Sottsass & India

 Indian memories 1987

Indian memories 1987

 

The idea that a designer would travel the world to find inspiration seems like a very romantic notion in this speedy algorithm/tumblr/instagram age. Although I am guilty as charged, spending way to much time on the computer and sharing these finds on said internet, I always make time to travel. Hoping to return to my desk with a fresh perspective and to have escaped my own algorithm to some degree.

For this reason I enjoyed discovering about Ettorre Sottass' love of India and how alongside a myriad of eclectic influences that shaped his work from Pop Art to Archeology, this Indian romance was a constant. 

The ceramic teapots & lithographs featured here are just one example of India's profound influence on his work, once you notice it, it is imbued in so many of his pieces, with many of them having an alter-like symbolic and spiritual quality.

"India expanded his understanding of the connections between objects and the rituals of daily life. The colours, forms, language and mystical references of Indian culture reverberated in his work for decades to come." SOURCE V&A

If you aren't aware of Tirunamavalai in South India also featured in this post its not difficult to see the influence on Sottsass and the Memphis movement on a more surface level. Some of these buildings date back to the 1940's and Photographs of these houses were featured in Ettorre's own publication "Terrazzo" in 1988.

 Photo taken by Ettore Sotsass 1977, published in Terrazzo No.1 1988

Photo taken by Ettore Sotsass 1977, published in Terrazzo No.1 1988

 Tirunamavalai by Vincent Leroux for AD France.

Tirunamavalai by Vincent Leroux for AD France.

"We might think of these buildings as kitsch, but in India colour is more than just a passing fad, it is deeply rooted in the country’s culture, and in these homes, a way of showing the material wealth of a family. And as we are reminded in their Postmodern reincarnations, nothing is ever new, even when it’s reinvented." architizer.com

To me Ettore's output still remains highly original despite or even because of the visual parallel's with Tirunmavalai. His trips to India opened up a new visual world and provided a spring board to create completely unique, re-imagined objects.

Post-modernism & Sottsass (arguably one of the godfathers of the Italian post modern movement) seems to me to be the embodiment of combinatorial creativity ... (which is a whole other post!)  but if this sparks interest and you often wrestle with the idea of creating something "original"  you can read more here,  www.smithsonianmag.com & www.brainpickings.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emily Alston