Ettore Sottsass - Product Type - Details

Ettore Sottsass

Ettore Sottsass

Ettore Sottsass was an italian architect born in Austria in 1917.  His father, also named Ettore Sottsass, was an architect as well.  Sottsass attended the Politecnico di Torino, graduating in 1939 with a degree in architecture.  Ettore served in the Italian military during World War 2, where he spent time as a prisoner of war.  

After the war, Sottsass worked as an architect with his father designing new buildings to replace the ones destroyed by the war. From 1947-1957 Ettore set up his own architectural studio and worked as a consultant for various architectural firms.  He began to achieve international recognition in 1958 after hired by Adriano Olivetti to design and develop the first Italian mainframe computer which he was awarded the Compasso d'Oro for his design.  It was while working for Adriano Olivetti that Sottsass began designing office equipment, typewriters, and furniture, an area of design that Sottsass reached international acclaim for.

Olivetti continued to design for Olivetti through the 1960s, creating objects like his 'Superbox' cabinet which was inspired by his global travels. When Adriano Olivetti stepped down in the 1970s, his son Roberto Olivetti became head of the company and offered Sottsass the position of artistic director.  Sottsass declined this position, stating he felt his creativity would be stifled by corporate work.  

In 1980 Ettore Sottsass founded the Memphis Group in Milan. The group creted colorful furniture that was initially described as bizarre, however the style became widely accepted in the 1990s.