Few lighting forms have attracted so much attention – and sold so well – over the years as the Tizio lamp from the lighting design powerhouse of Artemide S.p.A. (Milan (Italy)) founded by Ernesto Gismondi and Sergio Mazza in 1960.
Designed in 1972 by renowned designer, German born but Milan based, Richard Sapper – who’s work with Alessi we have praised before – our previous post Alessi Bollitore kettle – the Tizio desk lamp has received many prestigious international awards – including the highly coveted Compasso d’Oro (Italian design award) – and is part of the permanent exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and of the Museum of Modern Art both in New York.
Sapper, in his early career worked in the styling department of Mercedes Benz, moving to Milan in 1958. So the Tizio really is a very appealing icon of German engineering fused with Italian design. It is constructed of polished or anodised aluminum and thermoplastic with a matte-black, white or grey lacquer finish. Later models – as those in our featured image have a small metal rod with a red-dot handle fitted to enable the lighting head to be moved with ease avoiding the heat of the hood.
Said to have taken his inspiration for the counter-weighted oil drilling “Nodding Donkey” Sapper’s use in the Tizio of the halogen bulb – previously the preserve of the automotive industry – was an ingenious development. Additionally, he used low voltage current conducting arms that eliminated the need for wires.
The Tizio remains one of the best-selling lamps ever produced.
“I designed Tizio because I could not find a suitable work lamp for my own desk….. The result is my ultimate dream task lamp; the Tizio”. (Richard Sapper)
Image credit: Ray Massey