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Ettore Sottsass

Italian, 1917-2007

An architect, industrial designer, philosopher and provocateur, Ettore Sottsass led a revolution in the aesthetics and technology of modern design in the late 20th century.

Sottsass was the oldest member of the Memphis Group — a design collective, formed in Milan in 1980, whose irreverent, spirited members included Alessandro Mendini, Michele de Lucchi, Michael Graves and Shiro Kuramata. All had grown disillusioned by the staid, black-and-brown “corporatized” modernism that had become endemic in the 1970s. Memphis (the name stemmed from the title of a Bob Dylan song) countered with bold, brash, colorful, yet quirkily minimal designs for furniture, glassware, ceramics and metalwork. They mocked high-status by building furniture with inexpensive materials such as plastic laminates, decorated to resemble exotic finishes such as animal skins. Their work was both functional and — as intended — shocking. Even as it preceded the Memphis Group's formal launch, Sottsass's iconic Ultrafragola mirror — in its conspicuously curved plastic shell and radical pops of pink neon — embodies many of the collective's postmodern ideals.

Sottsass's most-recognized designs appeared in the first Memphis collection, issued in 1981 — notably the multihued, angular Carlton room divider and Casablanca bookcase. As pieces on 1stDibs demonstrate, however, Sottsass is at his most imaginative and expressive in smaller, secondary furnishings such as lamps and chandeliers, and in table pieces and glassware that have playful and sculptural qualities.

It was as an artist that Ettore Sottsass was celebrated in his life, in exhibitions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in 2006, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art a year later. Even then Sottsass’s work prompted critical debate. And for a man whose greatest pleasure was in astonishing, delighting and ruffling feathers, perhaps there was no greater accolade. That the work remains so revolutionary and bold — that it breaks with convention so sharply it will never be considered mainstream — is a testament to his genius.

Average Sold Price
$4,869
Styles
Materials
Carlton Wood Miniature Bookcase by Ettore Sottsass for Memphis Milano Collection
By Memphis Milano, Ettore Sottsass, Memphis Group
Located in Pregnana Milanese, IT
Here you are shown an authentic and perfect reproduction of the Carlton bookcase, originally designed in 1981 by Ettore Sottsass. The vivid colors and seemingly random interplay of s...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Italian Modern Ettore Sottsass

Materials

Plastic, Wood

Cream End Table by Ettore Sottsass for Memphis Milano Collection
By Memphis Milano, Ettore Sottsass
Located in Pregnana Milanese, IT
Cream end table in plastic laminate by Ettore Sottsass for Memphis Milano collection Additional information: End table in plastic laminate. Collection: Memphis Milano Designer:...
Category

2010s Ettore Sottsass

Materials

Plastic

Valentine Typewriter by Ettore Sottsass & Perry King with Olivetti Hang Tag
By Perry King, Ettore Sottsass, Olivetti
Located in San Diego, CA
Olivetti valentine typewriter by Ettore Sottsass & Perry King, designed in 1968 for Olivetti. Very clean condition in perfect working order with a new ribbon. Recently serviced. ...
Category

Mid-20th Century Spanish Post-Modern Ettore Sottsass

Materials

Plastic

Pink ‘Ultrafragola’ Mirror Designed by Ettore Sottsass for Poltronova, Italy
By Ettore Sottsass
Located in London, GB
The curvaceous pink ‘Ultrafragola’ mirror designed by Ettore Sottsass is probably the most iconic of all his many designs. Originally produced in the 1970s by Poltronova, the ‘Ultraf...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Italian Mid-Century Modern Ettore Sottsass

Materials

Glass, Acrylic

Ettore Sottsass Dining Table for Zanotta Memphis Italy
By Ettore Sottsass, Zanotta
Located in Antwerp, BE
Ettore Sottsass, dining table, Memphis, Italian design, postmodern, Zanotta Ettore Sottsass (14 September 1917 – 31 December 2007) was an Italian architect and designer during the...
Category

1980s Italian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Ettore Sottsass

Materials

Wood

Ettore Sottsass Post-Modernism Colored Geometric Mirror for Glas Italia 2007
By Glas Italia, Ettore Sottsass
Located in New York, NY
A modern polychromatic Memphis-style mirror designed by Ettore Sottsass, of the post-modernism movement, part of the series Gli Specchi di Dioniso produced by the Italian Company Gla...
Category

Early 2000s Italian Post-Modern Ettore Sottsass

Materials

Art Glass, Cut Glass, Mirror, Wood

Alcor Glass Vase, by Ettore Sottsass for Memphis Milano Collection
By Memphis Milano, Memphis Group, Ettore Sottsass
Located in Pregnana Milanese, IT
The Alcor Glass Vase was designed by Ettore Sottsass in 1983 for Memphis. Signed on the base. Ettore Sottsass was born in Innsbruck in 1917. In 1939 he graduated in architecture at...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Italian Modern Ettore Sottsass

Materials

Glass

Ettore Sottsass Missionario Yellow Memphis Pedestal by Design Gallery Milano
By Design Gallery Milano, Ettore Sottsass
Located in Barcelona, Barcelona
Pedestal Missionario designed by Ettore Sottsass in 1992 edited by Design Gallery Milano. With metal plaque “design/gallery/milano/Ettore Sottsass/1992 made in Italy.” From the Ru...
Category

1990s Italian Modern Ettore Sottsass

Materials

Base Metal

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