Most interior trends nowadays stray towards modern finishes, with perhaps a hint of contemporary, vintage or Scandinavian design thrown in.
But Hannah Park, founder of loungewear label Oori Ott, has transformed her Los Angeles home into a 1980s time capsule.
The self-professed hoarder of coffee tables — of which there are two in her 600-square-foot apartment — has always been interested in vintage furniture.
Although she once favoured the retro stylings of the 1960s, Hannah now takes her inspiration from the 80s.
“I initially got into vintage furniture when I was living in New York in my 20s and needed to furnish my apartment on a budget,” she explained to Architectural Digest.
“I didn’t want to be buying IKEA furniture all the time. I like pieces that reflect something from the past, and it’s a more sustainable way to shop, too.
“I was inspired by Scarface, The Sopranos, Miami, and ’80s postmodernism, so things came full circle in my studio.”
To create this look, Hannah opted for warm colours, tropical greenery, and, of course, period-appropriate furniture. Mirrored surfaces add to the apartment’s shine, with a half-moon-shaped vanity mirror standing in for a traditional headboard, creating an illusion of a bigger, brighter space.
But what defines 80s design and could aspects of it be making a comeback?
Although you know the style when you see it, it’s sometimes hard to accurately describe it without mentioning specific 80s pop cultural references. It’s Pee-Wee’s Playhouse meets Miami Vice. It’s Saved By The Bell crossed with Beetlejuice. It is, of course, Memphis design.
With its bold colour, geometric silhouettes and all things laminate, Memphis design is pretty recognisable.
Named after the Memphis Group, founded by designer Ettore Sottsas in Milan, it was a movement in reaction to the straight-arrow mid-century and minimalist trends of the 60s and 70s. Memphis design is all about bright colours and prints, often with a hefty dose of kitsch for good measure.
The look itself has been seeing a revival in recent times. In 2014 Nathalie du Pasquier, one of the original Memphis designers, created a line for American Apparel. The prints were inspired by the work she created in the 80s.
In 2016, the brand Supreme released a series of skate decks and clothing designed by Alessandro Mendini, who appeared in the first Memphis show. In 2017, the movement made its way to a big box retailer and West Elm have debuted a series from contemporary Du Pasquier-inspired brand Dusen Dusen.
Nowadays original Memphis Group pieces are collectible and out of reach for many people. But if you want to incorporate some of it at home, look no further than this couch from Villa Di Milano. Available in three Memphis fabrics — Letraset, Schizzo and Rete — this is quintessentially 80s with its patterned exterior and abstract design.
You don’t need a centerpiece to achieve the look, however. It can be as small as this cushion from Redbubble. It’s bold, it’s colourful and it’s full of geometric silhouettes — the perfect 80s throwback.
At the opposite end of the design spectrum in the 80s came this throw-back to country basics. This was prominent in a lot of more of the wider community’s homes. Think antique lace, vintage florals and a whole lot of Chintz materials.
But don’t worry, your living room need not look like the interior to the Queen of England’s cottage — instead, incorporate it into your life to achieve a more vintage look.
For inspiration have a look through the Laura Ashley home collection. You can go as big as these floral vintage curtains from Blinds Online, or as small as this hydrangea blue floral table runner from FrenchKnot.
The Costes Chair is particularly memorable. It boasts a curved high back and three leg structure. It’s sleek, simple and, like Memphis, bold.
The obsession with having greenery inside a home is not a new thing, it’s been on the interior radar since at least the 80s.
This decade saw an invasion of greenery; from internal colour, to huge pot plants, to hanging plants perched by the bathtub, there was no getting away from internal greenery.
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(Hero image credit: Tim Hirschmann)
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