Structure in stone, Carrara white, grey, black and pink marble, Ed. /10
b. Innsbruck, Austria, 14 September 1917 – d. Milan, Italy, 31 December 2007
Italian architect and designer Ettore Sottsass is considered to be one of the most important artists of the 20th century. A pioneer and intellectual actively involved in public life, he built upon what he had learned while working for Olivetti in the 1950s, using this to help found the international Memphis movement in Milan in 1981; a through-line extending across some thirty years of his career. Memphis was characterised by its playful colourful furniture, which found innovative new associations between materials. Never losing the significant importance he attached to light and colour, Sottsass’s research focused on how different materials, and abstract or geometric forms, might be used to change people’s everyday lives.
The Pompidou Centre in Paris – whose collections feature the largest number of Sottsass’s works – hosted extensive retrospectives of his work in 1994, and in 2008. There was also a large exhibition at the Musée de Sèvres in France in 2013 and 2017, while the Vitra Design Museum in Germany celebrated the hundredth anniversary of his birth.