The Rebel Designer: Ettore Sottsass

"For me, design is a way of discussing life, it is a way of discussing society, eroticism, politics, food and design itself." Ettore Sottssas (1917 - 2007) was an important Italian architect and designer of the second half of the 20th century.

He was one of the pioneers of the Memphis group and an important figure in radical Italian design who worked independently and separately from the European design that was being created so far.

His reputation in the world of art and design is an example for Edmmond, the attitude that the Memphis group took and their performances were a revolution.

With his pieces he made us live emotions, reflect and admire, the design stopped being simply aesthetic or everyday and began to become a way to discuss, talk about current events and create controversy.

He was an eclectic and polyhedral artist, he went from rationalism to pop. He was also a passionate photographer: with his wife Fernanda Pivano he traveled the United States and met the greatest representatives of the beat generation, from Allen Ginsberg to Jack Keruac and Gregory Corso.


In the eighties he founded the Memphis group together with the great designers Hans Hollein, Arata Isozaki, Andrea Branzi and Michele de Lucchi, among others. With this group, the idea of ​​contemporary furniture was revolutionized with pieces that soon became icons of modernity. It is from this time the Carlton bookstore, one of its most famous objects. "For me, design is a way of discussing life," said Sottsass, "it is a way of discussing society, eroticism, politics, food and design itself."

Memphis' goal was to turn conventional design upside down with revolutionary ideas that involved the use of poor materials alongside nobles and a different and conceptual language. In an era of post-Bauhaus minimalism, in which all designs were black and personalityless, the movement responded with bright colors, kitsch motifs, laminated plastic, and a sense of humor. And it is that Sottsass, controversial even without wanting it, was a critical genius, father of postmodernity and owner of his own vocabulary that he constantly tried to refresh.


If we simply talk about the aesthetic difference, his pieces introduced color, fun and fantasy into the homes of the 50s and 80s. His pieces were erotic and emotional and were not created in series, today many of them have great value and price.