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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
$3,845
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Materials
Related Creators
Bay Table Lamp by Ettore Sottsass for Memphis Milano, 1980s
By Ettore Sottsass, Memphis Milano
Located in Ixelles, BE
Designer - Ettore Sottsass Producer - Memphis Milano Model - Bay Table Lamp Design Period - Eighties Measurements - width 40 cm x depth 40 cm x height 53 cm Materials - Metal, P...
Category

1980s Vintage Ettore Sottsass

Materials

Metal

Bay Table Lamp
By Ettore Sottsass
Located in Brooklyn, NY
The Bay table lamp is a breathtaking masterpiece by Ettore Sottsass for Memphis (1983). Fabricated from tiers of colored perspex plastic & colored and whitened crystal glass, this wo...
Category

1980s Italian Post-Modern Vintage Ettore Sottsass

Materials

Crystal

  • Bay Table Lamp
  • Bay Table Lamp
  • Bay Table Lamp
  • Bay Table Lamp
H 19.75 in. Dm 16 in.
Two Modern Murano Table Lamps by Ettore Sottsass for Venini, Signed ca. 1994
By Ettore Sottsass, Venini
Located in Merida, Yucatan
Beautiful table lamp in white and blue swirl hand-blown Murano glass. Designed by Ettore Sottsass for Venini and manufactured in 1994. The glass shade is signed "Venini ". Priced ...
Category

1990s Italian Modern Ettore Sottsass

Materials

Murano Glass

"Le Strutture Tremano" Stand by Ettore Sottsass for Belux Edition
By Ettore Sottsass
Located in Brussels, BE
"Le Strutture Tremano" stand by Ettore Sottsass for Belux Edition.   
Category

Mid-20th Century Italian Mid-Century Modern Ettore Sottsass

Materials

Metal

Two Modern Murano Table Lamps by Ettore Sottsass for Venini, Signed ca. 1994
By Venini, Ettore Sottsass
Located in Merida, Yucatan
Beautiful table lamps in orange and green hand-blown Murano glass. Designed by Ettore Sottsass for Venini and manufactured in 1994. The glass shade is signed "Venini ". We have the ...
Category

1990s Italian Modern Ettore Sottsass

Materials

Murano Glass

Ettore Sottsass Ceramic Bowl for Bitossi
By Ettore Sottsass
Located in Weesp, NL
Ceramic Mid-Century Modern bowl by Ettore Sottsass for Bitossi, Montelupo, Tuscany. In the late 1960's Ettore Sottsass spend time with Aldo Longhi, Bitossi's artistic director, who t...
Category

1960s Italian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Ettore Sottsass

Materials

Ceramic

Ivory Pedestal and Side Table
By Ettore Sottsass
Located in Brooklyn, NY
The ivory pedestal is (in my mind) the accompaniment to Sottsass' TARTAR Cubist-like sideboard --- a visual attempt to show each elevation/plain as though it were 3-D rather than a f...
Category

1980s Italian Post-Modern Vintage Ettore Sottsass

Materials

Hardwood

Ettore Sottsass "Halo Click 2" Table Lamp for Philips 1988
By Ettore Sottsass
Located in Roosendaal, Noord Brabant
Very rare unusual colored ‘Halo Click 2’ table lamp designed by Ettore Sottsass for Philips, Holland 1988. This rare lime green table lamp was designed by Ettore Sottsass for the Dut...
Category

1980s Dutch Post-Modern Vintage Ettore Sottsass

Materials

Metal

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More Ettore Sottsass Designs
Ultrafragola Mirror
Ultrafragola Mirror
Average Price
$8,043
Number Available
15
Ultrafragola Mirror
By Ettore Sottsass
Materials
Plastic, Glass, Acrylic
Styles
Mid Century Modern, Modern
Most mirrors are meant to be looked in, but some are meant to be looked at. The Ultrafragola mirror by Italian architect and designer Ettore Sottsass (1917–2007) is a classic example of the latter: It is hard to look away from its soft neon glow and sensuous curves, which resemble flowing wavy hair.  As part of Sottsass’s “I Mobile Grigi” series for the third edition of the Eurodomus trade show, the Ultrafragola, which translates to “ultra strawberry” in Italian, was designed in 1970. It was...
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Ettore Sottsass furniture for sale on 1stDibs

Furniture by Ettore Sottsass is available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive objects are frequently made of metal and designed with extraordinary care. There are many options in our Ettore Sottsass furniture collection, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. 305 vintage editions of these items are in stock, while there are 104 modern editions to choose from as well. Many original furniture by Ettore Sottsass were created in Europe during the 20th century in the modern style. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture by Andrea Branzi, Salviati and Alessandro Mendini. The prices for Ettore Sottsass furniture can vary depending on size, time period and other attributes. The price for these items starts at $99 and tops out at $207,000, while pieces like these can sell for $4,501 on average.
Questions About Ettore Sottsass
  • 1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022
    Ettore Sottsass was an architect and designer. He founded the Memphis Group, a collective of designers active from 1981 to 1987. The Ultrafragola mirror is one of his most well-known designs. On 1stDibs, you can shop a variety of Ettore Sottsass furniture.
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    Ettore Sottsass was from Innsbruck, Austria. He was born there on September 14, 1917, but he moved to Turin, Italy, as a child. The Italian architect and designer died in Milan, Italy, on December 31, 2007. You'll find a variety of Ettore Sottsass furniture and decorative objects on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022
    Ettore Sottsass studied at the Politecnico di Torino in Turin, Italy. In 1939, he graduated from the institution with a degree in architecture. Sottsass began working as an artist and designer in the late 1940s. He produced furniture, ceramics, paintings, sculptures and jewelry. Find a variety of Ettore Sottsass furniture on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022
    To pronounce Ettore Sottsass, say "AY-tore-ee SOAT-sas." The second syllable of the designer's surname sounds similar to the word “sauce” but with a shorter, clipped vowel. On 1stDibs, find a range of Ettore Sottsass furniture.
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    Ettore Sottsass was a famous 20th century architect and designer known for his work in furniture, lighting, jewelry and more, as well as from his work in designing buildings. He was Italian, though he was born in Austria, and lived from 1917 to 2007. Shop a range of Ettore Sottsass pieces on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022
    Ettore Sottsass was inspired by many things, including pop culture, travel and various cultures from around the world. His primary objective of his work was to bring out the deeper beauty of whatever he created. On 1stDibs, shop a collection of Ettore Sottsass furniture.
  • 1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022
    Ettore Sottsass's father, also named Ettore Sottsass, designed modernist architecture. He worked for the firm Movimento Italiano per l'Architettura Razionale or MIAR. Giuseppe Pagano was the company's head architect. On 1stDibs, shop a range of Ettore Sottsass furniture.
  • 1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022
    Ettore Sottsass did not design the Carlton room divider for a specific patron or client. He created the piece while working with the Memphis Group, an art collective that held joint shows from 1981 to 1987. Find a selection of Ettore Sottsass furniture on 1stDibs.

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