Ettore Sottsass-Carlton room divider


Museum Art Response
?Carlton? room divider was published in 1981 by the famous Ettore Sottsass and his designer crew known as Memphis. The crew Memphis is located in Italy where Ettore Sottsass spends most of his time creating art pieces. Memphis?s artwork focuses on creating nonconformist furniture. Carlton room divider is made of multicolored plastic laminates over wood and designed in postmodern style. The artwork consist of a large, freestanding, shelf system on a raised rectangular pedestal base with two drawers in the lower section, three horizontal shelves of varying length and a series of angled and vertical designs and supports. A collection of all the different sized and angled pieces gives a sense of rules being broken giving more interest to the viewer. The upper section constructed in the form of an anthropomorphic stick type figure with a cubic open box forming the design apex. The colored laminates used consist of a base in black and white speckled pattern, brown, black, red, dark blue, orange, pink, light blue, coral, lime green, primrose, dark grey and light grey. Strangely I observed manufacturer's marks inscribed on small rectangular aluminum plate located on the lower back panel of the base, printed, ?MEMPHIS / MADE IN ITALY / MILANO / ETTORE SOTTSASS / 1981. The art piece is approximately 6 feet tall and 5.5 feet wide. The tallness of the object gives a sense of intimidation since the majority of art pieces at the Dallas Art Museum weren?t as big. When trying to find out the depth of the object I used my shoe as a measuring tool. I came to the conclusion that the art piece was about a foot and a half in depth. When examining the texture of the piece of art I instantly realized that the material used wasn?t a fine form of differently covered wood. Instead it consisted of cheap colored laminates.

The first design element I will be focusing on is color. Sottass did an amazing job at using the abstract colors that offers a sensory experience which the physical world doesn?t offer. This abstract object gave me a very dramatic feel that became overwhelming if looked at too long. Although it became overwhelming I thoroughly stilled enjoyed the colors used. The piece could easily fit in well with a house that has many abstract colors paired together. When comparing this art with the outside world and the colors involved in the physical realm I realized that grasping the opportunity of using abstract colors can be very difficult. This thought allowed me to better understand why she decided to choose cheap colored laminates. When I had a sense of being overwhelmed the light blue and dark blue used gave a calming effect which I deeply appreciated.
After going into detail about the element of color I will begin to explain the uses that this artwork offers. Sottsass?s bookcase is about ideas. It is paradoxical. She uses cheap industrial materials combined with vivid color (red, green), and ornament (the speckled base) to create an object that is about both the banality and the excitement of the mass popular culture environment of the shopping mall and the Las Vegas strip. On one hand, Carlton is tacky. On the other hand, it is cheerful. On one hand, it is cheaply made. On the other, it was an expensive luxury object purchased only by design collectors. There are so many perspectives. The artwork can be used for many purposes such as holding your favorite collection of books or to hold up other smaller pieces of artwork. A shelf has a vast amount of uses in our everyday lives. Going in detail could take years but all the options a shelf has to offer are what interest me about the specific element of design.

After spending much time trying to determine what the author?s purpose was behind the piece of art I finally came to a conclusion. This type of design object is about presentation in a photograph. Sottsass knew that Carleton and other wacky postmodern objects wouldn?t be mass produced, but he did know that they?d catch attention and spread in photographs. I felt he was fully aware that his popularity could take this piece of art in the form of a photograph and spread the designer?s idea. As I mentioned before, he focused on