meet the sottsass seat.
when asked for italian designers, many people’s first mention would be ettore sottsass. born in austria 1917, trained architect, he later became famous as a design radical, co-founder of the „memphis“ group and as a true „renaissance man“ of the 20th century. every design museum all over the world owns some „sottsass“ and his „valentine“ typewriter became a pop art design icon.
extremely productive was his collaboration with famous italian office equipment manufacturer olivetti, starting in 1959, when he worked closely with founder adriano olivetti’s son, roberto and engineer mario tchou. from 1970 on he developed an integrated office furniture suite: the now famous system „synthesis 45“ (based on a 45cm spatial grid). It consisted of writing desks, chairs, armchairs, drawers, filing cabinets and hundreds of accessories.
on the one hand, the well thought-out system was meant to facilitate the integration of emerging office electronics. on the other hand, the mixture of natural and bright colours should make office work more pleasant and appeal especially to younger people.
this is a piece of italian design history – precisely because it’s not a luxury item, but a very well designed everyday object, linked to one of the most famous names in 20th century design.
synthesis 45 typist’s adjustable swivel chair, designed 1970 by ettore sottsass. injection-moulded abs, aluminium, steel, textile-covered polyurethane foam.
seat and back height adjustable.
lit: „sottsass olivetti synthesis sistema 45“, exhibition catalogue curated by enrico morteo et al., edizioni di comunita, biennale di venezia 2016