"Murmansk" Fruit Dish

Designer: Ettore Sottsass (Italian (born Austria), Innsbruck 1917–2007 Milan)

Manufacturer: Rossi e Arcandi, Vicenza

Date: 1982

Medium: Silver

Dimensions: H. 12, Diam. 13-7/8 in. (30.5 x 30.5 cm)

Classification: Metalwork-Silver

Credit Line: Gift of Ronald S. Kane, 1992

Accession Number: 1992.216.1a, b


Produced for Memphis, this centerpiece is an example of Sottsass’s designs that engage the user. Is Murmansk a reference to the city in Russia? Are the zigzag columns a reference to Russian steppes? Or is the manipulation of the silver simply a subversion of a traditional columnar form? The refraction of light permitted by the zigzag forms distorts the reflected images in the manner of a fun-house mirror, elevating the fruit bowl to the iconic status of Pop art.