Carlton By Ettore Sottsass

First introduced in 1981, the Carlton Room Divider by Ettore Sottsass Jr and Italian design group Memphis symbolized the style and essence of Italian design in a refreshingly new manner. The Carlton was first produced in 1981 and continues production to the present day. The design group, Memphis, became known for its colourful and depthless laminated plastic and wood designs that offer functionality as well as being part of a postmodern movement. carlton-1 This postmodern display piece enables discussion due to its artistic design nature. The Carlton has a very structured, yet adventurous design with bold and vivid colours and seemingly precariously placed pieces forming unusual shapes. This Memphis design carved the path of signature postmodern functional art pieces that go against the traditional design of a room divider, a bookshelf, or even a dresser; hence, this product has a broader range of use for its owner. The most outstanding thing about the Carlton is its design and bold colour, taking place in a time when postmodernism in art was pretty relevant and going against the grain of society; either with bold instillation pieces or through performance art. carlton-2 The presentation of this design piece set the design principles still used by Memphis today. Some key principles include, emphasis on shape and form, combination of style; mixing ancient with modern, the use of everyday materials such as medium-density fibreboard (MDF) and most importantly a functioning work of art used to encourage discussion due to its controversial design structure. The designer, Ettore Sottsass was seen as the most influential yet unusual designer of his time, enabling him to be part of the Memphis design group and leaving an impact on Italian design. Sottsass designs are carefully structured to form a relationship or tell a story. For instance, the base of the Carlton showcases one of Sottsass’ design pieces from 1978 entitled the Bacterio, used to represent the world of telecommunication, where an object, such as a television, is transformed into a medium to appeal to your visual senses of surface. The Carlton is considered multi-functional and versatile, as it can easily be deconstructed, where each piece represents meaningful symbolism, making this product unique. carlton-3 In 1985, not long after the success of this product, Sottsass left the design group Memphis as he believed the products and the group started to represent commercial success. Whether you agree or disagree, this eccentric and functional piece of art can be quite a conversation-starter for your home. For more information, check out

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