“I have always thought that design begins where rational processes end and magic begins,” commented Ettore Sottsass Jr., one of the most iconic and influential architects, designers and authors of his generation.
To commemorate the 14th anniversary of his death, the Pompidou Centre in Paris wanted to honour him with an exhibition entitled ‘L’Objet Magique’, open until 3 January 2022.
The exhibition includes the most important works of Sottsass’ production. The result is a rich presentation documenting the many aspects of his activity. There are over 400 works on display, including drawings, paintings and design objects including 500 pictures and 200 original archive documents.
The objects on display have been placed at the centre of an installation realised with decorative panels by Abet Laminati, leading visitors to immerse themselves in the total and cosmic universe of the patterns designed by Sottsass.
Bacterio, the designer’s most iconic and recognisable pattern, is displayed on the walls, as well as Serpente, Rete and Spugnato.
The collaboration between Abet Laminati and Ettore Sottsass started in 1964 and is one of the longest-lasting and culturally active collaborations in the history of design. This is thanks to the long-term vision and creative experimentation by Abet Laminati throughout those years.
For Sottsass, ‘design is a way of looking at life’, a way ‘of building a possible figurative utopia or a metaphor for life’. This exhibition, which traces his career from the early years to Memphis consistently emphasises the “magical thinking” that runs through the many different forms of expression and art that Sottsass embraced. To him, all “objects” represented the ritual punctuation of a cosmic totality, in relation to their “magical” appropriation by man.
Ettore Sottsass, L’objet magique – Pompidou Centre, Paris.
October 13th – January 3rd, 2022 ©Centre Pompidou, Audrey Laurans.