“I am not fanatical of Future. Not a fanatical of clocks, structures and progress (so pricey!) and nor even victory.” With this quote printed at the entrance of the ETTORE SOTTSASS: THERE IS A PLANET monographic exhibition, The Triennale Design Museum in Milan invites visitors to explore the work and research of the Memphis school founder. Born 100 years ago in Innsbruck, the legacy of the iconic Italian designer is now celebrated in many museums and events from Venice to New York.
THERE IS A PLANET @ Triennale Design Museum, Milan
The exhibition ETTORE SOTTSASS: THERE IS A PLANET in the spaces of the Galleria dell’Architettura at the Triennale Design Museum in Milan “doesn’t want to be a celebrative monument-exhibition but a sentimental and deep exploration of the designer beliefs,” explains Silvana Annicchiarico, director of TDM. On show iconic masterpieces, writings and photographs shot by Sottsass in his journeys across the world, but also the legacy of his work in contemporary design. Nine rooms titled after Sottsass’ essays narrate his poetics and relationship with magic, darkness and the unknown but also politics and space in design and architecture. The show is curated by Barbara Radice with exhibition design by Michele de Lucchi and Christoph Radl.
RADICAL DESIGN @ MET Breuer, New York
At the exhibition curated by Christian Larsen at the MET Breuer Sottsass’ works are presented next to ancient and contemporary objects that inspired him, but also recent designs which inherited his “radical” imprint. Egyptian amulets, Roy Lichtenstein artworks and mandalas dialogue with the designer’s architectural drawings, interiors, furniture, machines, ceramics, glass, jewelry, textiles and pattern, painting, and photography. Watch the video.
VILLA WALALA @ London Design Festival
On the occasion of London Design Festival, textile designer Camille Walala has created a Memphis-inspired huge inflatable castle titled Villa Walala in Exchange Square, Broadgate, near Liverpool Street Station. Walala is known for blending Memphis-school aesthetics with a vibrant and contemporary feel. The installation which spreads with geometrical and colorful patterns also on the pavement and the surrounding plaza invite people to step in, relax and have fun.
Love/Hate Functionalism… @ Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
From Alessi table accessories to the famous Olivetti Valentine typewriter, but also furniture, lamps, the Memphis textiles and glassworks of the 1980s. The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam presents the first ever retrospective of the designer in the Netherlands. The exhibitions explores Ettore Sottsass’ relationship with Modernism and Functionalism, “which he initially embraced, later criticised and perhaps even parodied, but never completely rejected“.
POET AND REBEL @ Vitra Design Museum
“He did not regard form and function as constraints, but rather viewed design as an opportunity to explore the nature of human existence.” Say at Vitra Design Museum. The ETTORE SOTTSASS: POET AND REBEL exhibition features 30 of his furniture designs, consumer products, as well as numerous photographs and writings. Special focus is on the Memphis school: the movement created in 1980 which is known for objects inspired by motifs from everyday life, Pop culture and the non-European civilisations encountered during extensive travels from the 1960s onward.
Venice Biennale: unseen glassware and a dialogue with Carlo Scarpa architecture
FAI Fondo Ambiente Italiano and French architect Charles Zana displayed 70 ceramics created by Sottsass between 1957 and 1969 in the Carlo Scarpa’s designed Negozio Olivetti in St. Mark square in Venice. LE STANZE DEL VETRO showcased over never-seen-before 220 glass and crystal works. “Glass is an incredible medium, at once mysterious, transparent and fragile.” Said the designer in one of his last interviews. “Needless to say, beyond glass one finds a whole universe of centuries-old traditions”.