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Design Icon: Artemide Tizio Lamp

The award winning Artemide Tizio lamp by Richard Sapper is one of our favorite modern design classics.  As an icon of Italian design, the Tizio Lamp is included in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art.  It is one of the most popular desk lamps ever made with hundreds of thousands sold worldwide!  Tizio was designed by the Italian industrial designer Richard Sapper for Artemide in 1972.  The position and the direction of the bulb can be adjusted; thanks to the sophisticated principle of balanced counterweights. Adjusting it requires little effort. Another important feature is the lack of wires (the two parallel arms are used to conduct electricity to the bulb).  It is perhaps the most celebrated icon of modern lighting since it effortlessly blends function with style.

With the Tizio Lamp, Italian designer Richard Sapper succeeded in redesigning the traditional desk lamp, creating a task lamp that is completely adjustable.  The Artemide Tizio lamp features a very precise and intense yet small light source which makes it a perfect lamp for task lighting in the home or office.  After methodical experimentation, Richard Sapper came up with a ingenious design wherein the very form of the lamp enables its function.  It is often said that the inspiration for the Tizio Lamp came to Richard Sapper after having seen the design of a classic oil pumpjack (see above image).  Bu using a clever counterweight system, the adjustable arm of the Tizio can be manipulated into almost any position, allowing the user to direct the light source exactly where it is needed most.  The arms of the Tizio lamp themselves conduct electricity to the bulb, eliminating the need for extraneous wires and facilitating the precise balance of the arm. 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.

Text and Image Credits: Richard Sapper, Artemide, Lucia Fontana for moderndesign.org