This book tells the story of Italian designer and architect Ettore Sottsass (1917-2007), not just revealing the anecdotes and inspirations behind many of his most famous pieces but also detailing his encounters with some of the most iconic figures of the 20th century, such as Picasso, Hemingway and Allen Ginsberg.
Perhaps best known as the founder of the Memphis Group in the 1980s – famous for its colourful and flamboyant furniture, ceramics and lighting pieces – Ettore Sottsass was one of the most important and prolific Italian designers of the 20th century and is celebrated internationally for his contribution to architecture, industrial and furniture design, ceramics, graphic design, and photography. He initially trained as an architect, before going on to become design consultant for Olivetti, where he designed the Valentine typewriter, one of his most iconic pieces. Throughout his long career, which spanned many disciplines, he traveled extensively, taking thousands of photographs of the things that inspired him.
This book - written by Deyan Sudjic - explores the entire life of this incredible designer, placing it in historical context, and covering everything from Sottsass's birth in 1917 to his death in 2007. It also includes approximately 100 carefully selected, and previously unpublished images from the Ettore Sottsass Archives in Milan, to illustrate the key moments, encounters and people in his long life.
About the Author
Born in London, Deyan Sudjic studied architecture in Edinburgh, edited Domus magazine in Milan, was the director of the Venice Architecture Biennale and has been a curator in Glasgow, Istanbul and Copenhagen. He is now director of The Design Museum in London. His books for Phaidon include Living in the Endless City, and monographs on John Pawson and Shiro Kuramata. His most recent book, B is for Bauhaus was published by Penguin in 2014.
'I have been obsessed with the Italian architect and designer Sottsass and the Memphis Group he found all my life. I love everything about Sottsass's work - it's modern, optimistic, humorous, functional and intelligent. The designs in this book make me feel proud to be Italian. ' -Donatella Versace on Ettore Sottsass "Dudjic reads the career of Sottsass as a means of telling the story of 20th century design as a whole. ...the Memphis Group, which came to define postmodernism of the 1980s, has since influenced the look of everything from cushions to trainers. ...This lively narrative complements the exquisite Sottsass monograph published by Phaidon in 2014." -New Design "this book is a gem of straightforward information and tall tales" -selectism.com "Sudjic first met Sottsass after a party to celebrate the launch of Memphis in 1981, arguably one of the pivotal days in the colorful life of the Italian designer, and Sudjic's writing is informed by this personal connection" -Metropolis 'His greatness existed less in individual creations than in the space between everything he did. ' -The Guardian on Ettore Sottsass "a pivotal figure in mid-20th century European culture" -The Quarterly