Michele De Lucchi

michele de lucchi

 

Apart from Sottsass himself, Michele De Lucchi was Memphis’s most important member. Older than many of the group’s members, he had been trained as an architect in Florence and had participated in many of the “radical design” experiments of the 1970s, including Studio Alchymia, an avant garde collective that was an important precursor to Memphis. Asked about this anti-commercial but creative moment, he has said, “we debated, we staged happenings, developed metaphors… We were no longer just technicians.” He has remained a vital force in Italian design to this day, particularly active in the field of lighting.

De Lucchi’s work for Memphis has a very distinctive look, based on strong blocks of color along with black-and-white stripes. The forms are jaunty and animated, though cleverly counterbalanced so that they remain functional. The First chair, introduced in 1983 for the group’s third collection, has the distinction of being the only Memphis design ever to be truly mass-produced. It is estimated that about 3000 were made.