Italiamania: An Amateur’s Collection
February 1st, 2024 at Tajan in Paris
Founder of the Memphis movement, Italian architect Ettore Sottsass (1917-2007) is universally recognised for his fundamental contribution to fields as varied as furniture, photography, graphic design, silverware and architecture, graphic design, goldsmithing and architecture. The collection presented here comprises over fifty pieces, all of which are instantly recognisable. Decorative, functional, imaginative or colourful, this collection focuses on ceramics created by Sottsass between 1956 and 2000.
“Since 1956, I’ve designed many ceramics, but I’ve only made a few with my own hands. Most of the ceramics I’ve designed have been made in Montelupo, a historic ceramic-making centre. I made them in the Bitossi family factory. The art director of the Bitossi factory was Aldo Londi, a man who knew countless mysterious secrets related to all aspects of ceramics. He is a great friend and a precious companion on my journey into ceramics. Other pieces were produced in diﬀerent Italian factories. The “Yantra” were made in the Tuscan ceramic factory in Filigna di Prato. The “Indian Memories” in Alessio Sarri’s laboratory in Sesto Fiorentino, for the Design Gallery in Milan. It is slightly different for the “Tantras”. They were made by the great painter and ceramist Nanni Valentini, a dear friend who died too soon”.
His words help us to understand the guiding principle behind this amateur’s collection. First and foremost pieces by Ettore Sottsass or the Memphis group, followed by those of the manufacturers or art directors with whom the Maestro worked. There are personal pieces by Aldo Londi, Nanni Valentini, Alessandro Mendini, Nathalie Du Pasquier, George Sowden and Mateo Thun. The focus on ceramics has also led to digressions into Italian design of the last third of the 20th century, with some of the luminaires and everyday objects we all know.