Ettore Sottsass (14 September 1917 – 31 December 2007) was an Italian architect and designer of the late 20th century. His body of designs included furniture, jewellery, glass, lighting and office machine design. Servizio fotografico (Milano, 1960) - BEIC 6365848.jpg|thumb|left|12th Triennale of Milan, furniture for interiors designed by Sottsass. Photo by Paolo Monti, 1960.]] Sottsass was born on 14 September 1917 in Innsbruck, Austria, and grew up in Milan, where his father was an architect. He was educated at the Politecnico di Torino in Turin and graduated in 1939 with a degree in architecture. He served in the Italian military and spent much of World War II in a concentration camp in Yugoslavia. After returning home in 1948, he set up his own architectural and industrial design studio in Milan. In 1949 Sottsass married Fernanda Pivano, a writer, journalist, translator and critic. They divorced in 1970, and in 1976 Sottsass married Barbara Radice, an art critic. In 1956, Ettore Sottsass began working as a design consultant for Olivetti, designing office equipment, typewriters, and furniture. Sottsass was hired by Adriano Olivetti, the founder, to work alongside his son, Roberto. There Sottsass made his name as a designer who, through colour, form and styling, managed to bring office equipment into the realm of popular culture. Sottsass, Mario Tchou, and Roberto Olivetti won the prestigious 1960 Compasso d’Oro with the Elea 9003, the first Italian mainframe computer. In 1968, the Royal College of Art in London granted Sottsass an honorary doctoral degree. Throughout the 1960s, Sottsass travelled in the US and India and designed more products for Olivetti, culminating in the bright red plastic portable Valentine typewriter in 1970, which became a fashion accessory. Sotsass described the Valentine as "a brio among typewriters." Compared with the typical drab typewriters of the day, the Valentine was more of a design statement item than an office machine. While continuing to design for Olivetti in the 1960s, Sottsass developed a range of objects which were expressions of his personal experiences traveling in the United States and India. These objects included large altar-like ceramic sculptures and his "Superboxes", radical sculptural gestures presented within a context of consumer product, as conceptual statement. Covered in bold and colorful, simulated custom laminates, they were precursors to Memphis, a movement which came more than a decade later. Around this time, Sottsass said: "I didn’t want to do any more consumerist products, because it was clear that the consumerist attitude was quite dangerous." The feeling that his creativity was being stifled by corporate work is documented in his 1973 essay "When I was a Very Small Boy". As a result, his work from the late 60s to the 70s was defined by experimental collaborations with younger designers such as Superstudio and Archizoom Associati, and association with the Radical movement, culminating in the foundation of Memphis at the turn of the decade.
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Sottsass was educated in Turin, 1928-1934, and studied architecture at the Polytechnic there from 1935-1939. He was associated with the designer Luigi Spazzapan from 1937-1940. Since 1946, Sottsass has been in private practice as architect, and since 1958 as an industrial designer, in Milan. He has been the Designer Consultant to the Olivetti Company since 1958, and he established an additional office for Olivetti at Ivrea, near Turin, in 1960. He was also a founder-member of the Global Tools group of Milan in 1975. From 1979, Sottsass worked with Studio Alchymia designers. group in Milan. In 1981, he was the founder of the Memphis design group, Milan. He has designed chairs and a table for the Shaughnessy House (Montréal, Québec) and was the Principal of Sottsass Associati in Milan, from 1980 until his death in 2007. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art presented a survey of his work in 2006, and in late 2007 a Sottsass retrospective was mounted in Trieste, Italy. Italian architect and designer.
Italian, Austrian
Artist, Architect, Designer, Furniture designer, Painter
Ettore Sottsass, II Ettore Sottsass, Jr. Ettore Sottsass, Etoreh Sotsas, Eṭoreh Soṭsas, אטורה םוטסאס, אטורה סוטסאס
Information from Getty’s Union List of Artist Names ® (ULAN), made available under the ODC Attribution License