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Umang Shah

Brooklyn, NY, United States

Designer (architecture)

Member since May 22, 2007

  • Salvador Dali and the Air India Ashtray

    Arts & Culture, Industrial Design


    For those that are not aware, Air India had actually employed the services of the famous "Surrealist" painter Salvador Dali. He was commissioned to design an ashtray that was given to lucky passengers.

    Imagine going down to your adventurous traveling, grandmother's basement and finding this relic alongside a snake charming flute? It apparently can fetch $800-1200+.

    It is a funky design and one that I wouldn't look at twice, but hey it was designed in a limited addition by a famous artist and I would be the first in line at the, "Antique Road Show".

    Source: ebay, Jan. 2003 "The ashtray is approximately 4" x 3" across and 2 1/2" tall. Ashtray is mostly unglazed porcelain with a glazed serpent around the lip of the ashtray. From the booklet that accompanied it:"

    "The ashtray is composed of a shell-shaped centre with a serpent twined around its perimeter. It is supported by two surrealist elephant-heads and a swan. These supports are based on Dali´s double-image effect. The master explains: "The reflection of an elephant´s head looks like a swan and the reflection of a swan appears to be an elephant. This is what I have done for the ashtray. The swan up-side-down becomes an elephant´s head and the elephant inverted - a swan."

    It is the first time that an artist of such world stature has designed an "objet d´art" for an airline. And we at Air-India are honoured and delighted to be able to present this most unusual ashtray to you."

    I guess we should be angry that they have stopped serving peanuts on some airlines. If airlines went retro and played off the idea of airline travel being glamorous, we might not be so disgruntled when our flights were delayed.

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all over the place

Contact Umang Shah
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My Interests

  • Industrial Design
  • Environmental Design
  • Communication Design
  • Fashion Design
  • Audio/Visual Design