Ettore Sottsass



After studying architecture in Turin, the Austrianborn architect and industrial designer Ettore Sottsass established his studio in Milan, in a postwar Italy that moved little by little towards reconstruction. The year 1958 marked the beginning of his collaboration, which lasted almost three decades, with Olivetti, which produced pieces like the calculator Logos 27 (1963), the famous red Valentine portable typewriter (1969) – displayed today at New York’s MoMA as emblem of the ‘Italian Design’ – or the Mainframe Elea 9003 computer (1959). From 1975 on he established another fruitful collaboration with Artemide, firm for which he designed lamps and glass objects. He also worked for the city of Turin, for which he designed the street furniture. In the eighties decade he founded the Memphis Group, formed by Hans Hollein, Arata Isozaki, Andrea Branzi and Michelle de Lucchi, among others. During this period he designed the colorful Carlton bookshelf. “To me, design is a way of discussing life”, he once declared. A few days before his death, at 90, Sottsass still affirmed “beauty will save us”.

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