Ettore Sottsass (1917 – 2007) was an Italian architect and designer. His body of work included furniture, jewellery, glass, lighting, and strangely, office equipment, which later became iconic and collectable. Items such as typewriters were masterpieces of colour, form and contemporary styling. He also designed many buildings and interiors.
Sottsass was born in Innsbruck, Austria, but grew up in Turin, where his father was a modernist architect. Ettore graduated in 1939 with a degree in architecture. He was later given an honorary degree by the Royal College of Art.
This remarkable book, The Glass, considers the objects by Sottass, who has taken advantage of that magical medium. For centuries glass has been used to denote status. It has decorated aristocratic tables and noble windows. Glass has offered shimmering illusion and practical reflections. It is a substance of translucent purity, but one which presents fabrication obstacles to surmount.
Collaborating with some of the most important glassworks
Sottsass was first introduced to glass when he moved to Milan in 1946. He continued to work with the medium throughout his artistic life, collaborating with some of the most important glassworks of the time. The Glass presents a comprehensive catalogue of both popular and little-known pieces.
One is first impressed by the solidity of these works. Some are practical, such as Sottsass’ lamp shades, but there are more that offer simple visual joy. Bold colours and geometric shapes vie for attention. Light is diffused into kaleidoscopic rainbows adding to the complexity of each glass piece. Colours mix and create other dimensions.
Glass is an ethereal substance. It presents challenges to those who choose it as their artistic medium. The Glass of Ettore Sottsass showcases glass with its many facets, colours and qualities. It will be adored by and pored over by artists and architects. This is yet another sumptuous volume by SKIRA.
The Glass -Ettore Sottsass
Edited by: Luca Massimo Barbero
Published by: Skira Editore
Art book review by Chrissie Walker © 2018