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Ettore jr. Sottsass
[Ettore Sottsass]
* Innsbruck, Austria [Österreich], 14 September 1917
+ Milan [Milano], Italy, 31 December 2007
nationality: italian
Sottsass Associati
Via Melone, 2 - 20122 Milano
Tel: + - Fax: +
Ettore Sottsass was born in Innsbruck, Austria, in 1917. He received his degree in architecture from the Turin Polytechnic in 1939. In 1947 he opened his own architecture and design office in Milan. Parallel to his professional work, he held solo shows of his paintings in Italy and abroad, participated in group art exhibitions and showed at several editions of the International Exhibition of Triennale Milano.

His collaboration with Olivetti began in 1958 and lasted for over thirty years, during which he received three Compasso d’Oro design awards. Among the items he designed for Olivetti are: Elea, the first Italian electronic calculator, in 1959; Tekne 3, Praxis 48, the red portable typewriter Valentine and Sistema 45. All throughout the ‘60s and early ‘70s, Sottsass’s work explored the themes that would stand central to his designs in the years to come: it was during this period that he laid the foundations for what would later be called Nuovo Design Italiano. The Ceramiche delle Tenebre are made in 1963 and the 100 plates Offerte a Shiva in 1964. Of the same year are the first pieces of furniture in wood/ceramics for Poltronova. The Superbox are designed in 1965 and 1966 and so are the large ceramic pieces Menhir, Ziggurat, Stupas, Hydrants and Gas Pumps, shown in Milan at Galleria Sperone in 1967. The show at Centro Fly Casa, Milan, opened in 1966, while the exhibition Paesaggio per un Pianeta Fresco opened in Stockholm in 1969. Finally the ceramics Tantra, Fumo and Yantra belong to the years 1968- 70 and the Mobili Grigi for Poltronova to 1970. In 1970, after a tour of conferences in different British universities, Sottsass received an honorary degree from the Royal College of Art in London.

Always in the second half of the ‘60s, Sottsass starts Pianeta Fresco, magazine co-edited with Allen Ginsberg and Fernanda Pivano and he is involved in the first debates on Radical Architecture, followed, at the beginning of the ‘70s, by several conceptual counter-design works. Also are to be mentioned: his designs for the exhibition Italy: The New Domestic Landscape (MoMA,1972); the silkscreen series Il Pianeta come Festival, 1972; the tables and stools for BBB and Tappeto Volante for Bedding Brevetti, 1974.

All along these years, Sottsass never stops writing and publishing for Domus, Casabella, other magazines or books.

In 1978,1979 and 1980, he participated in the exhibitions of Alchymia group.
In 1980 he founded Sottsass Associati Studio and Memphis.
In 1981 the first Memphis exhibition opens in Milan (shows will follow until 1987). Memphis, gathering internationally known architects and desingers, quickly became the symbol of Nuovo Design and point of reference for all contemporary avant-garde directions.
In 1988, with Barbara Radice, Sottsass founded the magazine Terrazzo, in which the themes of Nuovo Design Italiano, explored by Memphis, were developed and extended to architecture and contemporary culture.

Starting from 1985, Sottsass began focusing again on architecture.
Built designs: Wolf House (Colorado1987-89); Bischofberger House (Zurich 1991- 96); Olabuenaga House (Maui, Hawaii 1989-97); Nanon House (Lanaken, 1995-98) and Mourmans House (Lanaken, 1998-01); Yuko House (Tokyo 1991-93); VanImpe House (Sint-Lievens-Houtem 1996-98); Zhaoqing Resort and Golf Club (China 1994-96); Jasmine Hill Houses (Singapore 2000).
In 1994, a large Sottsass retrospective was held at Centre Pompidou, Paris. In 2004, the Capodimonte Museum in Naples held a large exhibition of his photographic work.
In 2005 the retrospective at MART, Rovereto.
In 2006 the retrospective at LACMA, Los Angeles.
In 2007 Vorrei sapere perché (I’d like to know why) the last show, in Trieste.

His works are in the permanent collections of a wide range of museums: Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris; Victoria&Albert Museum, London; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; MoMA, New York; Metropolitan Museum, New York; Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Montreal; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; National Museum, Stockholm.

Among the last recognitions he was awarded: 1992, the title “Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” of the French Republic; 1993, honorary degree from Rhode Island School of Design; 1994, iF Product Design Award, Hannover; 1996, honorary degree from the Royal College of Art, London and Design Award from Brooklyn Museum, New York; 1997, Oribe Award from the City of Gifu, Japan; 1999, honorary degree from Glasgow School of Art; 2001, honorary degrees from London Institute of Art and from the Milan Polytechnic. Always in 2001 he received the title of “Grande Ufficiale per l'Ordine al Merito” from the President of the Italian Republic. In 2003 he was made “Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” from the Minister of Culture of the French Republic. In 2005, Sottsass received the Gold Medal and First-Class Diploma for “Benemeriti della Cultura e dell’Arte” from the President of the Italian Republic.
Medaglia d'oro con Diploma di I classe
Benemeriti della Cultura e dell'Arte

Presidente della Repubblica Italiana
Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
Ministre de la Culture, République française
Grande Ufficiale per l'Ordine al Merito
Presidente della Repubblica Italiana
Oribe Award
City of Gifu [Japan]
Award Prize
Brooklyn Museum [New York]
IF Award Design
Industrie Forum Design [Hannover]
Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
République française
Belgium [Belgique/België] » Maasmechelen
1994 - 1998
China [Zhōngguó/Zhōnghuá] » Zhaoqing
1989 - 1997
United States » Maui
1991 - 1996
Switzerland [Schweiz/Suisse] » Zürich
1994 - 1996
China [Zhōngguó/Zhōnghuá] » Zhaoqing
1995 - 1995
Belgium [Belgique/België] » Sint-Lievens-Houtem
1993 - 1994
Italy [Italia] » Rome [Roma]
1990 - 1993
Italy [Italia] » Empoli
1992 - 1993
Italy [Italia] » Ravenna
1991 - 1993
Japan [Nihon/Nippon] » Tōkyō
1987 - 1989
United States » Ridgway
Italy [Italia] » Massa
Ettore Sottsass, Scritto di notte, Adelphi, Milano 2010
Ettore Sottsass jr., "Struttura colore e luce", Casabella 765, aprile/april 2008, pp. 3-5
Ettore Sottsass (ed.), Architettura attenuata. 24 disegni di Ettore Sottsass, Galleria Antonia Jannone, Milano 2003
Milco Carboni, Barbara Radice (ed.), Ettore Sottsass. Scritti, Neri Pozza Editore, Vicenza 2002
Etttore Sottsass, Enzo Cucchi, Esercizi, Alberico Cetti Serbelloni Editore, Milano 2002
Ettore Sottsass, Mobili Lunghi, Postdesign, Milano 2000
Ettore Sottsass, Trattato di architettura, Atelier Lytos, Como 1999
Ettore Sottsass, Lo specchio di Saffo, Postdesign, Milano 1998
Ettore Sottsass, Epifanie Brevi, Atelier Lytos, Como 1998
François Burkhardt, Ettore Sottsass, "Ettore Sottsass architetto/Ettore Sottsass architect", Domus 799, dicembre/december 1997 [In un altro modo/In a different way], pp. 6-16
Ettore Sottsass, in AA.VV., Emilio Ambasz. Architettura e design. Per una riconciliazione con la natura, Electa, Milano 1995, pp. XXII-XXIII
Ettore Sottsass, Ettore Sottsass senior. Architetto, Electa, Milano 1991
Ettore Sottsass, Esercizio formale. 1979, Alessi, Crusinallo 1979
Alessio Bozzer, Beatrice Mascellani, Marco Minuz (ed.), Vorrei sapere perché/I wonder why. Ettore Sottsass, Electa, Milano 2007
"Cinquant'anni fa: Sottsass e le arti applicate", Casabella 746, luglio-agosto/july-august 2006 [Case con vista], "Design" pp. 94-97
Lucia Pesapane, "Ettore Sottsass jr.. Arazzi, tappeti e tessuti 1947-57", Casabella 746, luglio-agosto/july-august 2006 [Case con vista], "Design" p. 95 (94-97)
Milco Carboni (ed.), Sottsass '60/'70, Editions HYX, Orléans 2006
Hans Ulrich Obrist, "Interview", Domus 887, dicembre/december 2005, pp. 64-67

Hans Ulrich Obrist, Intervista a/Interview with Ettore Sottsass, allegato a/published with Domus 887, dicembre/december 2005
Hans Hollein, Sottsass. 700 disegni, Skira, 2005
Milco Carboni (ed.), Sottsass 700 disegni, Skira, Milano 2005
Casabella 719, febbraio/february 2004 [Modi d'abitare], p. 79
Milco Carboni (ed.), Sottsass. Fotografie, Electa, Napoli 2004
Milco Carboni, Barbara Radice (ed.), Ettore Sottsass. Metafore, Skira Editore, Milano 2002
Milco Carboni (ed.), Ettore Sottsass. Esercizi di Viaggio, Aragno, Torino 2001
Salvatore Lacagnina, Roberto Giustini, Barbara Radice, Ettore Sottsass e Enzo Cucchi, Charta, 2001
Gianni Pettena, Sottsass e Sottsass. Itinerari di architettura, Testo & Immagine, Torino 2001
Milco Carboni (ed.), Ettore Sottsass e Associati, Rizzoli, Milano 1999
Gianni Pettena (ed.), Sottsass. L'arte del progetto, Maschietto & Musolino, Siena 1999
Marino Barovier, Bruno Bischofberger, Milco Carboni, Sottsass. Glass Works, Arnoldsche Verlagsanstalt, 1998
François Burkhardt, Ettore Sottsass, "Ettore Sottsass architetto/Ettore Sottsass architect", Domus 799, dicembre/december 1997 [In un altro modo/In a different way], pp. 6-16
François Burkhardt, Ettore Sottsass, "Ettore Sottsass architetto/Ettore Sottsass architect", Domus 799, dicembre/december 1997 [In un altro modo/In a different way], pp. 6-16
"Happy birthday, Ettore (14 IX 1917). Ettore Sottsass, 80 anni", Casabella 647, luglio-agosto/july-august 1997, "News" pp. 76-77
Fulvio Ferrari, Ettore Sottsass. Tutta la ceramica, Allemandi, Torino 1996
Barbara Radice (ed.), Ettore Sottsass, Electa, Milano 1993
Guia Sambonet, Ettore Sottsass. Mobili e arredamenti, Mondadori, Milano 1985
Barbara Radice, Memphis, Electa, Milano 1984
Barbara Radice, Memphis, Electa, Milano 1984
  Il treno di Sottsass
Directed by
Valeria Paris
Year of production
Ettore Sottsass jr.
Architect's role
Stefano Boeri, "Sono un disegnatore / I am a draftsman", Abitare 479, febbraio/february 2008, pp. 7-13
Ettore Sottsass. La parola, Milano (Italy), Triennale Milano, december 2022 / april 2023
Ettore Sottsass. Il calcolo, Milano (Italy), Triennale Milano, may / november 2022
Ettore Sottsass. Foto dal finestrino, Milano (Italy), Triennale Milano, 23 march / 22 may 2022

Ettore Sottsass, Foto dal finestrino, Triennale MilanoBetween 23 March and 22 May 2022, Triennale Milano will be hosting the exhibition Ettore Sottsass. Foto dal finestrino (Photos from a Window), developed in collaboration with Studio Sottsass and designed by Christoph Radl.

Ettore Sottsass, Foto dal finestrino, Triennale MilanoThe exhibition brings together 26 photographs – associated with as many short texts – that Ettore Sottsass took between 2004 and 2006 and published in Domus as part of Foto dal finestrino, a column created by Stefano Boeri, the magazine’s editor-in-chief at the time. These snapshots were taken by Sottsass during his travels around the world. They are accompanied by reflections about design, architecture, and urban planning, as well as by travel memories and observations about the present. In 2009 Adelphi published this project as a volume in their Biblioteca minima series.

Stefano Boeri, the President of Triennale Milano, has stated: “When I became the editor-in-chief of Domus in 2004, I asked Ettore Sottsass to write an editorial for each issue of the magazine expressing his world-view. Ettore chose to start by sending us some postcards or, as he liked to call them, ‘photos from a window’: full-page pictures with a short text he had typed on his Olivetti Valentine. Ettore would pick these fragments of the world and thoughts from his vast archive of places that he and Barbara Radice had visited around the globe. The 26 snapshots of visual thoughts that we are now newly presenting at the Triennale make up a remarkable atlas of correspondences and coincidences between places, feelings experienced, and thoughts. They are like threads running between the world of inhabited places and the inner world of a great, incomparable artist.”

India and Iran, Bali and Hong Kong, but also Milan, Catania, and Ponza: Foto dal finestrino is a collection of snapshots – both in colour and in black & white – taken with the old Leica M6 that Sottsass always used to carry with him on his travels. This series of photographs reveals Sottsass’s gaze on the reality surrounding him and his remarkable ability to combine words and images with the utmost freedom, so as to build a unique, personal narrative starting precisely from the gap between the two. Sottsass captures hidden worlds and realities that no one has ever noticed before, and which he depicts in a direct and pithy way.

As is widely known, photography accompanied Ettore Sottsass throughout his life. This photographic project offers a further immersion into his universe, which – following the 2017 monographic exhibition There is a Planet – the Triennale has also sought to celebrate and present in its lesser-known aspects. It has done so through Casa Lana – a permanent installation which since December 2021 has been open to the public, free of charge, on the first floor of the Palazzo dell’Arte – and with the series of exhibitions and other events devoted to the architect and designer that will be developed in relation to this installation.
Ettore Sottsass. Struttura e colore, Milano (Italy), Triennale Milano, 3 december 2021 / 10 april 12 june 2022
Ettore Sottsass. Oltre il design, Parma (Italy), CSAC - Centro Studi e Archivio della Comunicazione, Abbazia di Valserena, 18 november 2017 / 8 april 2018
Sottsass, sperimentatore eclettico, Milano, Showroom Ceramiche Refin, 11 october / 1 december 2017
There is a Planet, Milano, Triennale Design Museum, Galleria della Architettura, 15 september 2017 / 11 march 2018
Ettore Sottsass. Design Radical, New York, The Met Breuer, 21 July / 8 October 2017
Ettore Sottsass. Rebel and Poet, Weil-am-Rhein (Germany), Vitra Schaudepot, Temporary Space, 14 july / 24 september 2017
Ettore Sottsass: il vetro, Venezia (Italy), Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore, Le Stanze del Vetro, 10 april / 30 july 2017
Gianni Pettena (ed.), Pianeta Vienna e dintorni. Abraham Hollein Peintner Pettena Pichler Sottsass, Milano, Galleria Giovanni Bonelli, 30 november 2012 / 2 february 2013
Ettore Sottsass et Pierre Charpin. Challenge-defying glass design, Lausanne (Switzerland), MUDAC, Musée de design et d'arts appliqués contemporains, 23 november 2011 / 7 october 2012
Ettore Sottsass. Ontwerpen in email/Enamels 1958, Rotterdam, Kunsthal, 12 february / 1 may 2011
Ettore Sottsass & Sottsass Associati, Luxembourg, Mudam Luxembourg - Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean,11 october / 1 december 2008
Hommage à Ettore Sottsass, Paris, Centre Pompidou, 29 september 2008 / 31 march 2009
Terrazzo 1988-1996. Ettore Sottsass, Milano, La Triennale di Milano, 25 september / 26 october 2008
Vorrei sapere perché, Trieste, Salone degli Incanti, 6 december 2007 / 2 march 2008
review: Gabriele Toneguzzi, "Vorrei sapere perché/Una mostra su Sottsass", Il giornale del Design, allegato a Il giornale dell'architettura 58, gennaio 2008, "Recensioni" pp. 1, 8
Ettore Sottsass, Gent/Gand, Design Museum, 13 october 2007 / 15 january 2008
Metafore. Ettore Sottsass, Prato, Galleria Enrico Fornello, 15 may / 21 june 2007
Ettore Sottsass. A Life in Design, London, Design Museum, 29 march / 10 june 2007
Sottsass. Progetti 1946-2005→, Rovereto, Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, 26 february / 22 may 2005
review: Francesca B. Filippi, "Sottsass su Sottsass: giudicatemi!", Il giornale dell'architettura 28, aprile 2005, "Mostre" p. 36
Ettore Sottsass. Architettura attenuata, Milano, Galleria Antonia Jannone, 1 / 31 october 2003
Biographical notes edit by Triennale Milano
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