Ettore Sottsass graduated in architecture at the Politecnico di Torino university (Turin) in 1939. In 1947 he opened his own architectural and design studio, where he worked both in Italy and internationally during the years.
He took part in personal and collective painting exhibitions in Italy and abroad, as well as many editions of the Milan Triennale.
In 1958 he began collaborating with Olivetti, in a relationship that would last for more than 30 years and he was awarded the “Compasso d’Oro” design prize three times.
In the second half of the 1960s, Sottsass founded the magazine “Pianeta Fresca” (Fresh Planet) with Allen Ginsberg and Fernanda Pivano.
In 1970, he received an honorary degree from the Royal College of Art in London.
1978-1980: he participated in the Alchymia group exhibition
1980: he founded Sottsass Associati and Memphis.
1981: he inaugurated the first Memphis group show, with the involvement of architects and designers from around the world, which would become in a very short period the symbol of New Design and a point of reference for modern avant-garde.
In 1988, along with Barbara Radice, he founded the magazine Terrazzo, in which the themes of New Design as posited by Memphis were extended to architecture and to modern culture in general.
Many exhibitions and retrospectives have been dedicted to Sottsass and his works are in permanent collections of many museums around the world.
Among his many recognitions:
1992, nominated “Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” by the French Republic;
1993, honorary degree from the Rhode Island School of Design, USA;
1994, IF Award Design from Industrie Forum Design, Hannover;
1996, Design Award from the Brooklyn Museum, New York;
1997, Oribe Award City of Gifu, Japan;
2001, honorary degree from the London Institute of Art and the Politecnico University of Milan;
2001, “Grande Ufficiale” for the Order of Merit from the President of the Italy;
2003, Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the Ministry of Culture of France;
2005, Gold Medal with Class 1 Diploma for honorable service in the name of culture and art from the President of Italy.