The director of the Triennale Design Museum, Marco Sammicheli, tells us how to visit the exhibition on Ettore Sottsass, father of the Memphis group

From 20 January 2023 Ettore Sottsass, La Parola opens to the public, the third installment of a larger exhibition project dedicated to the story of the work of the great designer and architect, founder of the Memphis group and designer for Olivetti.

You always enter from the entrance of Casa di Lana, on the first floor of the Palazzo della Triennale in Milan, the perfect reconstruction of the central body of a Milanese residence (that of the printer Giovanni Lana) designed by Ettore Sottsass in the 1960s.

But around Casa di Lana, after Structure and color and Calculation, this exhibition with such an intriguing title now opens: Ettore Sottsass, The Word.

To find out more, we asked the curator, Marco Sanmicheli, director of the Italian Design Museum of the Triennale, to guide us through the exhibition.

Read also: The exhibitions not to be missed in 2023 in Italy, selected by Interni

With Barbara Radice and Iskra Grisosgono

"This third exhibition project comes from the collaboration with Barbara Radice and Iskra Grisosgono of the Studio Sottsass strong> It is a path dedicated to all the times in which some form of literature has entered his work.

Which happened very often, I think of the projects and sketches completed with long texts written in his own hand.

In the exhibition, therefore, there is a bit of everything: from diaries to rants, from essays to articles, from poetry to calligraphy up to books published for Adelphi or Neri Pool".

A journey through words and sketches

The route does not follow a chronological line.

"We preferred to follow a thematic line because there are writings that cannot be referred to a specific decade or period, in some way they contemplate his entire career.

They range from some unpublished works kept in her personal sketchbooks to the small books in which she drew and which represent the most intimate moments of her creative life.

And around the walls, the public will find the enlarged reproductions of some pages of those on display, significant fragments for the concepts and for the centrality they have maintained in Sottsass' career".

The 41 Kalligraphy series

Alongside papers, notes and diaries, there are also some objects, photographs and drawings on display.

"Like the series of kalligraphy that Sottsass created for a gallery in Zurich, graphic signs which in some cases will become vase-sculptures, and which here are exhibited in the complete series, all 41.

A way to underline the idea of the sign that gives rise to the word and can become a slogan, prayer, poetry. The panels cross the entire exhibition and somehow represent the origin of the word".

With some goodies. "Like the small book opened on a page that shows the sketch of a red house with a yellow detail. A sketch that contains the poetry of the wonderful reality that this author lived .

And being able to bring this design to everyone's attention allows everyone to find even a piece of their own history".

Because, as Sottsass wrote: "Of artists, on my account, life matters more".

Milan Triennale, via Alemagna 6, Ettore Sottsass La Parola, open from Tuesday to Sunday from 11 to 20.