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Ettore Sottsass

Biographies
Ettore Sottsass

*  1917 Innsbruck - lebt in Mailand -

Ettore Sottsass, prolific Italian designer and architect, wrote design history in the 20th century. Back in the 1970s, Ettore Sottsass was actively committed to the Italian avant-garde. A member of the radical design movement, Ettore Sottsass was a founding member of "Global Tools" in 1973. Along with Alessandro Mendini, Andrea Branzi, Michele De Lucchi, and others, Ettore Sottsass established Studio Alchimia in 1976 but disputes with Alessandro Mendini led Ettore Sottsass to leave the group. Ettore Sottsass is the personification of boundless creativity. At the age of sixty-four, Ettore Sottsass joined much younger colleagues, including Michele De Lucchi, Marco Zannini, Barbara Radice, Aldo Cibic, and Matteo Thun in founding the Memphis group. Many other designers subsequently joined or were invited by Ettore Sottsass to collaborate with Memphis, notably Shiro Kuramate, Hans Hollein, Peter Shire, Javier Mariscal, and Michael Graves. The first Memphis show was put on at Arc '74, a Milan gallery, in 1981. Memphis formulated and practised a new aesthetic that ignored functionalist, rationalist, and even ergonomic aspects of design. Memphis designs are quirky, playfully creative, cheerfully colorful – and often unabashedly non-utilitarian. It was Memphis that sparked off a 1980s revolution in design for everyday living in Italy, a backlash that soon involved the international design scene. Memphis popularized design. However, by 1988, Ettore Sottsass had disbanded Memphis. Ettore Sottsass is undeniably one of the biggest names in design. He made his name with the ground-breaking work he produced in the 1970s and 1980s. Ettore Sottsass studied architecture at Turin Polytechnic from 1935 until 1939 and opened "The Studio" in Milan in 1947. In 1956 Ettore Sottsass worked in George Nelson's New York practice. In 1957 Ettore Sottsass became artistic director at Poltronova. Ettore Sottsass is renowned for the lamps and furnishings he designed there, including "Mobili Grigi" (1970). Between 1958 and 1980, Ettore Sottsass worked as a design consultant for Olivetti, designing quite a number of typewriters and calculators, including the 1959 "Elea 9003" calculator. Ettore Sottsass collaborated with Perry King on designing the bright red "Valentine" portable typewriter (1969). In 1972 Ettore Sottsass showed work at the exhibition "Italy: A New Domestic Landscape"at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Throughout his career, Ettore Sottsass designed objects of glass and ceramics.