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Musings

Ettore Sottsass' Slanted Bookshelves

Design

Throughout his six-decade long career, Italian architect Ettore Sottsass radicalized design through the unique visual language he developed between color, form and pattern.


Posted October 24th, 2017 By Colby Mugrabi

Sottsass bridged a sylistic gap in his craft, linking modernism and post-modern design through his use of graphic forms, bright colors and the inclusion of non-functional, decorative elements within his work. One of his most recognized structural details, amongst a large pool of Sottsass’ eccentric design features, are the slanted shelves of his non-traditional bookcases. While at first glance the absence of ninety-degree angles seems counterintuitive, Sottsass justified his unorthodox design decision by claiming that books always fall over in upright shelving anyhow, so why not design shelves and dividers that do the same. This concept took on many iterations throughout his extensive career, particularly in the early 1980s when Sottsass was designing furniture for the Memphis Group, the Italian design collective he founded in 1981.

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