The Year in Visual Culture
Dimensions: (2) Plates: 11.75" diameter x 1". Drawing: framed 19.25" x 19.25"
Manufacturer: Ceramic: Flavia for Memphis/Milano 1985. Made in Italy
Set includes original presentation drawing in pencil and ink with notations on dimensions and two Rucola plates. Proposal for ceramic collection for Bloomingdale's. Plates were then produced in a special production run of fewer than 100. Printed on bottom of plate: Memphis/Milano, Bloomingdale's, Made in Italy by FLAVIA, Designed by ETTORE SOTTSASS. This design is in production today labeled only Memphis/Milano.
In September 1985, Bloomingdale's in New York opened "Ecco L'Italia," a seven-week event that featured Italy's classic and modern designs in everything from fashion to home furnishings. The New York Times called the enterprise "A Celebration Con Brio of Italian Creativity." The more than 1700 individuals who attended the festive, black-tie opening included famous designers from Italy and beyond, including Ettore Sottsass, Barbara Radice, Aldo Cibic, Emilio Pucci, Michael Graves, and Massimo and Lella Vignelli. "Ecco La Casa" was the title of a series of model rooms included a striking design by Memphis designer and member of Sottsass Associati Aldo Cibic, which was furnished with Memphis furnishings, wallpaper and rugs. Memphis ceramics were featured in a special display in the gift department and included production versions of the Rucola, Indivia and Lettuce plates, the Celery and Tomato trays, the Carrot and Cucumber vases, and the Broccoli Bowl.
This collectors set offers a unique opportunity to own the story of the creation of a Memphis product: both the one-of-a-kind proposal drawing and subsequent limited-edition ceramic.
Series: Plates are still in production through Memphis/Milano but only bear the Memphis/Milano stamp and are produced by a different manufacturer.
Signature: Drawing not signed, but notes are in his handwriting. Both plates printed on bottom of plate: Memphis/Milano, Bloomingdale's, Made in Italy by FLAVIA, Designed by ETTORE SOTTSASS.
Image rights: The Modern Archive
Acquired directly from Bloomingdale's executive
An Italian architect and designer known for his large oeuvre including furniture, jewelry, glass, lighting, and office design, Ettore Sottsass was also the founder in the early 1980s of the Memphis Group. Drawing inspiration from such movements as Art Deco and Pop Art, Memphis produced and exhibited furniture and objects that were vibrant in color and futuristic in design. Sottsass’ own work was known for its variety, oftentimes incorporating playfulness through ornamentation and color. His Olivetti typewriter (1969), one of his most celebrated designs, made of bright red-orange plastic, was a Pop phenom in both its functionality and innovative design. His architecture and design career spanned many decades and styles.
Italian, 1917-2007, Innsbruck, Austria, based in Milan, Italy
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