Ettore Sottsass, architect and designer born in Insbruk in 1917 but risen in Torino, is considered one of the characters most significant and nonconformist of design of XX century.
During his long career, Sottsass dedicated himself to different disciplines, always realizing innovative works. These ones communicated with the observer and released themselves from the typical vision of design tied to its functionality.
Sottsass separated the concept of shape-function, for going beyond, for exploring through the object the deepest human emotion. Fundamental for his poetic was his attendance during his youth at the artistic places and his friendship with the painter Luigi Spazzapan. The latter gave him his first lesson on colour, its use and the symbolic richness of chrome, recurring element in all future works of the architect.
The interest of Sottsass for the different materials and the continued experimentation led him to work with the glass. In 1947 Ettore Sottsass created his first glass: a spherical vase, with strips and presented to the Triennal of Milan. It was just in 1974 that Sottasass realized his first series of vases, produced by Vistosi: ten pieces of blown glass, with ideal and essential shapes, whose title remembered the imaginary of Venetian Renaissance.
Since then he started his challenge with the glass material and the study of its possible use. In 1982 Sottsass produced his second series: eight pieces created for Memphis, a group founded the year before by Sottsass with his colleagues Michele de Lucchi, Aldo Cibic, Matteo Thun, Marco Zanini and Martine Bedin. In some cases the decorative elements of these vases were hung to the structure by metal wires, components that he had already used in the ceramics.
The vases "Mizar", "Sirio", "Alioth" and "Alcor" made part of this series. In 1986 Sottsass, always for Memphis, realized the second collection of glasses formed by thirty-seven pieces. The chromatic range, the shapes and the play of trasparency became even more complex.
In the 90's his activity continued without interruption. He realized a series of ceramics, presented by the Galerie Bischofberger, and one of glasses, exhibited at Galleria Barovier of Venice. He continued also the creation of objects of daily use, collaborating with Valli & Valli and Alessi for example.
Ettore Sottsass died on the 31 December 2007.
After his death, many international museums have hosted exhibitions dedicated to the career of this important architect and designer. In particular, the 20 April 2017, in occasion of the centenary of his birth, Le Stanze del Vetro opened the exhibition "Ettore Sottsass: il Vetro" with 200 works in glass. It is the first exhibition completely to the glasses of the architect.
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