Designer Desire: Ettore Sottsass

Mosaic of Ettore Sottsass product designs | H is for Home

One of the things near the top of my wish list is a cherry red vintage Valentine typewriter designed by Ettore Sottsass for Olivetti in 1968. The ones in good condition and complete with their carry cases sell for over a hundred pounds on eBay.

We love lots of his product and furniture designs, although much of his output from the Memphis Group period isn’t our cup of tea – perhaps it’s because we were both hip & trendy young adults in the 80s and we don’t need reminding of the time! 🙂

Ettore Sottsass

Image credits:

NY Times | 1st Dibs | MOMA | V&A | eBay | Utility Design | Amazon

Bookmarks: Miller’s Mid-Century Modern

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'Mid-Century Modern' by Judith Miller surrounded by vintage Mid-century modern homewares including a West German fat lava vase, bright orange pedestal cigarette lighter, small Cathrineholm enamelware Lotus bowl and still life oil painting

In today’s Bookmarks post we’re taking a peek at Mid-Century Modern – living with mid-century modern design by Judith Miller.

title page of "Mid-Century Modern" by Judith Miller with a small Cathrineholm enamelware Lotus bowl

Well, a bit more of a peek really , as we linger over some of the wonderful pieces on display!

interior view of the mid-century modern design Kauffman House sitting room

Mid-century modern is one of our favourite eras for interior design, illustration, textiles and product design…

Arne Jacobsen "Ant" and "Swan" chairs

…so as the pages turned, there was a soundtrack of many oohs and ahhs!

selection of vintage Mid-Century Modern glassware including a kingfisher blue "Drunken Bricklayer" vase designed for Whitefriars by Geoffrey Baxter

Judith Miller is most famous for her all-encompassing antiques & collectables guides which are published annually.

collection of colourful West German "Fat Lava" pottery pots and vases

In recent years, they’ve include an ever-increasing number of 20th century pieces in response to interest & demand.

collection of GPlan furniture including a nest of pebble tables and "Butterfly" chairs designed by Lucian Ercolani

This book concentrates solely on mid-century modern – 1950s to the 1970s being the period generally accepted.

collection of vintage mid-century modern glass vases

A wonderful introductory chapter covers its evolution and influential designers.

collection of vintage mid-century modern chairs including examples designed by Charles and Ray Eames and Carlo di Carli

The movement perfectly encapsulated a new mood of optimism after the war years with revolutionary designs, materials & techniques.

collection of vintage mid-century modern pop art chairs including examples designed by Egon Eiermann and Günter Beltzig

The fresh ideas, and indeed disposable income, of a whole new generation began to soar.

vintage mid-century modern chair designed by Eero Saarinen and folding cube radio designed by Richard Sapper

There are examples of houses & interiors that encapsulate the era – less cluttered and designed for modern living.

vintage mid-century modern George Nelson "Spike" wall clock, Tommi Parzinger-designed sideboard and mahogany credenza and aluminium armchair designed by Harvey Probber

A broad array of objects are included, with chapters given over to furniture, lighting, glass, ceramics, metalware & textiles.

collection of vintage mid-century modern glass vases produced by Riihimaki of Finland

In addition, an extensive section covers the people responsible for these wonderful & iconic designs.

collection of vintage mid-century modern fabric

There are about 200 familiar & not so familiar names who are given a short, individual write up.

Mid-Century Modern text

We’ll just scratch the surface by mentioning Arne Jacobsen, Verner Panton, Eero Saarinen, Alvar Aalto, Robert Welch, Stig Lindberg, Lucienne Day, Per Lutken, Charles & Ray Eames.

view of a sitting room with black Barcelona chairs and sofas

The book is packed with quality, full colour photographic references throughout…

vintage "Valentine" typewriter designed by Ettore Sottsass, Peter and Alison Smithson chair and Ronald Stennett-Wilson green glass candlestick

…and as with all Miller’s guides – estimated values to accompany each item image.

vintage mid-century modern Marcel Breuer reclining chair and Holmegaard "Gulvase" designed by Otto Brauer

There’s also a useful directory included of international dealers and their contact details – broken down into categories such as ceramics, glass, furniture, lighting etc.

collection of American-designed vintage mid-century modern furniture

As well as auctions & fairs and museums if you fancy going to see or sometimes handle wares in the flesh.

vintage mid-century modern posters by Saul Bass and Herbert Bayer

The book is well researched and accessible – a perfect coffee table browser or excellent source book for your library.

collection of vintage Scandinavian mid-century modern ceramic pots, vases and plaques

Mid-Century Modern – living with mid-century modern design is available from the publishers Octopus, Amazon and AbeBooks.

collection of vintage Scandinavian mid-century modern ceramics designed by Stig Lindberg

'Mid-Century Modern' by Judith Miller

[Many thanks to Octopus for the review copy]

Typecast

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Vintage 1950s/60s light green moulded plastic toy typewriter | H is for Home

We added this vintage toy typewriter to the H is for Home shop recently. A child’s Mettoy ‘Prefect’, it was one of 3 typewriters that we picked up – all in the same town… all on the same day!

Vintage 1960s 'Lilliput' typewriter | H is for Home Vintage 1960s 'Lilliput' typewriter | H is for Home

In addition to the ‘Mettoy’, we bought this ‘Lilliput’ junior typewriter with its cute tartan carry case…

vintage 1970s electric blue portable Smith Corona designed by Ghia | H is for Home vintage 1970s electric blue portable Smith Corona designed by Ghia | H is for Home

..and finally this absolutely mint electric blue Smith Corona example designed by Ghia – a company more famous for designing cars – Alfa Romeos, Fiats, Volkswagens… and even a Ford Cortina!

vintage 1970s orange Silver Reed 'Silverette' typewriter | H is for Home

We love a nice typewriter. We’ve sold a few others in our web shop – this yellow Silver Reed ‘Silverette’ was a favourite. And the boxed 1950s tin ‘Mettype’ that was snapped up on day 1 of our Child’s Play section launch.

vintage 1950s red tin Mettype typewriter | H is for Home

It’s a shame that first the word processor and then the personal computer brought on the swift demise of the typewriter, however they still have a place in many people’s hearts. Tom Hanks is a famous celebrity collector of typewriters – lugging them home from his travels round the world!

vintage 1970s/80s 'Valentine' typewriter designed by Ettore Sotsass

They’re obviously still usable (we know a good ribbon shop by the way)… and they can look just great on a desk or shelf – especially when they are as gorgeous as this iconic model… the ‘Valentine’ designed by Ettore Sottsass for Olivetti… sheer beauty!