Ultimate monograph on influential Italian architect and designer Ettore Sottsass
Perhaps best known as the founder of the Memphis Group in the 1980s – famous for its colourful and flamboyant furniture, ceramics and lithgting pieces – Sottsass started his career working as a design consultant for Olivetti. He traveled extensively, particularly in the United States where he found a lot of inspiration.
He is quoted as once having said: "When I was young, all we ever heard about was functionalism, functionalism, functionalism. It’s not enough. Design should also be sensual and exciting." This playfulness certainly comes across in his work. Packed with beautiful images taken from the Sottsass archives, many of which have never been published before and including drawings and sketches from the designer’s countless sketchbooks, this book looks at his entire career.
Text by Philippe Thome – an expert on Sottsass’ work – is ordered chronologically and split into periods, each containing sections on the main disciplines that Sottsass pursued in that period along with biographical material. For example, the 1945 -1949 chapter opens with a biography section followed by texts on sculpture/painting, architecture, interior/furniture, installations and graphic design.
The book also includes five short essays, each written by an expert in their field and exploring Sottsass’ work in the following disciplines, placing it in a wider context:
- graphic design
- industrial design
- collector’s editions
The book is structured according to the narrative text which takes a chronological route through Sottsass’ career, and is broken down into periods, opening with a biographical section and then exploring the disciplines that were most relevant in that period. The book can either be read cover-to-cover as a narrative history, or by discipline, picking up the relative thread under each period.
Size: 320 x 230 mm (12 5/8 x 9 in)
Pages: 500 pp
Illustrations: 800 illustrations
Philippe Thomé was born in Geneva in 1951. In 199l, he was awarded a Doctor of Letters by the University of Geneva, having written his thesis on the work of Ettore Sottsass. He taught history of art at the universities of Geneva and Lausanne, and history of architecture and design at ECAL (School of Art and Design, Lausanne). He currently works as an independent researcher.
[Sottsass] has a quirky sculptural presence all its own and comes in a very Sottsass pistachio ice cream cover (with blink-making zebra stripe endpapers). Here is a suitable memorial to an exceptional life: eclectic, serious and detailed as well as delightful, surprising, and utterly inspiring. The production is faultless, and superlative pictures illustrate, both precisely and anecdotally, the vast range of Sottsass's work: buildings, furniture, paintings, jewelry, ceramics, glass, graphics, office equipment.
- The Spectator (UK)
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
The book is a totemic object itself. In a world where it can seem as if designers are trying to fit everything into a monochrome package the size of your hand, Sottsass is everything but that. No cardboard, indeed.
- The New York Times Book Review
Lavishly illustrated... Cleverly designed... Ettore Sottsass is one of the latest great coffee table books.
- LOUIN ArtInfo
Phillipe Thome's new book, Ettore Sottsass, surveys the career of one of Italy's more distinguished 20th-century designers. But "distinguished" hardly fits Sottsass's striking yet playful output...
- ELLE Decor
Stunning... Sottsass's work, as the book makes evident, is so vibrant and comprehensive that one feels caught in the spell of his creations.
The book itself stands as a piece of art, beautifully designed from the bright bifold cover to all that lays within... Sottsass did it all and Thome presents it in a beautiful fashion. As one of the most significant visionaries in the field, Sottsass cannot go unstudied - and with this book, it's a delight to do so.
The book is a totemic object itself. In a world where it can seem as if designers are trying to fit everything into a monochrome package the size of your hand, Sottsass is everything but that. No cardboard, indeed. - The New York Times Book Review
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