Unique Stool by Ettore Sottsass

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This unique stool is a custom piece designed in the early 1980s by Ettore Sottsass for the Malibu home of Max Palevsky, computer industry pioneer and art collector.

Whether used as a stool, a small pedestal, or as a sculpture in its own right, this piece is an important example of Post-Modernism's highly-developed "Italian School".

Provenance: Max Palevsky Collection, Los Angeles
Ettore Sottsass (Designer)
Place of Origin
Date of Manufacture
Early 1980s
Late 20th Century
Materials and Techniques
Other Characteristics
Lacquered wood
18 in. H
46 cm H
Dealer Location
Los Angeles, CA
Number of Items
Reference Number

About Ettore Sottsass (Designer) (Designer)

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.

     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 these pages 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.

Sam Kaufman Gallery
1stdibs Dealer since 2005 | Located in Los Angeles
Sam Kaufman Gallery
7965 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles CA 90048
(323) 886-0213