A new private gallery in Hangzhou pays homage to Memphis design going beyond its conceptual exuberance


“YA Space!”, a private gallery in Hangzhou, homages Memphis Design style with its spatial and playful exhibition space where Memphis furniture pieces are main exhibits. Imagined by PIG Design architects, the gallery wasn’t conceived as a perfect interpretation of the movement’s characteristic design rather to include representative elements of Memphis signature style. The space is an extraordinary inclusiveness of the Milanese collective aesthetic elements, founded by Ettore Sottsass in 1981.

The Memphis Group’s signature style is memorialized with Ya Space, a furniture exhibition space with an interior as mesmerizing as its façade. Bright colours, bold lines and maximalist concepts defined the Memphis Group’s design language, aesthetic tenets fully represented by Ya Space! Fittingly, the gallery is designed to showcase Memphis furniture. It is not a literal interpretation of design characteristic to the movement, though – the team at PIG Design sought to go ‘beyond Memphis' extreme emphasis on visual effects with enhanced textures and more sustainable concepts. For exhibition-goers, the multifaceted exterior of YA Space! is an indicator of things to come: it is composed of corrugated stainless-steel sheets arranged to create surprising visual effects. Ascending a series of lit steps one is met with a circular entrance emblazoned with an exclamation point. The two-floor interior, rendered solely in yellow, grey and black, is a continuation of the designers’ attention to Escher-like geometries – they imagined the ground floor as grounds for an abstract game with building blocks. The custom display furniture indeed looks like oversized blocks, with curvaceous luminaires helping indicate key areas. Many of the structures utilize textures that appear on the walls, giving the impression that the forms emerge from the building. It’s a perspective-shifting technique repeated upstairs: modular geometric screens in the first floor exhibition area take on the same finishes as the floors. Here, visitors are prompted to view furniture on show from varying angles by framing the scene with the screens.



Text: Lauren Grace Morris

Photo: Shao Feng

Magazine: FRAME

Publisher: Frame Publishers B.V.

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1 July 2021