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7 innovatives on Ettore Sottsass, the genius who designed the ‘8 0s

( CNN) In the 1980 s and early 1990 s, garish whirl graphics and colorful geometric figures regulated American TV screens, department stores and high school playgrounds.

But they were all taking cues from one progressive Italian decorator and architect: Ettore Sottsass.

Sottsass’ short-lived collective, Memphis, was made up of about two dozen Italian inventives. As well as luring the attention of high-profile collectors, including Karl Lagerfeld and David Bowie, the group’s wildly stacked bricks and zig-zag motifs stimulated the mainstream decorators who characterized the esthetic of an rosy age.

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