Ettore Sottsass

(Innsbruck, 1917 – Milano, 2007)


Born in Innsbruck on 14 September 1917. He has dedicated himself to various disciplines, such as painting, photography,ceramics, architecture and design. Internationally known as one of the initiators of renovation in design and architecture, thanks to which the rigid functionalism of the years before and after the Second World War has been overcome. Great and influential Master of Italian design, in his language the potential energy and the vitality of drawing and color stand in contrast to all intellectualism and rigidity. After graduating in architecture at the Polytechnic University of Turin in 1939, he began his activity in Milan in 1947, where he established his first design studio, which will be the main field of activity since 1958, contributing to the international affirmation of the Italian style. In that same year he began his collaboration with Olivetti, where he was responsible for the "computer design" sector. I The most important project is the computer Mainframe Elea 9003 (1959), thanks to which he won the Compasso D'Oro in 1959. It is above all in the design of the furniture that the innovative power of Sottsass's ingenuity knows no obstacles, making the architect a central figure in international design. In advance of the years of protest, he had indicated design as an instrument of social criticism, paving the way for the great season of Radical Design (1966 - 1972) and the affirmation of the need for a new aesthetic: more ethical, social, political.
He participates in numerous Triennali di Milano, and is part of the "Global Tools" movement at the end of the seventies together, among others, with Andrea Branzi, Gaetano Pesce and Alessandro Mendini. In 1981 he founded the Memphis group together with Hans Hollein, Arata Isozaki, Andrea Branzi, Michele de Lucchi and other names on the international scene.

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