Eclectic designer

Born in Innsbruck, Austria in 1917, Ettore Sottsass graduated in architecture from the Turin Polytechnic and opened his own office in Milan in 1947. In 1958, he began collaborating with Olivetti, designing the first Italian electronic calculator as well as the famous Valentine typewriter. Sottsass’s crowning moment as an innovator, however, came in 1981, when he established the Memphis Group (along with friends and collaborators), a particularly influential «new design» movement. Over the years Sottsass has designed hundreds of pieces, with the majority now part of museums’ permanent collections – the Valentine, for instance, is part of the MOMA’s permanent collection. His collaboration with design firms include Alessi, for which Sottsass began designing in 1978. Following the completion of his first jewelry collection, the designer collaborated with high jewelry powerhouse Cartier, mounting an exhibition of 200 exceptional Cartier pieces in 2002.