For the centennial of the birth of Ettore Sottsass (Innsbruck 1917 – Milan 2007), Triennale Design Museum presents a solo show of his work accompanied by a book and a catalogue.

Curated by Barbara Radice

Exhibit design: Michele De Lucchi and Christoph Radl

Coordination: Silvana Annicchiarico


The title of the exhibition and the book, There is a Planet, is that of a project by Sottsass from the early 1900s for the German publisher Wasmuth, which was never completed.

The project for the book, now published by Electa, gathered together five groups of photographs, each group with its own title and text: images of architecture, houses, doors, people and situations.


The main part of the show, organized in nine rooms, gravitates around nine themes selected from interpretation of the archives of Sottsass’s writings.

Every theme-room and group of works is accompanied by short quotations that enable viewers to closely track the designer’s vast and versatile activities: architecture, drawing, design, photography, painting, objects, furniture, sculpture, glass, ceramics, publishing and writing.


The themes are:

-For some there may be space (until 1955 ca.)

-Magic design (1950s and 1960s)

-Whipped cream memories (1960s)

-Political design (1970s)

-Structures tremble (1970s and early 1980s)

-Barbaric design (1980s)

-Ruins (1990s)

-Real space (1980s and 1990s)

-I would like to know why… (until 2007)


The names of the themes come from the titles of writings, the names of objects or the titles of works seen as pivotal for an organization of the work of Sottsass. Not exactly chronological periods, though they coincide at times with certain dates, but moods and tendencies that overlap and blur into each other.





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Casa Wolf, Ridgway, Colorado, 1986-1989. Ettore Sottsass with Johanna Grawunder
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Ettore Sottsass, Barbaric furniture, 1986. Ph. Erik e Petra Hesmerg
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Ettore Sottsass, Mobili Grigi Poltronova, 1970. Ph. Alberto Fioravanti