Tag Archive | Ettore Sottsass

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: Ziggurat Black Stripes Storage Boxes By Oeuffice

Ziggurat Black Stripes Storage Boxes
Photo By Gail

The research laboratory called Oeuffice was estalished by Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte and Jakub Zak to develop innovative objects in limited editions. The designers met in Milan after studying in their native Canada and attending university in Berlin. Like Ettore Sottsass, they share a vision of a contemporary utopia in which they refashion architectural design on a domestic scale. The Ziggurat, an iconic architectural form that Sottsass revered, provided inspiration for this stack of Wooden Storage Boxes inlaid with acrylic and solid stained wood (2012). The ziggurat’s form and masterful wood inlays originate in the Near East and were executed by Lebanese artists specialized in the technique.

Photographed in the Met Breuer in NYC.

Eye On Design: Cabinet De Curiosité By Shiro Kuramata

Cabinet De Curiosite 2
All Photos By Gail

Shiro Kuramata (1934 – 1991) a member of The Memphis Group and among the most innovative designers of the late twentieth century, was fascinated by the visual possibilities of acrylic. The artist stated that his ideal objective was to see objects floating in air. Named for the Wunderkammern owned by Renaissance princes that displayed natural and man-made curiosities, Cabinet De Curiosité (1988) offers the magical impression of suspending its contents in midair. Kuramata explored the phenomenological effects of acrylic — light and lightness, invisibility and reflectivity, weight and weightlessness – and the material has become the poetic signature of his work. Kuramata used the term Neiro, or “sound-color,” to describe the synesthetic effect that acrylic has it both its physical presence and the spectral color-shadows it casts as light passes through it. Its prismatic luminosity changes with light and viewpoint, exploiting the optical effects of the material. Shown here alongside Flower Vase #3 (1989).

Photographed in the Met Breuer in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Donald Judd, Untitled (1970) Stack Sculpture

Donald Judd Untitled Stack 1970
All Photos By Gail

Donald Judd (1928 – 1994) created his first vertical Stack Sculpture in 1965. Coincidentally, this was just one year before furniture designer Ettore Sottsass designed his Superebox cabinet series. At the time, Sottsass claimed to have been inspired from the radical materials and construction of Parisian fashion, but he late wrote about Judd and even named a table in homage to him.

Donald Judd Untitled Stack 1970 Detail
Untitled Stack Sculpture (1970) Detail

Sottsass and Judd each explored Minimalism and the effect of objects on their environment, but from strikingly different vantage points

Donald Judd Untitled Stack 1970 Detail

Judd’s sculptures use the language and materials of serial production and functionalist design, while Sottsass created functional objects with the aspiration of minimalist sculpture.

Donald Judd Untitled Stack 1970

Photographed in The Met Breuer Museum 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 )