Artemide Tizio

Wine glass photo

The lamp is behind the wine glass.

There aren't that many brilliant designs for desk lamps but the Artemide Tizio certainly is one of them. My mum had one of them since the 1980s and a few years back I also got one as a birthday present.

In both design and engineering this lamp is brilliant, even if it takes a moment to appreciate that. It uses a halogen lamp which needs a transformer. That transformer is in the foot the lamp stands on, meaning that it isn't in the way and at the same time provides its weight to give the lamp a solid stand.

The lamp can be rotated around the stand and rotated about two further axes which gives it a high degree of flexibility in terms of positioning. All of the lamp's structure is made of thin metal sticks and yet these contain the wiring. 

The little red switch at the base not only is an easy to spot and to understand thing, it also gives you two levels of power to choose from.

The historic development of the lamp is interesting and shows recent safety trends. The current models come with two extra security features to keep you from burning yourself or your desk at the rather hot light bulb: First there is a glass window beneath the bulb to make sure you can’t touch the bulb. And second they introduced a little stick in the lamp's head which prevents it from coming closer than 10cm or so to the next surface.

The problem with that is that the stick doesn't exactly look great, doesn't improve the lamp otherwise and it casts a shadow on your desk. So essentially it is just an annoying extra. Luckily it can easily be removed by opening the lamp's head.

Unfortunately my Tizio isn't without problems: The rotation around the base isn't as smooth as it should be. With my desk’s surface being quite smooth I often end up rotating the lamp's base on the desk rather than in itself. More gravely, the lamp occasionally flickers. I don't know what's wrong there. And once more this doesn't happen all the time, so sending the lamp in for that seemed tricky again. Usually shaking the lamp a little resolves the problem for a while. But it's far from perfect and doesn't exactly look like good manufacturing.