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A Survey Of Ettore Sottsass’s Late Masterpieces

Even among haters of postmodernism, it’s tough to find someone who doesn’t possess a soft spot for Ettore Sottsass. That’s in part because the Italian maestro left behind such a varied legacy that includes something suited to everyone’s taste. He was responsible for Olivetti’s Valentine portable typewriter, now a bona fide classic, but he also was one of the founders of the experimental Memphis Group, churning out quirky, sculptural pieces of art-furniture throughout the ’80s. He at once changed with and defined the eras in which he lived, producing work for six decades up until his death in 2008.

A show at New York’s Friedman Benda gallery, Ettore Sottsass: A Survey, 1992–2007, celebrates the last 15-year leg of his career, which was marked by an enduring appreciation of bold color, traditional craft, and totem-like stacks. Few designers enjoyed exploring materials more than Sottsass, mixing and matching them with artistic vision and artisanal know-how.

Check out slide show for a selection from the show; see them in person here before August 10.

[All photos courtesy of Friedman Benda]

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