HomeDesignMemphis Night Tales: the return of Masanori Umeda

Memphis Night Tales: the return of Masanori Umeda

The heart of Memphis continues to beat, as strong as its 1981 debut. Forty years later, the collective, founded by Ettore Sottsass, boasts a new collection designed by Masanori Umeda. A journey that began at the home of Sottsass and Barbara Radice on 11 December 1980 to the notes of Bob Dylan’s song: “Stuck inside of mobile with Memphis Blues again”. The Memphis Group – born from that happy union between Futurism, Pop Art, Kitsch and Art Déco – which today publishes the brands Memphis-Milano, Meta Memphis and Post Design, acquired Umeda’s “Night Tales” collection, composed of a number of projects from the early 1980s.

Article summary

  • Post Design brand
  • Masanori Umeda (Kanagawa, Japan, 1941)
  • The “Night Tales” projects
  • Design objects from the collection
  • Gallery

Post Design brand

Post Design was founded in 1997 under the leadership of Ettore Sottsass as a new brand. It included designers who were already part of Memphis, such as Du Pasquier and Sowden, together with other international design designers including Charpin, Santachiara, Vigo and Grawunder. Each collection has its own stylistic autonomy, resulting from ongoing research into taste and aesthetics. Post Design declares itself open to multilingualism, leaving space for individual poetics, a laboratory character, eclectic and not homogeneous.

Masanori Umeda (Kanagawa, Japan, 1941)

A multifaceted designer who graduated from the Kuwasawa Design School in Tokyo in 1962, Masanori Umeda began his career in 1967 in Milan in the studio of Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni. But the experience that led him to meet Ettore Sottsass was between 1970 and 1979 in his role as a consultant to the design studio at Olivetti.

He designed his most famous piece for Memphis in 1981: the Tawaraya Boxing ring. A piece that became an icon thanks to the photo of the group inside the ring taken by Studio Azzurro. Representing a synthesis of East and West, Tawaraya is made of tatami from traditional Japanese interiors. Umeda’s collaboration with Memphis continued for another two years, producing the Ginza robot cabinet, the Orinoco vase and the Parana bowl, both in ceramic.

 

Masanori Umeda
Star, Post Design, Masanori Umeda

The new “Night Tales” collection was presented online on the fuorisalone.it platform, during the first digital Design Week in history, and exhibited at the Post Design Gallery, Largo Treves 5, in Milan’s iconic Brera Design District.

 

Gallery

 

Utamaro sofa Masanori Umeda

 

 

Masanori Umeda
Utamaro armchair, Post Design, Masanori Umeda

In 1986 Masanori Umeda returned to Japan where he opened his studio U-MetaDesign in Tokyo, which in 2001 became Umeda Design Studio Inc. Here he continued his postmodern, poetic and ironic designs, some of which are presented today in the “Night Tales” collection.

Masanori Umeda received several awards including: the Braun Prize in 1968, the Ghent Prix of Japan Display Design Award in 1981, the Japan Commercial Space Design Award in 1984, the Grand Prix of God Design Award in 1990. It has led him to participate in several international exhibitions and to have his designs exhibited in several museums, such as the M+ Museum in Hong Kong.

The “Night Tales” projects

The Utamaro collection, designed under a great emotional impulse as for Tawaraya Boxing ring, consists of a double bed, a sofa and an armchair. Inspired by the erotic rituals of the Edo period, by the women and interiors of traditional Japanese houses, as depicted in the paintings of Kitagawa Utamaro. As well as combining, as usual for Umeda, Japanese aesthetics with the taste for western furniture.

Masanori Umeda
Utamaro Sofa, Post Design, Masanori Umeda

 

This collection, with a very high aesthetic impact, is enriched by three pieces of furniture consisting of a blue and fuchsia tubular metal structure, a black and white chequered plastic laminate border (reminiscent of the iconic Tawaraya), a tatami and trays with lacquered surfaces and eclectic coloured cushions that conclude the designs.

The design objects in the collection

 

The Medusa table (1982) a docile pet with zigzag legs in homage to the arms of Sottsass’ Murmansk riser. Coloured shadows are reflected in the room thanks to the iridescent dichroic glass top, which takes on different colours when it comes into contact with light.

 

Medusa, Post Design, Masanori Umeda
Detail of Medusa, Post Design, Masanori Umeda
Masanori Umeda
Top detail of Medusa, Post Design, Masanori Umeda

 

The Animal Chair (1982), a hybrid of nature and design, captures the user with “sympathy” and emotional involvement. Armchair, also with a zoological reference, consists of a metal and synthetic fabric seat and elegant round Plexiglas feet.

The Gelato table, wall and ceiling lamp, halfway between a cone and a clown hat, consists of a metal structure

“Night Tales” collection is completed by the Star tray, a centrepiece consisting of small coloured handles and light holes in the middle, made on a satin-finish aluminium structure.

 

Masanori Umeda
Star, Post Design, Masanori Umeda

The new “Night Tales” collection was presented online on the fuorisalone.it platform, during the first digital Design Week in history, and exhibited at the Post Design Gallery, Largo Treves 5, in Milan’s iconic Brera Design District.

 

Gallery

 

Utamaro sofa Masanori Umeda

 

 

Masanori Umeda
Utamaro armchair, Post Design, Masanori Umeda

In 1986 Masanori Umeda returned to Japan where he opened his studio U-MetaDesign in Tokyo, which in 2001 became Umeda Design Studio Inc. Here he continued his postmodern, poetic and ironic designs, some of which are presented today in the “Night Tales” collection.

Masanori Umeda received several awards including: the Braun Prize in 1968, the Ghent Prix of Japan Display Design Award in 1981, the Japan Commercial Space Design Award in 1984, the Grand Prix of God Design Award in 1990. It has led him to participate in several international exhibitions and to have his designs exhibited in several museums, such as the M+ Museum in Hong Kong.

The “Night Tales” projects

The Utamaro collection, designed under a great emotional impulse as for Tawaraya Boxing ring, consists of a double bed, a sofa and an armchair. Inspired by the erotic rituals of the Edo period, by the women and interiors of traditional Japanese houses, as depicted in the paintings of Kitagawa Utamaro. As well as combining, as usual for Umeda, Japanese aesthetics with the taste for western furniture.

Masanori Umeda
Utamaro Sofa, Post Design, Masanori Umeda

 

This collection, with a very high aesthetic impact, is enriched by three pieces of furniture consisting of a blue and fuchsia tubular metal structure, a black and white chequered plastic laminate border (reminiscent of the iconic Tawaraya), a tatami and trays with lacquered surfaces and eclectic coloured cushions that conclude the designs.

The design objects in the collection

 

The Medusa table (1982) a docile pet with zigzag legs in homage to the arms of Sottsass’ Murmansk riser. Coloured shadows are reflected in the room thanks to the iridescent dichroic glass top, which takes on different colours when it comes into contact with light.

 

Medusa, Post Design, Masanori Umeda
Detail of Medusa, Post Design, Masanori Umeda
Masanori Umeda
Top detail of Medusa, Post Design, Masanori Umeda

 

The Animal Chair (1982), a hybrid of nature and design, captures the user with “sympathy” and emotional involvement. Armchair, also with a zoological reference, consists of a metal and synthetic fabric seat and elegant round Plexiglas feet.

The Gelato table, wall and ceiling lamp, halfway between a cone and a clown hat, consists of a metal structure

“Night Tales” collection is completed by the Star tray, a centrepiece consisting of small coloured handles and light holes in the middle, made on a satin-finish aluminium structure.

 

Masanori Umeda
Star, Post Design, Masanori Umeda

The new “Night Tales” collection was presented online on the fuorisalone.it platform, during the first digital Design Week in history, and exhibited at the Post Design Gallery, Largo Treves 5, in Milan’s iconic Brera Design District.

 

Gallery

 

Utamaro sofa Masanori Umeda

 

 

Masanori Umeda
Utamaro armchair, Post Design, Masanori Umeda
Masanori Umeda
Utamaro armchair, Post Design, Masanori Umeda

In 1986 Masanori Umeda returned to Japan where he opened his studio U-MetaDesign in Tokyo, which in 2001 became Umeda Design Studio Inc. Here he continued his postmodern, poetic and ironic designs, some of which are presented today in the “Night Tales” collection.

Masanori Umeda received several awards including: the Braun Prize in 1968, the Ghent Prix of Japan Display Design Award in 1981, the Japan Commercial Space Design Award in 1984, the Grand Prix of God Design Award in 1990. It has led him to participate in several international exhibitions and to have his designs exhibited in several museums, such as the M+ Museum in Hong Kong.

The “Night Tales” projects

The Utamaro collection, designed under a great emotional impulse as for Tawaraya Boxing ring, consists of a double bed, a sofa and an armchair. Inspired by the erotic rituals of the Edo period, by the women and interiors of traditional Japanese houses, as depicted in the paintings of Kitagawa Utamaro. As well as combining, as usual for Umeda, Japanese aesthetics with the taste for western furniture.

Masanori Umeda
Utamaro Sofa, Post Design, Masanori Umeda

 

This collection, with a very high aesthetic impact, is enriched by three pieces of furniture consisting of a blue and fuchsia tubular metal structure, a black and white chequered plastic laminate border (reminiscent of the iconic Tawaraya), a tatami and trays with lacquered surfaces and eclectic coloured cushions that conclude the designs.

The design objects in the collection

 

The Medusa table (1982) a docile pet with zigzag legs in homage to the arms of Sottsass’ Murmansk riser. Coloured shadows are reflected in the room thanks to the iridescent dichroic glass top, which takes on different colours when it comes into contact with light.

 

Medusa, Post Design, Masanori Umeda
Detail of Medusa, Post Design, Masanori Umeda
Masanori Umeda
Top detail of Medusa, Post Design, Masanori Umeda

 

The Animal Chair (1982), a hybrid of nature and design, captures the user with “sympathy” and emotional involvement. Armchair, also with a zoological reference, consists of a metal and synthetic fabric seat and elegant round Plexiglas feet.

The Gelato table, wall and ceiling lamp, halfway between a cone and a clown hat, consists of a metal structure

“Night Tales” collection is completed by the Star tray, a centrepiece consisting of small coloured handles and light holes in the middle, made on a satin-finish aluminium structure.

 

Masanori Umeda
Star, Post Design, Masanori Umeda

The new “Night Tales” collection was presented online on the fuorisalone.it platform, during the first digital Design Week in history, and exhibited at the Post Design Gallery, Largo Treves 5, in Milan’s iconic Brera Design District.

 

Gallery

 

Utamaro sofa Masanori Umeda

 

 

Andrea Lovotti
Andrea Lovotti
Designer curioso ed entusiasta. Scrive per raccontare il mondo che ci circonda. Per intrappolare nelle parole l’emozione di tutto quello che, dal passato al presente, ha contraddistinto la parola “estetica”.
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