Ettore Sottsass, Italian Designer Behind Memphis Group, Dies at 90

Ettore Sottsass, the celebrated Italian designer, died at his home in Milan today. He was 90 years old.

Mr. Sottsass is primarily credited with founding the Memphis Group—an influential collective of Italian-based designers, who were primarily concerned with furniture and product—in 1980. Before disbanding in 1988, the work of Memphis scholars was largely characterized as the “New International Style.” According to a Guardian article from 2001, the group was also the primary influence behind the subsequent work of Philippe Starck and Ian Schrager.

A retrospective of Mr. Sottsass’ work opened last September in Trieste, Italy. Entitled “I Want to Know Why,” the exhibition features some 130 of the late designer’s work. Of the show, he is quoted as saying: “I would like the visitors to leave crying, that is with emotion.”