Richard Sapper

Tizio lamp for Artemide, one of the first desk lamps using halogen bulbs with low-voltage current conducting arms to eliminate the need for wires. The Tizio remains one of the best selling lamps ever produced. Sapper continued to create design classics including the Sapper Office Chair series for Knoll in 1979, a series of stop watches for Heuer in 1976 and the Nena folding chair for B&B Italia in 1984. In 1978 Alessi commissioned Sapper with the first product in a long series to come, the stove-top espresso maker 9090. It was followed, amongst other products, by the two-note whistling water kettle Bollitore in 1984, the Bandung teapot in 1990, the Coban espresso machine in 1997, the cheese grater Todo in 2006 and the Cintura di orione cookware series in 1986 and 2009, conceived with the collaboration of renowned chefs such as Roger Verge, Pierre and Michel Troisgros, and Alain Chapel. In 1980 Sapper was appointed principal industrial design consultant at IBM and began designing numerous portable computers, including the first ThinkPad 700C in 1992, which broke with the company's tradition of pearl-grey machines as a simple and elegant black rectangular box that would reveal a surprise inside: a small red button amidst the keyboard which would serve to control the screen cursor. Sapper continues today to oversee the iconic ThinkPad brand as design consultant to Lenovo after it acquired the IBM PC Division in May 2005. Throughout his career, Sapper devoted great attention to transportation issues. He worked with Fiat on experimental cars, especially on pneumatic bumper systems, and with Pirelli on the development of pneumatic structures. In 1972 he formed with architect Gae Aulenti a study group for the development of new urban transportation systems, a theme which he pursued further for an exhibition at the XVI Triennale in Milan in 1979 and which included the design of a bus for Fiat that enabled passengers to stow their bicycles in a rack. His research culminated with the design of the Zoombike (no longer in production), a lightweight bicycle designed with aircraft technology to achieve the required strength and speed acceleration, which can fold as quickly and simply as an umbrella and easily fit into a car trunk. Sapper's roster of clients include Alessi, Artemide, B&B Italia, Castelli, Heuer, IBM, Kartell, Knoll International, Lenovo, Lorenz, Magis, Molteni Unifor, Pirelli. Sapper has taught and lectured at Yale University, the Kunstakademie Stuttgart, the University of Beijing, the Royal College of Art in London, the Domus Academy in Milan, the University of Buenos Aires, and the Hochschule fuer Angewandte Kunst in Vienna. Sapper is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in England and a Member of the Akademie der Kuenste in Germany. The German Design Council awarded Sapper a lifetime achievement award for his design work in 2009 and he was bestowed an Honorary Doctor degree from the University of North Carolina in 2010.