Ettore Sottsass

Designer, architect and aspiring painter, Ettore Sottsass (1917-2007) treasured the teachings of his father, an architect from Trentino, who was a pupil of Josef Hoffmann in Vienna during the Secession. After graduating from the Turin Polytechnic in 1939, he worked with Carlo Mollino and Gino Levi Montalcini, before moving to Milan in 1946. In the '50s, his love for painting led him to integrate colour into his furnishings through coloured metals, stripes, squares, combination of black and white and strong shades. His twenty-year collaboration with Olivetti has been rewarded by two Compassi d'Oro, for the first Italian electronic calculator, the Elea 9003 (1959), and for the Valentine portable typewriter (1969). The ironic and transgressive style of his creations reached its peak when he founded the Memphis Group in 1981, a movement which divulgated the pop aesthetic that distinguishes his most famous furniture.

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