Inspiration

Memphis Group Cupboard

by Polly Coulson

Painter in Residence Polly Coulson used earthy tones of Chalk Paint® to channel the modern abstract shapes of the Memphis Group.

Memphis Group inspired cupboard painted by Painter in Residence Polly Coulson with Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan before
Memphis Group inspired cupboard painted by Painter in Residence Polly Coulson with Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan before

The Memphis Group was a group of experimental Italian Postmodern designers founded by architect and designer Ettore Sottsass, active from 1981 to 1988. They designed Postmodern furniture, lighting, textiles, ceramics, glass, metal objects and buildings, characterised by ephemeral design featuring colourful and abstract decoration. They were memorably described by one contemporary critic as “a shotgun wedding between Bauhaus and Fisher-Price”.

Memphis Group inspired cupboard painted by Painter in Residence Polly Coulson with Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan
Memphis Group inspired cupboard painted by Painter in Residence Polly Coulson with Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan before

Painter in Residence Polly Coulson wanted to channel the group’s geometric abstract shape repetitions, but in earthier tones for a more measured, grown-up take on this kitsch look. When you’re working on a large, playful statement piece such as this, Annie always recommends doing a sketch of your furniture first. This allows you to experiment with different colour combinations and shapes before committing paint to furniture.

Polly chose Chalk Paint® in Country Grey as the base of her piece. Country Grey is the perfect cool soft neutral, a classic choice that works beautifully as a foil for other colours. Polly used three coats of Country Grey and added more water with each coat to create a subtle patina. To create the shapes, she used masking tape and homemade stencils.

Memphis Group inspired cupboard painted by Painter in Residence Polly Coulson with Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan during

Polly recommends colour mixing to achieve the exact shade you’re envisioning and for added creative fulfilment. She used Chalk Paint® in Aubusson Blue, Emile, Florence directly from the tin are, and then got stuck into some colour mixing. “The pink colour is a mix of Burgundy, Honfleur and Old White; the chartreuse yellow is a mix of English Yellow with Olive; the rusty orange is Barcelona Orange with Primer Red and Honfleur; the dusty aqua is Chicago Grey with Antibes Green and a little Florence”. Colour mixing can be a really therapeutic part of the painting process and because of how Chalk Paint® has been formulated (in most cases without the inclusion of black pigment) our colours can be easily mixed without “muddying” to create your perfect palette.

The whole piece was sealed and protected with Clear Chalk Paint® Wax.

Memphis Group inspired cupboard painted by Painter in Residence Polly Coulson with Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan before
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Memphis Group inspired cupboard painted by Painter in Residence Polly Coulson with Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan before
Paint swatch of Country Grey Chalk Paint® furniture paint by Annie Sloan, a rustic putty cream beige

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Paint swatch of Aubusson Blue Chalk Paint® furniture paint by Annie Sloan, a rich dark classic green-blue teal

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Paint swatch of Florence Chalk Paint® furniture paint by Annie Sloan, a bright coppery green colour

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500ml tin 100ml tester tin of Clear Chalk Paint® Wax by Annie Sloan

Clear Chalk Paint® Wax

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