The Italian architect and designer Ettore Sottsass was, as the saying goes, a true Renaissance man. He designed work in many mediums over the course of his long career. One was hand-blown glass, a medium that charmed him with its brilliance and colour. He wrote that, unlike a paper cup, a crystal goblet ‘has no taste and is fragile, so you know from the beginning that your relationship with this object will have a ritualistic aspect.’

Though he had great respect for traditional glass-blowing, Sottsass departed from its usual methods in surprising ways. He used adhesives and wire to put his pieces together and introduced striking angles. The resulting objects are abstract totems – spiritual, rather than functional, vessels.


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