Property of the week: a colourful Hawaiian retreat by Memphis-founder Ettore Sottsass

Domestic rebellion

Memphis-founder Ettore Sottsass had a prolific career and is best known for his colourful and rebellious furniture designs. But he was also an accomplished architect who built just a handful of homes, including Hawaii’s Casa Olabuenaga – on the market for the first time ever.

Ettore Sottsass' Casa Olabuenaga in Hawaii
Via Sotheby’s International Realty

Completed in 1997, towards the ends of the designer’s life, the hilltop three-bedroom home comprises a series of cheerful, interconnected geometric volumes in red, green, black and yellow.

Like all of his work, the Hawaiian property flies in the face of modernism’s functionalist doctrine. ‘When I was young, all we ever heard about was functionalism, functionalism, functionalism,’ Ettore Sottsass once said. ‘It’s not enough. Design should also be sensual and exciting.’

Floor-to-ceiling glass frames views across Haleakala and the Kula district, but there’s also plenty to gaze at inside the Hawaiian home – on the market with Sotheby’s International Realty for $9.8m. Subway tiles, Romanesque arches and tall pillars continue the geometric wizardry across the ground floor, while the kitchen is a riot of colour with green, yellow and orange cabinetry.

Ettore Sottsass' Casa Olabuenaga in Hawaii
Via Sotheby’s International Realty

Sottsass painstakingly devised every element of the gesamtkunstwerk including its bold furniture, door handles and even the crockery. The postmodernist designer also planned its permaculture gardens, which have been faithfully maintained exactly to his vision.

Ettore Sottsass' Casa Olabuenaga in Hawaii
Via Sotheby’s International Realty
Ettore Sottsass' Casa Olabuenaga in Hawaii
Via Sotheby’s International Realty
Ettore Sottsass' Casa Olabuenaga in Hawaii
Sotheby’s International Realty

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