Totemic Pepper Mill
The pepper mill is a combination of black and natural maplewood. It is part of Alessi’s Twergi Collection.
Sottsass was born in 1917 in Innsbruck, Austria, and grew up in Milan, where his father was an architect. He was educated at the Politecnico di Torino in Turin and graduated in 1939 with a degree in architecture. He served in the Italian military and spent much of World War II in a concentration camp in Yugoslavia. After returning home in 1947, at age 30, Sottsass set up an architectural and design firm. About ten years after staring his firm, Sottsass began designing product in addition to architecture. His first designs included an Italian electronic calculator and iconic typewriter models such as the Valentine. In 1980 he founded the firm Sottsass Associates, where he continued his work as architect and designer. His most influential attribution to the design world began the following year as he set up, with colleagues, friends, and the Memphis group. Sottsass was the creator and at the forefront of this experimental and short lived design movement of the 1980’s. “…I began to try to figure out what I could be in terms of this society, the people, the necessity which surrounded me. ‘Memphis’ was a sort of exercise in design.” This contemporary avant-garde aesthetic combined playful colors, cheap materials and kitsch motifs that caused a media sensation after years of drab rationalism.
In addition to holding several honorary degrees, 1992 he was appointment as “Officier” in the order of arts and literature of the French Republic. Sottsass’ product and architectural design has been recognized by many prestigious museums and some have been included in permanent collections. The IF Award Design Kopfe from Industrie Forum Design in Hannover (1994) and a design prize by the Brooklyn Museum in New York (1996) are among his other accomplishments.