The Political 1960’s and Postmodern Italian Design: Ettore Sottsass

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The Political 1960’s and Postmodern Italian Design: Ettore Sottsass


Italian design evolved between 1950s and the end of the 1960s, the designs that were in the market burned out and were replaced by void formalization of design which majored on commercial this text, explanation on the designed objects is paramount, the fabrication of the designed parts according to the methodology of the designs. There is a remarkable design presentation in this book by Penny Sparke. The ant design flow and movement came in to place in 1965 to around 1979.this movement was all about striking colors and the appropriate use of scaling techniques where a small object is scaled to get a bigger representation of the same. This function of scaling of objects was meant to get a different perception of objects by the designer and also anybody willing to familiarize with the design work. (Roldán & Leone, 2013)

Italian anti design movement

Italian designers were at those times perfectionists in the designs they came up with. Normally for a product to be developed from scratch, the designers has to come up with a model from a two dimensional diagram of the parts with the required dimensional accuracy. Therefore the designer deserves recognition when the product is already manufactured. (Sparke, 1986). But in the Italy the leading manufacturers were celebrated instead and paid a lot of money. The designers were not recognized and that’s why the anti-design came up in the country. The designers were treated in a way to suggest that they lacked social relevance. Ettore Sottsass became the spokesman of this Anti design movement as soon as it officially stated in 1966.the ant design movement advocated for the design of models that are unique instead of advocating for styles that are commonly known in order to embrace mass production. Mass production and standard design were most common and therefore nothing new was being witnessed in the design industry.

Ettore Sottsass is thus a key person in the history of the Italian design as he challenged the production systems to retreat from greed and deal with the acceptable genuine design instead of aiming to boost sales with a poor the long run complains would always come from the clients and consumers of products manufactured from such reckless design. The anti-design rebels felt that each component of a design should be temporary so that incase of any fault replacement can be done but with the anti-design advocates, a component should not have to be replaced every now and then, a permanent solution to frequent wear and tear should be there. A part of a design should have a lifespan that is suitable in relation to the function that the component will serve. The concept of the anti-design movement aimed to stop the purchasing of components and objects which can be made in Italy. The choosing of materials was to be done so that the durability of the object is enhanced. (Peri Bader, 2015). A good example is the modern palette which was once black, grey and white. Before this anti design, the colors were chosen according to the variety available, the materials that are available and the decorative ability of the elements. The ant design rebels lacked good concepts on design philosophy and would mostly design without an objective. The future user’s expectation of a design is one factors to consider in all the designs and therefore the Italian anti-designers made everyone to realize that information on safety requirements, the legislative requirements and the standards was important. (Sparke, 2008).

Postmodern Italian Part designing

Design work always starts from conceptualization of a new idea of a part that one seeks to design. The Italian design as portrayed in this book introduces part designing in 1967 where parts of a series of prototype designs were employed to strategies Italian counter designs example was the fourteenth Milan Triennale in 1968. (Medjdoub & Chenini, 2015). To date, the Italian design focuses on accuracy and precision in part designing. For a part to be able to mate with another part, there has to be a good dimensional accuracy on the drawing of that part. The Italian design of parts starts with a 2D drawing where the dimensions of the part are put in that drawing. Italy exports parts of various assembly that can be used in manufacturing different products. For example a machinery can get its components imported from Italy because in modern manufacturing processes some assemblies have little access to spare parts from the country in which they serve the clients. (Golan, 2012).

Italian designs of textile products have been a phenomenon since the late 1970s.textile manufacture is Italy’s pride especially considering that they own the design and also the manufacturing firms. For a better design to be achieved several parameters have to be considered just as it is seen in the Italian design. Quality is always essential in a design. The consideration is high quality on the final product such that it will do better in the market. Just like its nowadays in the Italian design of clothes and other textile products, Italian put reinforcements on the cloth design so that they increase the lifespan of the final cloth manufactured. This is basically what makes Italian designs better from the old days. For an engineer or an architect to be good in his/her task, more time should be taken on the design to ensure that no errors are made because in the long run, the final product is affected. (Person & Snelders, 2010). Design always start with the recognition of the social needs that are available. After this the architect can translate these needs into ideas that are acceptable and finally testing the ideas against the physical laws of the nature to see whether science accepts it. (Mastrangelo & Marangi, 2015).


The Italian design history is a major contribution to the design patterns that are even embraced in modern architectural works. The most historical part of it being the ant design movement which led to the improvement of designs ranging from furniture designs to textile designing of products. A designer can always have his/her design feasible buy first of all constructing the prototype of the same and testing done. (Novi & Piccardo, 2015). The Italian design to date is focused on the uniqueness of what comes out of the designed object. A design does not have to be complicated in order to be tough in the market but a simple and unique design can result in the manufacture of an assembly that can really solve social issues in the society. For example the furniture designs by Italians in the 1970s are still there to date and this is because the design suite the needs of the people in the society.

Designing is all about modifying, rearranging and the most important improving the performance of the product is at all the designer is not innovating a new product. (Drury, 2009).


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