Important and unique coffee table with integrated bookshelves, from the architect's own apartment, Milan

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  • Provenance

    Ettore Sottsass, Jr. and Fernanda Pivano, Via Bernardino Luini 7, Milan, circa 1949
    Gifted from the above to the present owner

  • Literature

    'Forme, arredamenti, oggetti', Domus, no. 279, February 1953, illustrated pp. 32-33

  • Catalogue Essay

    Ettore Sottsass - The First Apartment

    Ettore Sottsass, Jr. designed the present coffee table for the living room of his first apartment in Milan. The architect moved to the apartment in October 1949 following his marriage to Fernanda Pivano, a well-known Italian intellectual and writer. A few years later, the living room was published in an article in Domus, alongside photographs of the interior taken by Sottsass himself, now held in the Bibliothèque Kandinsky, Centre Pompidou, Paris. The photographs illustrate a compact, minimal space, and clarify the integrated, asymmetrical design of the present table. A light wooden structure with fir posts supporting red-painted beams delineates a section of the living room. Within this micro domestic space, the coffee table, painted using the same carmine red, was the central focus. The table’s varied sides related to the surrounding furniture, including a set of yellow-painted plywood chairs oriented toward its integrated bookshelves; a sofa positioned in front of the overhang of the table top; and the opposite side without an overhang facing a wall-mounted bookcase. The small environment was dismantled in 1954, when Sottsass and Pivano moved to a new apartment, for which the architect would design their next interior.

    Arch. Milco Carboni

109

Important and unique coffee table with integrated bookshelves, from the architect's own apartment, Milan

circa 1949
Painted wood.
49.4 x 127.6 x 106.7 cm (19 1/2 x 50 1/4 x 42 in.)
Underside with paper label inscribed in blue pencil Arch./Ettore Sottsass jr./Via Bernardino Luini 7/Milano.

Estimate
£15,000 - 20,000 

sold for £30,000

Contact Specialist
Antonia King
Interim Head of Sale
+44 20 7901 7944
antonia.king@phillips.com

Design

London Auction 17 October 2019