Utopia: Lost and Found /01 April 2008


Ettore Sottsass

Essetre shelving from the Mobili Grigi series
Italy, 1970
gel-coated fiberglass, lacquered wood
35 w × 13¼ d × 72 h in (89 × 34 × 183 cm)

While Artistic Director at Poltronova, Sottsass created the Mobili Grigi series, introduced at Eurodomus 3 in Milan in 1970. These are his most anti-commercial designs, where the concept of grey symbolized the antithesis of consumer appeal. The designs made a counter-cultural statement about the emerging popularity of brands. Sottsass remarked of this series, "Could anything be more ridiculous?" Approximately five examples of Mobili Grigi were produced.

provenance: Private collection, Milan

literature: Ettore Sottsass Jun.: Designer, Artist, Architect, Hoger, pg. 91

estimate: $40,000–50,000
result: $48,000

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Ettore Sottsass 1917–2007

Ettore Sottsass is one of the most significant designers and architects of the late 20th Century, his bold and colorful, Post Modern aesthetic enlivening objects, furniture and interiors and influencing design around the world. Born in Innsbruck, Austria in 1917, Sottsass and his family moved to Turin, Italy in 1929 so he could study architecture at the Politecnico di Turino. He graduated with a degree in architecture in 1939 but he was called to serve the Italian army during World War II and he spent most of the war in a concentration camp. Upon his return in 1945, he worked for his father, Ettore Sottsass senior, an architect practicing in Turin, before relocating to Milan to curate a craft exhibition at the 1946 Triennale. 

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