On New year’s Eve, Milan-based industrial designer Richard Sapper died aged 83. We asked to designers, editors and entrepreneurs based in Sapper’s beloved city to share a memory or leave a comment about his relevant contribution to contemporary design.
RELATED STORY: read more about Richard Sapper’s work on ArchiPanic…
“An exquisite and brilliant designer: German magic with Italian magic, a very special formula” says to ArchiPanic designer Alessandro Mendini. “His works were inspired by the microtechnology of his objects. He use to draw everything, from screws and single components to the machines that produced the final design”.
“I remember a workshop at the I.D.Z. of Berlin a long time ago. With us also Hollein, Wewerka, Sottsass and Castiglioni. We were challenged to design tableware. Sapper was very happy and he ironically designed a technologic-fork that would spin on itslef to collect spaghetti thanks to a battery placed in the handle. We actually used it and tested it. It was fun!”
“Richard Sapper was a great visionary and a great friend as well. Together we challenged the sea and discovered new perspectives” says to ArchiPanic Ernesto Gismondi, founder and president of Italian company Artemide. “A genius of design culture and project, he wrote an important page on our history and in the history of lighting design”.
The German-born designer collaborated with Artemide on many projects. The most iconic piece was the Tizio Lamp, designed in 1972 and now exhibited also at the MoMA of New York.
Gilda Bojardi, editor of architecture and design magazine INTERNI says to ArchiPanic: “Bikes and chairs, espresso makers and kinves, clocks and radios, furnitures and cookware, scooters, lamps and cars. It’s hard to find a type of object that Sapper didn’t explore. His legacy is in the culture of the project. A message with an aesthetical rigour that matches the emotional value of objects. Sapper’s work speaks out what Dino Gavina once said: “modern is what is worthy to became antique”.
Luciano Galimberti, president of ADI – Italian Association for Industrial Design, says to ArchiPanic: “Richard Sapper’s work shows how a design conceived with technical intelligence can respond to the evolution of the taste and needs of end users. The designer managed to transform his intuitive and technical skills in a method that allowed him to foresee and create innovative and high-performing solutions”.
Richard Sapper was bestowed with 11 Compasso d’Oro the Italian most important design award that ADI confers every year to the most innovative designers, products and brands.
In an interview, Alberto Alessi remembers the genesis of the iconic espresso maker that Sapper designed in 1978. “It was our first kitcheware project. Knowing that the project was quite complexed we thought we needed a designer with a technological culture: Richard Sapper”.
“We first met in 1977, initially he ventured in very difficult solutions. The project was very challenging for our tech-team, but at the end the result was perfectly designed in every single detail. I believe Richard Sapper corresponds to Ulm theory: the true Designer must have technological know-how”.
Nina Yashar, owner of Nilufar Gallery says “Richard Sapper has been one of the most important designers form the ‘60s until now. A foreigner, like myself, who lived most of his life in Milan, and fell in love with his industrious and multifaceted liveliness. His neat and minimal style never shaded a creative and always unexpected flair.
His design was never unnecessay, redundant od excessive, He alway tried to imbue every project with life, highliting shapes with mastery and technical innovation. He had passion for technology and all things that aren’t just design. He always tried to look beyond limits and to find new ways of expression and use”.
“I met Richard Sapper throguh Marco Zanuso whit whom he developed many design projects” says architect Marco Albini, president of Fondazione Franco Albini, Milan cultural institution dedicated to preserve and extend the legacy of Franco Albini. “He was a quite shy person. Not many words, but few precise and effective ones. Tall, thin and with a strong german accent… He somehow looked the opposite of Zanuso who was ironic, sharp and exuberant”
“Back in the studio, Sapper carried out a diligent research work as Le Corbusier would had expected. He kept refining his ideas until they were encased in a design that didn’t necessarily have show off technology” adds Marco Albini. Richard Sapper and Marco Zanuso worked together in many iconic designs including the TS-505 portable speaker and the Algol television for Brionvega.