For the introductory 1981 MEMPHIS set, the Ashoka table lamp is an early Ettore Sottsass lighting masterwork as iconoclastic a light/sculpture as you can find anywhere!!
It heralds its namesake “Ashoka the Great” an Indian emperor of the Maurya dynasty, who ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent from around 268-232 BC, with numerous light sources protruding everywhere from side-to-side, almost Buddha-like in its ephemeral scope.
Ettore’s love of India began in the middle of his life when he tried to cure himself of a terminal bacterial disease living there under the Hindi Shaman’s watchful eye. He eventually recovered his full vigour, living a very long life.
The “infinite” possibilities of lighting reflect his support of Buddhist principles in which the essence of life is “illuminated.”
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