Ettore Sottsass
Name: Ettore Sottsass
Occupation: Architect
Gender: Male
Birth Day: September 14, 1917
Death Date: Dec 31, 2007 (age 90)
Age: Aged 90
Country: Austria
Zodiac Sign: Virgo

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Ettore Sottsass

Ettore Sottsass was born on September 14, 1917 in Austria (90 years old). Ettore Sottsass is an Architect, zodiac sign: Virgo. Nationality: Austria. Approx. Net Worth: Undisclosed.


He authored "The Curious Mr. Sottsass: Photographing Design and Desire" in 1997.

Net Worth 2020

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Does Ettore Sottsass Dead or Alive?

As per our current Database, Ettore Sottsass died on Dec 31, 2007 (age 90).


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Before Fame

He attended the Polytechnic University of Turin, from which he graduated with an architecture degree in 1939. He was captured in World War II after enlisting in the Italian military; he was imprisoned in a Yugoslavian concentration camp.


Biography Timeline


The younger Sottsass was educated at the Politecnico di Torino in Turin and graduated in 1939 with a degree in architecture. He served in the Italian military, in the Repubblica Sociale Italiana, and spent some of World War II in a prison and then in a labor camp in Yugoslavia.


After returning home, Ettore Sottsass worked as an architect with his father, often on new modernist versions of buildings that were destroyed during the war. In 1947, living in Milan, he set up his own architectural and industrial design studio, where he began to create work in a variety of different media: ceramic, painting, sculpture, furniture, photography, jewelry, architecture and interior design.


In 1949 Sottsass married Fernanda Pivano, a writer, journalist, translator and critic. From 1954 to 1957 he was a member of the International Movement for an Imaginist Bauhaus, resigning due to the movement's perceived aggression and its lack of professionalism. In 1956, Sottsass traveled to New York City and began working in the office of George Nelson. He and Pivano traveled widely while working for Nelson, and returned to Italy after a few months.


Also in 1956, Sottsass was commissioned by the American entrepreneur Irving Richards on an exhibition of his ceramics.

In 1956, Sottsass was hired by Adriano Olivetti as a design consultant for Olivetti, to design electronic devices and develop the first Italian mainframe computer, the Elea 9003 for which he was awarded the Compasso d'Oro in 1959. He also designed office equipment, typewriters, and furniture. There Sottsass made his name as a designer who, through colour, form and styling, managed to bring office equipment into the realm of popular culture. His first typewriters, the Tekne 3 and the Praxis 48, were characterized by their sobriety and their angularity. With Perry A. King, Sottsass created the Valentine in 1969 which is considered today as a milestone in 20th century Design. Light, portable, which became a fashion accessory


Back in Italy in 1957, Sottsass joined Poltronova, a semi-industrial producer of contemporary furniture, as an artistic consultant. Much of the furniture he worked on there influenced the design he would create later with Memphis Milano.


In 1968, the Royal College of Art in London granted Sottsass an honorary doctorate.


Sottsass and Fernanda Pivano divorced in 1970, and in 1976 Sottsass married Barbara Radice, an art critic and journalist.


When Roberto Olivetti succeeded as head of the company, he named Sottsass artistic director and gave him a high salary, but Sottsass refused. Instead he created the Studio Olivetti independent of Olivetti and became instantly the most creative international centre of design associating research with creation and industrial strategy. His concern that his creativity would have been stifled by corporate work is documented in his 1973 essay "When I was a Very Small Boy".


With the rise of new groups (Global tools, Archizoom, Superstudio, UFO, Zzigurat, 9999...) the handmade appeared suddenly as the new game for experimentation, a lot of these new groups playing in this new/old path to renew creation. In October 1980, Sottsass was confronted with two proposals, one from Renzo Brugola, a dear old friend and carpenter, telling him his will "to make something together like in the good old times,” and the other one from Mario and Brunella Godani, owners of the Design Gallery Milano, who asked him to create "new furniture" for their gallery.

Ettore Sottsass founded the Memphis Group in Milan on 11 December 1980, after the Bob Dylan song "Stuck inside of Mobile with the Memphis blues again" played during the group's inaugural meeting. The group was active from 1981 to 1988.

As the Memphis movement in the 1980s attracted attention worldwide for its energy and flamboyance, Ettore Sottsass began assembling a major design consultancy, which he named Sottsass Associati. Sottsass Associati was established in 1980 and gave the possibility to build architecture on a substantial scale as well as to design for large international industries. Besides Ettore Sottsass, the others founding members were Aldo Cibic, Marco Marabelli, Matteo Thun and Marco Zanini. Later, also Johanna Grawunder, Marco Susani and Mike Ryan will join the firm. In 1985, Sottsass left Memphis to focus on the Associati.


In 1999, he was awarded the Sir Misha Black award and was added to the College of Medallists.


Sottsass created a vast body of work: furniture, jewelry, ceramics, glass, silver work, lighting, office machine design and buildings. He inspired generations of architects and designers. In 2006 the Los Angeles County Museum of Art held the first major museum survey exhibition of his work in the United States. A retrospective exhibition, Ettore Sottsass: Work in Progress, was held at the Design Museum in London in 2007. In 2009, the Marres Centre for Contemporary Culture in Maastricht presented a re-construction of a Sottsass' exhibition 'Miljö för en ny planet' (Landscape for a new planet), which took place in the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm in 1969. In 2017, on the occasion of Sottsass' 100th birthday, the Met Breuer museum in New York City presented the retrospective Ettore Sottsass: Design Radical.

🎂 Upcoming Birthday

Currently, Ettore Sottsass is 104 years, 9 months and 20 days old. Ettore Sottsass will celebrate 105th birthday on a Wednesday 14th of September 2022.

Find out about Ettore Sottsass birthday activities in timeline view here.

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