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Ettore Sottsass, the designer, architect and design philosopher, established his first design practice in 1947, and has since remained at the very forefront of progressive international design. Considered by many subsequent designers to have been the father of the Anti-Design movement, Sottsass has consistently articulated a position of spiritual, aesthetic and intellectual leadership that has proved an enduring influence on contemporary international design and architecture.
Appointed as a consultant designer for Olivetti in 1958, Sottsass was commissioned to redefine office systems, equipment and furniture. As a consequence of this consultancy, Sottsass was invited by one of Olivetti's newly-married directors to furnish and decorate their new apartment at Ivrea, near the Olivetti group headquarters in northern Italy. Commenced in 1959, the completed apartment was published and extensively illustrated the following year in 'Domus' magazine. Sottsass's scheme for this compact yet colourful apartment is striking for its concentration upon forms and structures that are emphatically minimalist. This early preoccupation with linear, uncluttered and architectural forms heralded an aesthetic and intellectual departure from mainstream contemporary Italian design.
By 1965, when he was commissioned to create a second interior for the same client, a holiday home on the Isle of Capri, Sottsass's aesthetic and intellectual concepts had departed further still from the ideological mainstream of his contemporaries. His creations for this dramatic interior formed the foundation for a visionary and highly distinctive aesthetic that was to be subsequently revised throughout the following decades, culminating in the co-founding of the highly influential Memphis design collective in 1981.
Lots 35 - 39 constitute selections from the Ivrea apartment of 1959, lots 40 - 47 the furnishings from the Capri interior of 1965. The majority of the furnishings for both interiors were produced by the firm of Poltronova, the manufacturer to which Sottsass was appointed artistic director in 1957.
A further seven lots from both interiors will be offered for sale Christie's South Kensington, Modern Design, 5 June 2007.
Property from an Ivrea apartment, 1959 (lots 35 - 39)