Had we thought of it ourselves, “That’s so Sottsass” is a phrase we might have used hundreds of times over the past five years to describe all the designs spawned by the recent mega-Memphis revival. Crazy colors, clashing patterns, geometric shapes on shapes — it all came rushing back in homage to Ettore and his crew, a fact which the intrepid duo behind our fave London store Darkroom chose to acknowledge this week with the debut of their So Sottsass collection. Launching last night — day one of this year’s London Design Festival — the installation includes both Memphis-like objects by outside designers and new pillows and wrapping papers conceived by Darkroom owners Rhonda Drakeford and Lulu Roper-Caldbeck as part of their ongoing in-house collection. There’s also an amazing window display by up-and-coming Italian stylists StudioPepe.
Drakeford took time out of her crazy LDF schedule to not only share photos of So Sottsass with us, but to tell us the inspiration behind the collection: “At Darkroom, we’ve always had a penchant for maximalist modernism — bold colour palettes, big patterns, and brave combinations,” she says. “In a decade of ‘greige,’ we love exploring how being bold and playful with design can fit into modern life. It comes as no surprise then that Ettore Sottsass, the great figurehead of 1980s postmodernist powerhouse Memphis, has always been a huge inspiration to the Darkroom concept and aesthetic. It’s been so exciting working towards our So Sottsass season, and having the chance to fully explore the ideas that Sottsass introduced way back then for our self-designed So Sottsass collection. What’s also been hugely rewarding is the chance to work with other designers who share the joy of his style. StudioPepe from Milan have created a beautiful window installation for their Kora vases (in special edition Darkroom colours and print), and artist Jamie Julien-Brown’s Totem lights are pulling in the crowds since we installed them in the window. It’s wonderful to see the reaction of our customers and people passing by on the street to the eye-popping installations on offer. Maximalism is still going strong here!”So Sottsass wrapping paper by DarkroomSo Sottsass pillows by DarkroomConcrete jewelry by Elke KramerTotem lights by Jamie Julien-BrownBlankets by Cristian ZuzunagaWindow installation by Studiopepe (more photos below)