Sapper (1932 – 2015) began his design career in the styling department of Mercedes Benz in Stuttgart, before transferring to Milan in 1958 to work with the architect Gio Ponti and in the design division of “La Rinascente”. In the early 1960s, Sapper began to collaborate with the Italian architect Marco Zanuso. Renowned for their aesthetic of sculptural minimalism, they developed a series of televisions and radios for Brionvega, the lightweight K1340 stacking children’s chair for Kartell and the compact folding Grillo telephone for Siemens/Italtel.
Upon starting his own independent studio in 1959, Sapper designed the Static clock for Lorenz, which won him his first Compasso d’Oro award in 1960. Sapper continued to create design classics including the Tizio lamp for Artemide, designed in 1972, one of the first desk lamps using halogen bulbs with low-voltage current-conducting arms that eliminate the need for wires, for Artemide in 1972. With its essential and linear form and dynamic functionality the Tizio immediately became an icon, a true masterpiece of design. It remains one of the best-selling lamps ever produced to this day and is included in the Permanent Design Collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Richard Sapper has received numerous awards for his products, and his designs are represented in the permanent collections of many museums internationally. In 2012, Sapper received the Merit Cross of the Order of Merit from the President of the Federal Republic of Germany. In 2014, he received the Compasso d’Oro lifetime achievement award from the Associazione Design Industriale ADI.