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Inspiration…A Look Back At Ettore Sottsass

I happened upon the work by Ettore Sottsas while browsing the Phillips design catalog and was inspired to reacquaint myself with this prolific designer.  I learned, for example, that he spent time in a concentration camp in Yugoslavia before setting up his architectural and industrial design studio in Milan. The breakthrough in his early career was his consultation with Olivetti in the mid 1950’s, reinvigorating the typewriter the way Apple reinvigorated the PC with the early iMac (He apparently won an award along with Mario Tchou and Roberto Olivetti for the first Italian made mainframe computer Elea 9003. Quite a site.). However it was in the late 1960’s when he started to became disillusioned with the dangerous consumerist tendencies, shunned commercial success, and returned back to pure experimentation that his work took on a sense of honesty and exploration.  If you have a few minutes to read a truncated version of his essay “When I Was a Little Boy” you can get a sense of his creative struggle. By the 1980’s the Memphis movement and Sottsass Associati were established, cementing his position as a leader of the Post Modernist movement.