Sottsass retrospective in NY

The first posthumous exhibition of the late Italian design luminary Ettore Sottsass opens today at the Friedman Benda Gallery in New York.

The exhibition, which aims to explore how Sottsass’ use of form, colour, pattern, texture and structure conveys both universal and abstract ideas, will feature work previously unseen in the US.

According to the gallery, it is the second in a cycle of exhibitions devoted to ‘the investigation of the limited-edition and rare work’ of Sottsass.

Glass, marble and furniture made between 1965 and 1995 will be on show, with many of the pieces exhibited for the first time outside European museums.

The exhibition will include a number of iconic works including the well-known Nefertiti desk, a Superbox cabinet and the rare Flying Carpet armchair.

Experimental pieces from the 1970s, including Le Strutture Tremano side table created for Studio Alchimia, will be on view the first time in the US, while a group of bookcases and rarely seen glass sculptures from the 1990s will be shown in the context of the earlier work.

One of the most prolific product and industrial designers to come out of Italy, Sottsass’ work spans architecture, furniture, industrial design, glass, ceramics, painting, photography and writing, but he is perhaps best known as founder of the 1980s Italian design collective Memphis, whose work was delineated by a kitsch, colourful and playful ‘signature’.

Sottsass’ architectural projects of note include Colorado’s Wolf House, 1989 and Milan’s Malpensa Airport, 2000.

He died on 31 December 2007, just three months after his 90th birthday.

Archetypes, An Exhibition of Rare and Limited-edition Work by Ettore Sottsass runs until 21 June at the Friedman Benda Gallery on West 26th Street, New York.

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