Tizio is a desk lamp created by Richard Sapper for Artemide in 1972. It was selected for the Compasso d’Oro industrial design award in 1979. This iconic item is part of the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and of the Museum of Modern Art.
Sapper claimed that he designed the Tizio lamp because he could not find a work lamp that suited him: “I wanted a small head and long arms; I didn’t want to have to clamp the lamp to the desk because it’s awkward. And I wanted to be able to move it easily.”
From a formal point of view, the Tizio lamp was revolutionary. Black, angled, minimalist, and mysterious, the lamp achieved its real commercial success in the early 1980s, when its sleek look met the Wall Street boom. Found in the residences of the young and successful and in the offices of executives, the lamp has become an icon of high-tech design.
The concept is simple: a desk lamp producing direct and concentrated light, whose base does not take up much space and does not need to be fixed with a clamp, and which is adjustable and lightweight. And the solution found is an ingenious one: a transformer, set at the base, lowers the voltage and powers the bulb through rods and buttons that, as well as having a structural function, act as conductors of the current, eliminating the need for traditional electric wires.
The form is essential: a cylindrical support, two counterweights and a head-reflector with a double wall to keep it cool. Ever since the seventies it has lent an aesthetic touch to offices and prestigious apartments, and even when Artemide found a new bestseller in Michele De Lucchi’s Tolomeo, the iconic aura of Tizio has remained intact, a genuine milestone of the Made in Italy label.
Tizio itself has never gone out of production. Indeed over the years it has been joined by new versions and was for a long time the company’s top-selling item.
With the “Tizio” lamp, Richard Sapper sought to redesign the standard desk lamp, creating one that was completely adjustable and featured a precise and intense yet small light source. After methodical experimentation, Sapper came up with a design wherein the very form of the lamp enabled its function. Using a sensitive counterweight system, the adjustable arm of the lamp can be manipulated into almost any position, allowing the user to direct the light source exactly where it is needed most. The lamp features a halogen bulb, marking one of the first uses of this type of light outside the automobile industry. Directed by its small reflector, the halogen bulb provides a highly concentrated, direct light source, which can be easily adjusted to suit the user.
Richard Sapper (30 May 1932 – 31 December 2015) was a German industrial designer based in Milan, Italy. He is considered one of the most important designers of his generation, his products typically featuring a combination of technical innovation, simplicity of form and an element of wit and surprise. He received numerous international design awards, including 11 prestigious Compasso d’Oro awards and the Raymond Loewy Foundation’s Lucky Strike award. His products are part of the permanent collections of many museums around the world, with over 15 designs represented at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), as well as London’s Victoria and Albert and Design Museums.
Designer: Richard Sapper
Manufacturer: Artemide S.p.A.
Material: aluminium, technopolymer
- Length: cm 78
- Height: cm 66
- Base Diameter: cm 11
- Inclination: -42+42 (°)
- Max Extension Height: cm 119
- Max Extension Length: cm 108