Design Notes Archive

@Ettore Sottsass

@Ettore Sottsass

The late Italian architect and designer, Ettore Sottsass, led what became one of the most polarizing design movements of the 1980s. Memphis, which championed furniture in riotous, often neon, colours embellished with wild motifs like zig zags and squiggles, was simply a love it or hate it affair. With the genre’s re-emergence in mainstream design (think Darkroom London and terrazzo everything), one has to ask how a 25-year-old former physical therapy student became the official curator of Ettoree Sottsass’ Instagram handle.

Turns out, Raquel Cayre was trolling the Paris flea market when she stumbled upon Sottsass’ wavy pink Ultrafragola mirror. We’re not surprised she was instantly obsessed – we too were so smitten that it partly inspired the curve of our own Flora mirror. Unable to buy the iconic relic, Cayre scooped up as many books on Sottsass as she could find and began posting images to Instagram under the account @EttoreSottsass.

Her followers, 61,000 strong, include a who’s who of designers and aesthetes who return again and again to soak up inspiration from the keenly curated feed. Scroll through it and you’ll find a heavy doss of Memphis coupled with a mix of modernist and classical, almost bohemian, design. The dichotomy includes plenty of non-Sottsass imagery as well, like Guillermo Santoma’s Casa Horta in Barcelona and this Miami Beach bathroom of Stephan Weishaupt. For those wondering if it’s all above board, Sottsass’ widow, Barbara Radice, has endorsed the tribute account.

Photographs © Richard Powers, José Hevia