Tag Archive | Ettore Sottsass: Design Radical

Eye On Design: Ettore Sottsass, Cabinet No. 56

ettore sottsass cabinet no 56 photo by gail worley
All Photos By Gail

Ettore Sottsass’ late furniture for Gallery Mourmans liberated the artist from the ordinary constraints of the market and quantity. The collaboration gave him license to pursue the vast poetic and sculptural potential of perhaps his favorite of all design archetypes, the Cabinet.

ettore sottsass cabinet no 56 photo by gail worley

As with Cabinet No. 56 (2003) these pieces read as prototypes, concepts and sculpture. Each cabinet in this series is a study in materials, structure, form, color, and visual and sculptural effects — homages to his friends and design masters.

ettore sottsass cabinet no 56 photo by gail worley

Photographed in The Met Breuer in NYC as part of the 2017 – 2018 Exhibit, Ettore Sottsass: Design Radical.

Eye On Design: Kyoto Table By Shiro Kuramata

Kyoto Table
Photos By Gail

Born in Tokyo in 1934, Shiro Kuramata studied at the city’s polytechnic high school and Kuwsawa Design School. He revolutionized design in postwar Japan by considering the relationship between form and function, adhering to minimalist ideas but embracing surrealism as well. During the 1970s and 1980s, Kuramata began to use new technologies and industrial materials. He was inspired by Ettore Sottsass and joined the Memphis Group at its founding in 1981.

Kyoto Table Detail
Kyoto Table, Detail

The Kyoto Table (1983) is an example Kuramata’s innovative use of concrete and glass to create minimalist form with surface interest. Kuramata’s furniture and interiors have been influential both is his native country and abroad.

Photographed in the Met Breuer in NYC.

Eye on Design: Ettore Sottsass, Yellow Furniture

Ettore Sottsass Yellow Furniture
All Photos By Gail

Cross-shaped and studded with golden dots, Ettore Sottsass’ Yellow Furniture reads as an homage to Otto Wagner’s Steinhof Church, which is also cruciform in plan and features golden dots as the leitmotif. Both Yellow Furniture and the Steinhof Church transfer religious concepts into material form, specifically the spiritual association in Christian iconography of gold as a material and symbol of the heavens. Consistent with Christian ideals, Sottsass intended this piece for production by Indian craftsman as a way of addressing the poverty he witnessed during his travels.

Otto Wagner Steinhof Church Plan Drawings
Otto Wagner Steinhof Church Photos and Plan Drawings

Ettore Sottsass Yellow Furniture
Installation View

Photographed in the Met Breuer in NYC. as part of the Exhibit, Ettore Sottsass: Design Radical.

Eye On Design: The Tower Cabinet for Mario Tchou Residence, By Ettore Sottsass

Ettore Sotsass Tower Cabinet
Tower Furniture for the House with the Little Chinese Girl, Mario Tchou Residence, Milan (All Photos By Gail)

Ettore Sottsass (1917 – 2007) designed the interiors of Mario Tchou’s Milan apartment and named the project for Tchou’s daughter, who captured his heart as she attempted to scale the Tower.  The latticework, dowels and cubic proportions suggest the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement, the Wiener Werkstatte, and the Bauhaus.

Ettore Sotsass Tower Cabinet Detail

These interests merge with eastern touches — the Chinese red and black lacquer, gold leaf and pagoda construction — into a hybrid table/desk/shelf/cabinet/chest of drawers, a catch-all for the needs of daily life.

Ettore Sotsass Tower Cabinet Detail

Ettore Sotsass Tower Cabinet
Installation View

Sottsass wrote in the architecture and design magazine Domas, “The fact remains that a piece of furniture could be like architecture. with windows from which to looks outside . . .The piece of furniture can be looked at in many ways, always changing.”

Ettore Sotsass Tower Cabinet

The Tower, in short, is a kind of perception machine for the interior of the home.

Ettore Sotsass Tower Cabinet Installation View

Photographed as part of the exhibit Ettore Sottsass: Design Radical, at the Met Breuer (Through October 8th, 2017 )