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Artemide Tizio 50 Desk Lamp

Materials: Round black ABS plastic base with a red built-in switch and a transformer inside. Black painted aluminium rods. Black painted counterweights. Parallelogram lampshade. Porcelain halogen socket.

Height: 108 cm / 42.51”

Width: 11 cm / 4.33”

Electricity: Halogen bulb 12 volt. Maximum 55 Watt, 110/220 Volt. Switch with two settings, high and low (6 and 12 volt).

Period: 1970s – Mid-Century Modern.

Designer: Richard Sapper (1932 – 2015).

Manufacturer: Artemide S.p.A., Pregnana Milanese, near Milan, Italy.

Other versions: The smaller version of the Tizio is the “Tizio 35“. The floor lamp version is named “Tizio Terra 50. These lamps are still in production and all spare parts are for sale.

They were made with or without a small handle on the lampshade. It depends on the period the were produced. The don’t appear with it in catalogues. Lamps from the 90s have it, but also early ones. Also a version with a dimmer exists.

This desk lamp was designed in 1971 and went in production in 1972. You can find it in the Artemide catalogue from 1973 here on Vintageinfo. Also in the Artemide catalogue from 1976.

The Tizio 50 can be placed in any position one desires. Its two counter-weights will always keep this desk lamp in balance. The electricity runs from the base, true the metal arms, to the light source. So there is no cord visible, other than the one that runs from the base to the electrical socket. This was quite ground-breaking at the time this desk lamp was designed. It is absolutely not dangerous. The light transforms its power to very low voltage in the base (12 volt).

The Tizio desk lamp received several awards:

Gold Medal Triennale XV 1974
Prize Grand Prix Triennale XV 1974
Selection Compasso d’Oro 1979
Gold Medal at Bio 9 Ljubljana 1981

Richard Sapper

Richard Sapper (30 May 1932 – 31 December 2015) was a German industrial designer. After pursuing courses in philosophy, anatomy, and engineering, he graduated with a business degree from the University of Munich.

He is considered one of the most important designers of his generation. His products typically feature a combination of technical innovation, simplicity of form and an element of wit and surprise. Sapper received many international design awards. His products are part of the permanent collections of many museums around the world. The New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), as well as London’s V& A, the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Richard Sapper claimed that he designed the Tizio desk lamp because he could not find a work lamp that suited him. “I wanted a small head and long arms; I didn’t want to have to clamp the lamp to the desk because it’s awkward. And I wanted to be able to move it easily.”


The Artemide Group is based in Pregnana Milanese, Italy. It was founded in 1960 by Ernesto Gismondi. The company is best known for the Tizio desk lamp designed by Richard Sapper. The Tolomeo desk lamp designed by Michele De Lucchi and Giancarlo Fassina in 1986 and many other beautiful lamps en furniture they produced over the years. Their products are distributed in 98 countries (2019). Many awarded designs were created. Several of the first designs are still in production.

Designers who have collaborated with the company include Vico MagistrettiMario Botta. Sir Norman Foster, Ettore Sottsass, Enzo Mari, Neil Poulton. Karim Rashid, Giò Ponti and many others.

Lamps in the movies!

The Artemide Tizio 50 desk lamp was used as a prop in the 2017 legal drama film Roman J. Israel, Esq. A movie written and directed by Dan Gilroy. Starring Denzel WashingtonColin Farrell, and Carmen Ejogo.

Artemide Tizio 50 Desk Lamp used as a prop in the film Roman J. Israel, Esq. (2017) Lamps in the movies

The Artemide Tizio 50 desk lamp was used as a prop in the 1981 French action film Le Professionnel (The Professional). A movie directed by Georges Lautner. Starring Jean-Paul Belmondo as secret agent Josselin Beaumont. The soundtrack was composed by Ennio Morricone.

Artemide Tizio 50 desk lamp used as a prop in the French film Le Professionnel from 1981

The Artemide Tizio 50 desk lamp  – 1995 publicuty, with the small handle on the lampshade.

Artemide Tizio 50 Desk Lamp - 1995 publicity design: Richard Sapper 1971