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AROUND HOME : Sottsass Associates : ESSAYS BY ETTORE SOTTSASS, HERBERT MUSCHAMP, JEAN PIGOZZI, BARBARA RADICE, PHILIPPE THOME, DOUG TOMPKINS, LUCIANO TORRI AND MARCO ZANINI (Rizzoli International Publications; 1989)

RIDING THE CREST of Italian new-wave design that, for the last decade, has been colorfully and irreverently mixing punk and postmodernist styles under the code name Memphis has been Ettore Sottsass and his merry band of youthful associates. Included here are a selection of designs by the Milan-based firm for a variety of nightclubs, restaurants, showrooms and residences, interspersed by essays, some of which put the efforts into perspective. Others just ramble like chatty letters among friends. The discursive designs sparkle, reflecting the firm’s penchant for playing colors, shapes, materials and styles against one another to create dramatic assemblages, particularly in the interiors of shops. Though some of the designs appear strained, they never bore. The total is presented in a wealth of excellent illustrations, weakened somewhat by an awkward book design that just might have been deliberate, consistent with the challenging spirit of Sottsass. (hard-cover $50; paperback $35)


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