Saturday, January 05, 2008

ettore sottsass

ettore sottsass passed away on december 31, 2007.

sottsass was an infamous postmodern designer and founder of the memphis group, an influential Italian design and architecture movement of the 1980s. he was also responsible for the design of the keen eye's favorite typewriter (right up there in our banner), the valentine.

about which he said:

"I worked 60 years of my life, and it seems the only thing I did is this fucking red machine,” he says. “And it came out a mistake. It was supposed to be a very inexpensive portable, to sell in the market, like pens. It didn’t have capital letters, it didn’t have a bell [to let you know when you’d hit the end of a line]. I wanted the case to be inexpensive. Then the people at Olivetti said you cannot sell this kind of cheap Chinese thing. So, everything was put back: the capital letters, the bell, even the expensive plastic, which I was thinking would be this horrible, cheap plastic. So, it was a mistake.”

even so, the design of this machine – released on valentine's day, 1969 – will forever be celebrated as one of Sottsass' great contributions, and remains a beautiful piece.

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