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Artemide celebrates Tizio’s 50th anniversary

5 September 2022

Artemide celebrates Tizio’s 50th anniversary with a special version in Richard Sapper‘s favourite red. Tizio is not only a masterpiece of Artemide collection but also an icon of Italian design. Designed 50 years ago, it is still absolutely contemporary also thanks to a new integrated LED source. An elegant synthesis of intelligent components elaborated by Richard Sapper has created a timeless product.

“When we presented it, there was nothing like it on the market, it was revolutionary. Tizio is beautiful in any different position, it is a harmonious object in all its parts, you move it with one hand and it is always extremely precise. It is not that we don’t change anything over the years because we can’t, we don’t change anything because that’s the way it is.”

Ernesto Gismondi, 2014


“Tizio lamp came to be due to a personal need. While I work or read, I like the light to fall only on the sheet of paper in front of me, leaving the rest of the room in dim light. I feel less disturbed and I can focus more in a room that is not lit evenly. To obtain this type of light, the reflector needs to be help up close to the paper; a normal reflector with a conventional light bulb would create a great big bulky presence near my head. So, I decided to opt for a small, lightweight halogen lamp, which only needs a small, lightweight reflector.

I also wanted a table lamp that could be adjusted at the touch of a finger and that would never fall onto the table because of worn joints. To this end, I couldn’t use the usual construction of parallelogram arms and compensation springs that need to be secured to the table – which is inconvenient – or I would have had to compromise on a sufficient range of action which, at least for me, is inconvenient, since I have no room for the lamp to be positioned near me on the desk as I keep my desk surface quite cluttered by nature. The best solution to these issues seemed to me to be a lamp with articulated design that is always perfectly balanced thanks to the counterweights: this way the friction of the articulation points can be reduced to compensate solely for the production tolerances; this means the most complete mobility is guaranteed.

To achieve this, any disturbance of the balance system must be avoided: this excludes the cables for the current transmission, but in a low voltage lamp the arms themselves are perfect conductors. There were two difficulties in our way: since every pair of joints is based on the next one as a system, each counterweight has to balance all parts of the following construction: for the range of action required, all the construction elements had to be as light as possible to avoid the lamp being too heavy overall. Similarly, the entire luminaire had to avoid being too fragile. The joints on the one hand needed to transmit the current, but on the other they had to offer minimal friction, which however during the life of the lamp had to stay at the original value. The solution to both problems was found by using standard snap buttons as joints: they are cheap, they conduct current, they open under effort and therefore make up predetermined points of rupture for the lamp; what’s more, they contain a spring ring, which pose a small yet invariable resistance to rotation.

The reflector on the other hand took time. Since it becomes extremely hot, it had to be insulated properly yet with minimal weight loss. I decided on a double wall construction with air cooling via convection in the intermediate space. A prototype demonstrated the exactness of the considerations made. I monitored some of the work on the shapes of the counterweights, then the lamp was ready to be prepared for production.”

Richard Sapper



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