trends, leaving an indelible mark on the international design scene of that time.

[Text Valentina Dalla Costa]