Born in Innsbruck in 1917, Ettore Sottsass jr. earned his degree in architecture from the Politecnico di Torino in 1939.
In 1946, he began his career at the magazine "Domus," and two years later, in 1947, he established his own architecture and design firm in Milan.
After joining Olivetti as a consultant in 1958, he went on to win four Compasso d'Oro awards for his work there. For twenty years beginning in 1967, he served as art director at Poltronova in Agliana.
During that time, he designed a number of products for the company, including the Mobili Grigi and Ultrafragola collections shown at Eurodomus in 1970. Young Radical Vanguard like Archizoom Associati, Superstudio, UFO, and Gianni Pettena would all be congregating at Poltronova.
In 1978 and 1979, he was a member of Studio Alchimia, an early example of producer designers created by Alessandro and Adriana Guerriero. In 1981, he established the design studio Memphis and the architectural firm Sottsass Associati alongside Zanini, Thun, Cibic, and Grawunder.
Among the many foreign honors earned in the 1990s was a title of "Honorary Doctor" from the London Royal College of Art in 1996. It wasn't long into the new millennium before the prestigious Centro Studi Poltronova for il Design, run by Roberta Meloni, beckoned him back.
It was the tenth anniversary of his death and the centennial of his birth in 2017, therefore major shows were held all over the world in his honor.