Ettore Sottsass (1917–2007) was one of the leading figures in Italian design in the second half of the 20th century, and became one of the most successful product designers worldwide. Trained as an architect, an activity to which he only returned late in life, he put his stamp on lifestyle for decades. He worked for well-known companies such as Olivetti, Poltronova and Alessi, but his particular predilection for ceramics has not received the attention it deserves. Clay for him was the most basic of materials; to start with he used it for craft works, before applying it on an industrial scale. The importance of ceramics for Sottsass found its expression in numerous quite personal articles which he wrote for various periodicals. The present publicat ion, which accompanies a special exhibition in the Hetjens Museum, Deutsches Keramikmuseum in Düsseldorf, uses selected examples to present, for the first time, a general overview of Sottsass’s work in ceramics, which was created over a period of fifty years and comprises more than 900 designs. The illustrated pieces, dating from all the periods of his creative life, have been newly photographed, while essays by experts in the field place the ceramics in the context of the designer’s total oeuvre as well as in that of international design in the 20th century.