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Ettore Sottsass Dies at 90

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Italian designer Ettore Sottsass, architect, designer and founder of the postmodernist Memphis Group, died on New Year’s Eve at the age of 90, reports the New York Times.

Mr. Sottsass was known for his playfulness and wit as well as his whimsical ornamentation. His Adesso Pero stained-wood bookshelf from 1992 looks like three red lightning bolts shooting into a red platform. His Tahiti lamp, from 1981, resembles a tropical bird with a long yellow neck and boxy red beak.

“He never lost the love of the object,” said Susan Yelavich, an assistant professor at Parsons the New School for Design. “There’s a sensuality, a sheer hedonism, that is so welcome and undeniable.”

Sottsass enjoyed immense worldwide recognition of late, with a massive retrospective of his work organized by LACMA opening in 2006 and another retrospective celebrating his 90th birthday up in Trieste, Italy until March 2. But right now we think we can hear him pecking away on that big red Olivetti typewriter in the sky.

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