Ettore Sottsass is one of the most important creators in the design history of the 20 century.

He worked as an architect, designed ceramics and glasses, was art director of the Poltronova furniture factory, designed office machines and pieces of furniture for Olivetti. He got an international reputation as one of the protagonists of the Anti-Design movement and founder of the Memphis group in the beginning of the 1980s. In contrast to stern rationalists who tried to implement the postulate „form follows function“ of pioneers like Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe in Italy, Sottsass strove for a new design vocabulary in all genres he devoted himself to. He focused on colours, sensual materials and an archetypical symbol system.

Sottsass began his career as an architect. After graduating from Politecnico Turin he entered into his father’s, Ettore Sottsass sen, company. In 1947 he went freelance, opened his own architect’s office and took part in furthering the social housing for INA. Working as an architect alone could not hold him occupied. He wished to try all kinds of means of expression, characterised his companion since 1976, Italian writer Barbara Radice. Sottsass would write articles for Domus, organise exhibitions, create sculptures, ceramics and glass objects. And he painted, as well. One of his water-colours from 1956 shows vertical and horizontal gestural brush strokes, dominated by a red grate. Inspired by works of Jackson Pollock and Arshile Gorky, Sottsass took spontantaneous grates and circles to decorate the ceramics and carpets he created in the 1950s.

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Objects by Ettore Sottsass