The Year in Visual Culture
This example travelled with the Memphis exhibition to most venues from Memphis, Tennessee to the Cooper Hewitt in New York City. It was also displayed in the Grace Designs showroom and has remained in our founders collection. It is in truly remarkable condition despite its travels over the last thirty-plus years. Some minor knicks or scratches and it has a bit of forward/backward motion as it has from the beginning, due to the way the various metal parts are stacked up. Original electrical parts are intact. Lights currently work intermittently, although we have all the original specifications and details if repair is requested. Currently have kept the lamp in original condition. Stamped with number 13 on metal tag on bottom of lamp. Ashoka is included in numerous international museum collections including the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
The Ashoka illustrates Ettore Sottsass' eagerness to play with the conventions of lighting. He foregoes the lampshade entirely and puts the bulbs out on display, like carnival lighting. Below is an image of the original drawing for the lamp clearly highlighting Sottsass' totemic design language, both symbolic and anthropomorphic. An exuberant and unapologetic masterwork. One of our longtime favorites and a true museum example.
Series: Metal Identification Tag on bottom marked #13
Signature: Metal Identification Tag on bottom marked #13
Image rights: The Modern Archive
U.S. Memphis traveling exhibition at ten venues from Memphis,TN to NYC's Cooper Hewitt Museum
Included in Memphis: Research, Experiences, Results, Failures and Successes of New Design by Barbara Radice
An Italian architect and designer known for his large oeuvre including furniture, jewelry, glass, lighting, and office design, Ettore Sottsass was also the founder in the early 1980s of the Memphis Group. Drawing inspiration from such movements as Art Deco and Pop Art, Memphis produced and exhibited furniture and objects that were vibrant in color and futuristic in design. Sottsass’ own work was known for its variety, oftentimes incorporating playfulness through ornamentation and color. His Olivetti typewriter (1969), one of his most celebrated designs, made of bright red-orange plastic, was a Pop phenom in both its functionality and innovative design. His architecture and design career spanned many decades and styles.
Italian, 1917-2007, Innsbruck, Austria, based in Milan, Italy
The Year in Visual Culture
How a Revolution in “Ugly” Design Is Upending Conventions of Beauty
What You Need to Know about Memphis Design Pioneer Ettore Sottsass