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Arts of Europe

The MFAH collections of art created on the European continent encompass artistic styles across the time line of history, from the ancient world to the Middle Ages, and the Early Modern era to the 21st century.

Italian, 1917 - 2007
Flying Carpet
Stained beechwood, stretch-jersey fabric, velvet, and carpeting

25 ½ x 42 ½ x 71 ¼ inches

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Museum purchase with funds provided by the
Caroline Wiess Law Accessions Endowment Fund

Arts of Europe

The exotic, mystical world that architect and designer Ettore Sottsass found on a journey to India inspired his Flying Carpet. The design evokes rituals, metaphysical presence, and wonder. The chair is a fanciful creation whose elemental parts are a series of geometric volumes that are enhanced by a dramatic use of primal color and pattern.

Sottsass sought alternative experiences in India: He aimed to find “a culture of origins” that would ground him and reorient his design philosophy. He credits India with reinforcing for him the power of iconography and the connections objects have with their historical origin. The monuments and spiritual icons he saw there had a significant impact on his designs of the early 1970s. Flying Carpet also owes a debt to Pop Art, a movement that interested Sottsass in terms of both aesthetics and mass appeal.