ettore sottsass at kunsthal rotterdam
original content
feb 17, 2011
ettore sottsass at kunsthal rotterdam


ettore sottsass
kunsthal, rotterdam
on now until may 1st, 2011

ettore sottsass
enamelled copper tondo, 1958
photo: enzo asaia

all images courtesy kunsthal museum

a retrospective of the italian designer and architect ettore sottsass (1917 – 2007),
curated by fulvio and napoleone ferrari, is currently being held
at the
kunsthal rotterdam

and features over 100 objects and drawings of his form studies with enamels from 1958.
his work in the late fifties dealt primarily with the simple geometric elements
of lines and circles centered around bold uses of color. during this time sottsass was able to build up
a collection of work that served as the theoretical basis to his founding of the memphis group (1980),
which later brought him international fame.

a catalogue edited by adarte accompanies the exhibition.


ettore sottsass
enamelled copper tondo, 1958
photo: enzo asaia

sottsass studied and graduated from the polytechnic of turin, from which he graduated in 1939.
after the war in 1946, he moved to milan to work. based on his rationalist education,
he started to create a collection of simple
geometric patterns. in 1958 he investigated the
technical process of enameling and began attaching the glass based material to different
contrasting surfaces like wooden vases and metal plates.

the glassy nature of vitreous enamel gives a physical thickness to surfaces,
irregular yet smooth and shiny, offering the possibility to add vivid color to forms.


ettore sottsass
enamelled copper tondo, 1958
photo: enzo asaia

though sottsass designed many houses and office buildings,
he found success as an industrial designer.
sottsass is considered one of the most renowned protagonists of
italian design where his views on design led him to consider the
functionality of a product to be inferior to its symbolic meaning
in one’s life. his portfolio of work consists of furniture, kitchen utensils,
jewelry, glass objects, lighting and office equipment- some poetic
whereas others seem more radical in form and production,
though all his work contained a sense of humor.

sottsass is best known for designing the red plastic olivetti valentin
typewriter (1969) and the carlton bookcase (1981).


ettore sottsass
enamelled copper vases on wooden base, 1958
photo: enzo asaia


ettore sottsass
enamelled copper vases on wooden base, 1958
photo: enzo asaia


ettore sotsass
enamelled copper vases, 1958
photo: enzo asaia


courtesy of the CSAC archives at the university of parma


courtesy of the CSAC archives at the university of parma


ettore sottsass
pastel on blueprint, 1958
courtesy museo casa mollino


ettore sottsass
pastel on blueprint, 1958
courtesy museo casa mollino


ettore sottsass
pastel on blueprint, 1958
courtesy museo casa mollino

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