Industrial Designer

Richard Sapper is a renowned German industrial designer. Born in 1932, he studied Economics at the University of Munich. By 1956, Sapper was working in the design division of Mercedes Benz. He then went to Milan, where he worked in the practice of Alberto Rosselli and Gio Ponti. He then became a designer in the design division of La Rinascente department stores. From 1958, Sapper worked in the practice of Marco Zanuso, with whom he developed several extremely innovative designs for furnishings, lamps and electrical appliances for Gavina, Kartell and Brionvega. These designs included the Lambda chair of die-cast aluminum, a stackable children's chair of pressure-molded polyethylene, which is the first piece of seat furniture to have been made of this material, the TS502 cult radio, and the Doney, Algol, and Black Box portable televisions. They also created the Grillo telephone. In 1970, Sapper opened a design practice of his own in Stuttgart, and in 1972, he designed the high-tech Tizio work lamp for Artemide, an icon of twentieth century design. Sapper designed numerous objects for Alessi, including Bollitore, a whistling kettle. He also designed products for B&B Italia, Castelli, Tag Heuer, Italora, Knoll International, Telefunken and Unifor. In the 1970s, Sapper was a design consultant to Fiat and Pirelli and, from 1980 to present, to IBM. For IBM, Richard Sapper designed the Thinkpad laptop line. He has been a visiting lecturer at numerous institutions and, since 1986, a professor at Stuttgart Art Academy. Through the creation of the Tizio lamp, Richard Sapper has become a design icon and belongs in the ranks of the most important designers like Eileen Gray, Charles Eames, Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Arne Jacobsen, Marcel Breuer und Wilhelm Wagenfeld. He has received numerous international design awards, including 10 prestigious Compasso d’Oro industrial design awards, and 15 of his products are in New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) collection.