Reading: ‘Scritto di notte’, by Ettore Sottsass

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One’s can encounter great truths, but look for them without finding them by chance. This can happen even when you write your thoughts on a book of pocket: interior space that becomes the search for truth. Likewise, the white sheets that make the company, when the light of day has not yet come.
This seemed to us to ‘feel’ reading ‘Scritto di Notte’ an unusual Ettore Sottsass (also) writer, recently published by Adelphi. This is what we found, reading these reflections by Sottsass artist, struggling with his visions of reality.
Influenced by the structure of this book, which has the rhythm of the pages of a book, we were inspired by two things: the voyeuristic instinct – in respect of the episodes ‘training’ author – and the intellectual curiosity to understand, in the texture of his thoughts, something more on the poetry tout court the designer / artist / photographer.
Imbattendoci the story of a way of doing design that we do not see around anymore. One way of doing design that while he was able to trace autobiographical author, without being self-referential, the other felt without dogma, to ‘say things’ on the issues that matter. Improving of fact, and not only in intention, the domestic scene.
We understand immediately the meaning of his research, the story of his start:
“In life I have had special teachers, teachers who spoke little or nothing, or spoke to teach me. Sometimes I tell tales of disaster or success stories of ignorance or abilities, […], I understood – a little ‘- that the special master was teaching me against his will. With those stories revolved around the definition of the thing, do not put it on the table beautiful, clear, engraved with the shadow and light, and with the ultimatum: take it or leave it. Those special men I met told stories and the stories left me space to figure out what I would be able to understand. I left the room because I could do to be my my, and to know what ever would become mine. ”
Leaving drag a lovable ‘story in itself’, writing Sottsass takes us through the history of design, and more. Meet: Bruno Zevi, the painter Spazzapan (his master of color), architect George Nelson, Fernanda Pivano (his first wife), Franca Helg (he called Sottsass ‘despicable’, for his participation as Official fascist in the Monterosa Brigade against the Allied Forced, the German side of the Allies in the Italian Social Republic. Which, in truth, the space that is used in the book to the story of those events, there seems to be a sort of outing by Sottsass ….).
But also, Adriano Olivetti, Ernst Hemingway, Pevsner sculptor, Brancusi, Kandinsky’s widow, Giovanni Agnelli, Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, the architect Vittorio Gregotti, etc..
Then, the “wild dreamers” Albini, Zanuso, Magistretti, Gardella, Castiglioni, Viganò, he looks from a distance, calling them the ‘fanatics designers of a possible new world, a world of honest, clean, clear, a world for all , a world, which, they hoped, the industry could achieve. A world that those fanatics designers ‘hoped to draw’.
As trace, in this little hint on colleagues of the previous generation, the embryo of what will be going beyond that ‘Calvinism rationalist’ (I quote Sottsass), which will affect his creative period more interesting for the history of Design ( I think the pieces of the 80s)? Design objects to be real ‘reviews’, in an apparently provocative – but with a simplicity that is their uniqueness – on rationalism before.
Here, by the way of his doing differently than historical colleagues, and of ‘arche of its forms:
“Maybe it’s guilt or merit of my heritage, ancient genes that I come from far away, from hundreds or thousands of mothers who have preceded me, and if I was breast if unable to pursue intellectually grand themes. At one point I areno, I covered up and if I can go back until I find a place that can measure with your arms. ”
Jumping a little ‘pages, a last point it seems interesting: the vision of the interior of Ettore Sottsass. It ‘s beautiful, and demonstrates the goal of his poetic things:
“Every color, every matter old or new brings with it more or less obvious, the echo of his own history. The echoes of those memories, like ghosts crowd the rooms, and the strange ghosts must be kept in peace, must be known, respected and cared for, as you know, respect and care when you put the words together to write a story. ”
Reading this wonderful book, we ask: Is there still room for thoughts like this in the things of today, stupidly impregnated only marketing and <business oriented>? The drift of the ‘eye for the price’ – the economic crisis has nothing to do! – Is not guilty of deluding the users of the design of this new century, making them narcissists and objects of consumption things? What happened to the power of objects to represent the culture of?
Here, Sottsass gets to the heart of things, and the wonder is that “doing things” by turning around to them, without feeling the need to name them. It is measured, for life, with the ‘landscape of ambiguity’, with the humility of the great artists, ‘trying to enter or at least to bear on themselves the risks of all the darkness.’

Great lesson of Design, in spite of the academies, and academic constraints.
When the Design spoke of the humanity of people.

Let’s reading, lightly deep.
(pier giuseppe fedele)

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