Ettore Sottsass Exhibition to Debut at Met Breuer

The Met Breuer in New York will showcase the works of Italian architect and designer Ettore Sottsass—a seminal figure in 20th-century design—in a new exhibition that will debut on July 21 and remain on view through October 8.

Ettore Sottsass, “Carlton” Room Divider, 1981. Wood, plastic laminate. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, John C. Waddell Collection, Gift of John C. Waddell, 1997. © Ettore Sottsass

Featuring architectural drawings, interiors, furniture, machines, ceramics, glass, jewelry, textiles and pattern, painting, and photography, “Ettore Sottsass: Design Radical” will highlight the designer’s broad spectrum of work while presenting it in dialogue with influential objects—both ancient and contemporary—and situating him within a broader discourse of design.

Ettore Sottsass (Italian (born Austria), Innsbruck 1917–2007 Milan), Manufacturer: Memphis Milano, 1985, Reconstituted wood veneer, plastic laminate (HPL print laminate), lacquer, plywood, Gift of Daniel Wolf, 2017 courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Ettore Sottsass (Italian (born Austria), Innsbruck 1917–2007 Milan) “Miss, Don’t You Like Caviar?” Armchair, c1987, Wood and chromed steel, Gift of Joseph A Helman, 1997

Spanning more than six decades, the retrospective of Sottsass’s career will feature his earlier works—including iconic office equipment, typewriters, computers, and furniture designed for Italian electronics manufacturer Olivetti—as well as his work with Memphis, the 1980s design collective, which challenged the standards of streamlined, midcentury style design through the use of saturated colors, geometrical motifs, plastic laminate, and eccentric
forms. Sottsass’s later, lesser-known work will be presented in dialogue with pieces by a host of 20th-century designers, including Piet Mondrian and Shiro Kuramata.

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