Walking in Memphis, in India

Friday March 08, 2019 Written by Kane


When people talk about '80s architecture, what they often mean is the asymmetrical, gaudy designs of the Memphis Group. Founded by Ettore Sottsass in 1981, the Milanese collective helped create some of the most '80s-looking buildings ever made. Patrick Bateman would have been really into it if he had a sense of humour. Karl Lagerfeld was a big fan – this Flickr gallery gives you the idea.


It’s an aesthetic very much of its time, but one that lives on today in India. Particularly Tamil Nadu – India’s southernmost state – where French photographer Vincent Leroux has documented houses that seem to bear Sottsass’s influence. It’s unclear whether the houses are direct homage (apparently Sottass visited the country many times), but in any case it’s still odd to see such striking colours and off geometries living so far afield from the time and place with which they are associated. Even if it is a case of parallel thinking.