In the mid-60s, the Swedish artist Holger Bäckström met engineer and mathematician Bo Ljungberg, and the duo formed Beck & Jung, a studio aimed at combining their respective professions to create both data-driven artworks and algorithmically generated objects that were practical and beautiful at the same time. First they experimented with transforming binary codes into three-dimensional cubes that were used to test color inkjet printers, but were also sold as art; later they turned their computer-generated geometries into murals and other large-scale graphic works that adorned buildings and were shown in museums.
Their most famous design? The 1970s Ultima Ashtray, whose grid-like lid allowed users to easily rest rolled smokes of all shapes and sizes between its grooves, while trapping unsightly ash inside the container below. The Ultima Collection has been out of production for decades, but we recently managed to get our hands on a stash of original — yet never-before used — Medium ashtrays, which are pictured above and are now available in our store. But they definitely won't last forever, so click here to purchase yours ($100)... before our supply goes up in smoke.
Image at top by Jonathan Hokklo; image of original Ultima Collection, below, courtesy of ultima15.com