Richard Sapper


Richard Sapper, born 1932 in Munich, is a German industrial designer based in Milan, Italy. He is considered one of the most iconic designers of his generation, his products typically featuring a combination of technical innovation, simplicity of form and an element of wit and surprise. [1][2][3] He has received numerous international design awards, including 10 prestigious Compasso d'Oro awards and the Raymond Loewy Foundation's Lucky Strike award. His products are part of the permanent collections of many museums around the world, with over 15 represented at New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), as well as London's Victoria and Albert and Design Museums. [1][2][3]
After beginning as a designer in the styling department at Mercedes-Benz, Sapper relocated to Milan in 1958 where he initially joined the offices of architect Gio Ponti and subsequently the design department of La Rinascente. In 1959 he partnered with Italian architect and designer Marco Zanuso, a collaboration that would last on and off for 18 years until 1977. [2][4] The pair were hired in 1959 as consultants to Brionvega, an Italian company trying to produce well-designed electronics that would compete with products manufactured in Japan and Germany. Together they designed a series of radios, televisions and other consumer electronics that became enduring icons.[1][5] Amongst their more notable designs were the rounded, compact and portable Doney 14 (1962), the first television to feature completely transistorized construction, and the radio TS502 (1965), a rectangular box with hinges that upon opening reveals speakers and controls. Using the aesthetic of sculptural minimalism, they created the compact folding Grillo telephone for Siemens and Italtel in 1965. The Grillo was the first telephone featuring the flip-down mouthpiece, a precursor to the clambshell designs of today's mobile phones. [1][2] In 1964, Sapper and Zanuso designed the lightweight K1340 stacking children's chair for Kartell, the first chair produced entirely in plastic. [1][4]