Drawing for Esprit
Italy, c. 1987
Ettore Sottsass

Pencil on paper
11¾ × 8¼”

Esprit was known not only for their athletic-inspired clothes and iconic logo, but also for their distinctive store designs. Bursting with bright colors, bold patterns, and layered textures, these immersive environments were the work of Italian architect Ettore Sottsass, a frequent Esprit collaborator and founder of the Memphis Design Group. He started the design house in 1980, with the goal of creating objects and structures that protested against the minimalist ideals dominating the period, which Sottsass had become bored with.

He brought together a group of like-minded architects and designers, developing an over-the-top aesthetic that became a signature of the ‘80s. Like Esprit, Sottsass was interested in creating a community around design, and worked with dozens of collaborators through the years. Their influence was visible across the cultural landscape, from Esprit stores to the sets of Beetlejuice and Saved by the Bell, and can still be felt today. —Opening Ceremony

(Photo: Wright)