From the swinging '60s to the post modernism of Italian design group Memphis in the early 80s, colour was used as a vehicle for self-expression, rebellion and for its sheer exuberance.
Mod to Memphis featured a range of objects drawn from the Museum's outstanding 20th century design collection. It explored the imaginative and often daring use of colour in furnishings and fabrics and traced its influence on designers both internationally and in Australia.
From the 1960s, the exhibition showcased the colourful and inventive use of plastics with such iconic designs as Eero Aarnio's yellow, space age Globe chair (1965), Gaetano Pesce's red compressible polyurethane foam Up chair (1969), and the unforgettable lipstick red lip sofa, known as Marilyn, by Studio 65 (1970).
Mod to Memphis also highlighted the arrival of post-modernism in design in the 1980s, pioneered by Italian design collaborative Memphis. Led by Ettore Sottsass, Memphis challenged accepted notions of 'good taste' and provocatively embraced ornament and decoration. Their colourful and innovative furniture, lighting and textiles contributed dramatically to the exhibition.