The Tahiti lamp by Sottsass: mass-made poetry

Ettore Sottsass, Tahiti Lamp. Memphis, 1981

The authors of “100 oggetti del design italiano. Collezione permanente del design italiano. La Triennale di Milano” (Gangemi Editore), describe the Tahiti model created by Ettore Sottsass in 1981 as “a zoomorphic lamp”, because its profile resembles “a small bird with a long beak”.

Sottsass designed it for Memphis, “mixing primary geometric shapes (the base is a white cuboid, decorated with a pattern of black bacteria-like squiggles; the shaft is another yellow cuboid; the top is a pink cylinder; another red cuboid forms the beak…), assembled in a way that transforms their rigid abstract quality into the hint of something organic, playful, and exotic.”

The Tahiti lamp is one of those objects “that carry memories, feelings, emotions,” whose value is in the message they convey “more than the in the function they carry out.” One of the fortunate design products that “reconcile industrial production with art and poetry.”

October 1, 2015