Ettore Sottsass, architectural jewels between geometry, graphics and pop colors

Ettore Sottsass, bijoux architecturaux entre géométrie, graphisme et couleurs pop

1. A jack-of-all-trades designer

Ettore Sottsass grew up in Turin, Italy. As a child, he developed a real passion for everything related to design, interior architecture and multiplied his skills: painter, ceramist, jewelry designer, writer and even photographer, we no longer count his various creative hats.

He began his professional life in New York where he discovered Pop Art and industrial design. His work was spotted by Poltronova, a furniture company, which he joined as artistic director. He then created a series called Mobili Grigi known for its monochrome colors and its plastic and fiberglass works.

2. Design, a way of discussing life

In 1980, he created the Memphis Group, an influential Italian design movement with the help of other designers and architects. They are a great success at the Milan Furniture Fair thanks to their bright colors, their geometric architecture and the mix of materials that are very innovative and appreciated by the public.

Ettore uses a lot of colors, signs for him of "vital energy" and combines veneered wood with bronze or even aluminum for a result that he wants to be modern, ultra pop and joyful in reaction to industrial design.


Casablanca bookcase, emblematic piece of furniture from the Memphis group.

“Designing is not giving shape to a more or less stupid product for a more or less luxurious industry. For me, design is a way of discussing life. »

3. Ceramics and jewelry

Strongly marked by a life experience in India and fascinated by the various rituals observed there, he began to produce his own ceramics in 1956, in particular a series of totems. These totems will then inspire a collection of jewelry with architectural dimensions.

He calls them “his miniature ancient-looking architectures, intended for queens and vestals more than for women in our society”. Jewels that are both contemporary and ancestral that will remain rather unknown.


Here are a few:



His designs are all for his wife Nanda. The designer is inspired by antique ornaments and organic materials such as ivory, coral, ebony or semi-precious stones. He plays with colors and volumes for an ultra graphic and geometric result.

“I would like to design jewelry in homage to an intelligent, generous woman, herself a queen. »

I particularly like the audacity of this designer who knew how to impose his assertive, modern and joyful spirit. We all know his Casablanca library but less his line of jewelry which reminds me of certain lines of the Bauhaus and appeals to me in particular.


And here is his Asteroid lamp which reminds me of the U-shape of the Origin bracelet.

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