German industrial designer Richard Sapper died New Year’s Eve at the age of 83.
He created all manner of products, from household goods to cars, but is best known for being the chief industrial design consultant for IBM and masterminding the first ThinkPad in 1992.
Along with longtime collaborator Marco Zanuso, Sapper experimented with new materials and fabrication techniques, such as the stackable K 1340 chair from Kartell that’s made entirely from polypropylene and the Lambda chair produced from stamped metal.
During the ’60s and ’70s, Sapper worked at Brionvega, a Italian company known for slick home electronics, many of which are in the Museum of Modern Art.
The Tizio lamp for Artemide was an immediate classic when when it was released in 1972—it employs a counterweight system to make it easier for users to adjust the light’s direction, a halogen bulb, and no exposed wires. Over two million lamps have been produced since then.
Sapper also created a whistling tea kettle for Alessi the first in the manufacturer’s line of designer kettles.
The designer’s career was remarkably prolific, but he had one major regret – turning down Steve Jobs’ invitation to work at Apple.