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"Ashoka" Table Lamp

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Designed by Ettore Sottsass (1917-2007), Produced by Memphis, Milan1981Milanvarnished metalH 87 cm; W 75 cm

It was his industrial designs for companies, such as those he designed for Olivetti in 1958, that made Ettore Sottsass famous. However, it was with the Memphis group, he conceived Anti-Design, a design movement with a focus on collage and decoration. No commissions, no commerce, instead they created products for living that were far removed from a traditional notion of design: unusual shapes, loud colours and brash patterns. The shrill-multicoloured objects, including this table lamp entitled “Ashoka”, were supposed to be experienced by multiple senses even that of touch, rather than just used in the traditional sense. They provided a provocative response to the “smooth” designs of the time. Today, Sottsass is considered one of the most important designers.