A seminal figure in 20th-century design, the Italian architect and designer Ettore Sottsass (1917–2007) created a vast body of work during his six-decade career, including works in polychromatic glass that stage a radical intervention into this quintessentially Italian craft.

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.

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.’

Displayed on historic furniture in the Great Chamber, they connect to the abundant glass in the space and exemplify the inventive approach that many contemporary designers have taken to historic crafts.

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