I wrote about the 3D pipes screen saver (Windows 95) and how that connected to surface . Now, I want to write about ‘Ashoka’ by Ettore Sottsass. I think I keep picking works that make me feel nostalgic in a way. This work reminds me of the furniture my grandmother had and the sports equipment we had in the gym at my old school.
''Ashoka'' - Ettore Sottsass
Ashoka is a lamp made in Italy and is connected to the Memphis art group. The name Ashoka, Comes from an ancient Indian emperor who ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent from 268 to 232 BCE. After fighting an insanely destructive war, Ashoka (who’s name means ”painless or ”without sorrow”) converted himself to Buddhism. Connecting to the artwork, H.G Wells wrote in his book The outline of history fittingly: ”… the name of Ashoka shines, and shines, almost alone, a star.” Learn more about Ashoka here.
The work is made by Italian artist and designer Ettore Sottsass. In connection to surface I think this work shows a combination of surfaces that already existed to show a surface of the future. Sottsass was influenced by pop art and the fact that even poor people wore bright colours. When he came back from a trip to India, he was determined to make a new futuristic style of furniture which we now know of as Memphis Group or Ettore Sottsass
The lamp has a lot of movement in its design and looks cheerful and humoristic. This is mostly because of the colours that the Memphis group used. Critics once called it: ‘‘A shotgun-wedding between Fisher-Price and Bauhaus’’. Since the object is a lamp, the light from it is covering all the surrounding surfaces and makes its presence inescapable when it is turned on. The actual surface of the lamp is shiny and plastic looking. This is interesting, because the actual material is painted metal. The lights used in the lamp are E14 light bulbs and halogen up-lights. Interesting is to read about how Sottsass suggests the flow of electricity in it’s design . To quote from the text: ”Consider the Quisisana ceiling lamp, by Ettore Sottsass, from the Memphis collection. It also uses metaphor to suggest the flow of electricity and makes an ostentatious display of mechanics, but it engages users in a broarder argument that expands the idea of function in everyday life.”
Slim – ‘In which the future is superficial’
With its cheeky design and colours, speaking about futures that are made up from a colourful past, this object connects perfectly to the theme Slim. The future is superficial and completely seen in this object. No surprises or unexpected events will happen. The future is just a sum of all things past and this is the prime example of that. When turned on, all the surfaces near the lamp will be covered with the presence of the lights from the future. In my previous text, I wrote about a screensaver that also connects to the theme Slim. Both of these items have an exciting connection since they are so futuristic and they both want to break loose of their surroundings. Ashoka and the screen saver also both create a surface that is futuristic but not practical at all. The forms of both the subjects are here to excite and make for nice design, which shows a superficial, shallow future.