Ettore Sottsass designed the Poupouf armchairs—made of white lacquered wood, foam, and burgundy fabric—for Poltronova in 1970.  This piece is estimated to sell for €8,000 to €12,000 ($9,233 to $13,850).
Courtesy Artcurial Ettore Sottsass designed the Poupouf armchairs—made of white lacquered wood, foam, and burgundy fabric—for Poltronova in 1970. This piece is estimated to sell for €8,000 to €12,000 ($9,233 to $13,850).

Though Ettore Sottsass is best known for his founding of the Memphis Group radical design collective in Italy in the 1980s, he began his career as an architect and designer 30 years prior in Milan. More recently, Sottsass has inspired exhibitions at New York galleries Friedman Benda in 2015 and the Met Breuer last year. But now, 40 of Sottsass’ famously bold designs will be auctioned at Paris-based Artcurial auction house later this month. And before they go up for sale, the designs will also be on display to the public in an exhibition at Artcurial from Oct. 18 to 22.

Ettore Sottsass designed the Carlton bookcase—made of polychrome melamine on wood—for the Memphis Group in 1981. This piece is estimated to sell for €25,000 to €35,000 ($28,739 to $40,234).
Courtesy Artcurial Ettore Sottsass designed the Carlton bookcase—made of polychrome melamine on wood—for the Memphis Group in 1981. This piece is estimated to sell for €25,000 to €35,000 ($28,739 to $40,234).

"Today, Sottsass has become synonymous with 1980s design, however his career started as early as the 1950s with drawings [and] ceramics,” said Emmanuel Bérard, director of the design department at Artcurial in a press release. “His artistic work will also be present in this auction as it permeates the entire body of his work."

Ettore Sottsass designed the Sapho cup with Murano, Italy–based glass manufacturer Toso Vetri d’Arte, for the Memphis Group in 1986. This piece is estimated to sell for €3,000 to €5,000 ($3,463 to $5,771).
Courtesy Artcurial Ettore Sottsass designed the Sapho cup with Murano, Italy–based glass manufacturer Toso Vetri d’Arte, for the Memphis Group in 1986. This piece is estimated to sell for €3,000 to €5,000 ($3,463 to $5,771).

The items are from various periods in Sottsass’ career including his time design consulting for Florence, Italy–based Poltronova and Ivrea, Italy–based electronics manufacturer Olivetti. Works from his time with the Memphis Group and those designed with his eponymous Milan-based architecture firm—which opened in 1980 and continues to operate—are also up for auction.

Ettore Sottsass designed this table clock—with a chrome metal base with screen-printed Murano glass body—for Olivetti in 1965. This piece is estimated to sell for €10,000 to €15,000 ($11,542 to $17,313).
Courtesy Artcurial Ettore Sottsass designed this table clock—with a chrome metal base with screen-printed Murano glass body—for Olivetti in 1965. This piece is estimated to sell for €10,000 to €15,000 ($11,542 to $17,313).

Highlights include the 1970 Poupouf armchairs, estimated to go for €8,000 to €12,000 ($9,233 to $13,850); a 1965 table clock, listed at an estimated price of between €10,000 and €15,000 ($11,542 and $17,313); the 1981 Carlton bookcase and the 1986 Sapho cup—both designed during the Memphis Group era—estimated to sell for €25,000 to €35,000 ($28,739 to $40,234) and €3,000 to €5,000 ($3,463 to $5,771), respectively; and his 2004 pastel drawing Empty Room, estimated to sell for between €6,000 and €8,000 ($6,886 and $9,181).

Ettore Sottsass drew Empty Room—using pastels on paper—in 2004, as part of his personal collection. This piece is estimated to sell for €6,000 to €8,000 ($6,886 to $9,181).
Courtesy Artcurial Ettore Sottsass drew Empty Room—using pastels on paper—in 2004, as part of his personal collection. This piece is estimated to sell for €6,000 to €8,000 ($6,886 to $9,181).

The auction will be held at Artcurial at 7:00 p.m. on Oct. 23.