Wearable Vintage Memphis Jewelry Taps Into Postmodern Revival
Adrian Olabuenaga and Lesley Bailey founded Acme Studio in 1985 with the launch of a playful, color-drenched, over-the-top jewelry collection designed by artist Peter Shire. Shire, a member of the Memphis Group, introduced the Acme founders to the larger group, and all 14 members (including Andrea Branzi, Michele De Lucchi, Nathalie du Pasquier, and Ettore Sottsass) all contributed designs to the company. (Sottsass also later designed a home for Olabuenaga and Bailey in Maui.)
Well, now Memphis is back, and Acme is rolling out deadstock from the circa-1980s collections to interested buyers. Once the stash is gone, good luck finding them anywhere but eBay. Take a stroll through the Legacy archive and you'll also spot pieces by other postmodern architects, including Richard Meier and Stanley Tigerman, and midcentury greats like Gere Kavanaugh.
The collection debuted at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in 1986, alongside an exhibition introducing the group to US audiences—the last stop on the Memphis tour before returning to Italy. Fittingly, SHOP Cooper Hewitt—spiffed up following a three-year museum renovation and reopening—is now carrying the collection in its bricks-and-mortar retail space designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Remember, folks: This is dead stock, so it won't be reissued. Once they're sold out, they're gone forever. Happy hunting!