During the early 1960s Sottsass travelled extensively, including protracted periods in India and in the United States. Whilst in India Sottsass became fascinated by the role of objects within the home, particularly their embodiment as a symbol of ritual. The perceived spirituality of the modest yet reverential objects he encountered prompted Sottsass to seek resolution in his own designs by investing them with a monolithic and contemplative quality. In his mind, these monumental pieces, of which this bookcase is an early and important example, acquired the role of an altar for the rituals of domestic life. Such furnishings were designed to invoke a philosophic response from the spectator, rather than to exist passively as status symbols for the consumer. Sottsass elaborated upon the complex aesthetic and intellectual language of such pieces by investing them with subtle references to American Pop Art, through the use of brightly coloured Formica surfaces and the use of large drawer knobs, often in cruciform arrangement to mimic traffic lights. These metaphorical references were intended to awaken the desire for a spiritual journey. In so doing, Sottsass had created symbolic furniture that had been designed to function as a transcendential medium, illustrating his faith that the role of a designer was to awaken a fresh perspective of the world.