There’s something a bit obsessive about people who collect lamps, though there is something even more obsessive about those who collect Artemide Tolomeo. The original light was designed in 1986 by Michele De Lucchi and Giancarlo Fassina and went on sale in 1987: the Tolomeo has been in continuous – and popular – production ever since.
It’s like a crossover sports shoe, all dorky angles and studied practicality. The lamp has slender stalky arms with a system of hidden springs, cables and tensioners. It can be manipulated endlessly to find the perfect angle – aided by the head, which swivels 360 degrees. The finest movements are possible, and while it finds a natural home in design studios, it is equally comfortable at home.
We have three in our house, though I hope for more. A classic aluminium one in the office, and one for each of the kids, which may seem indulgent but is really an investment – they’ll have these lamps well into adulthood as they progress from child bedside to school desk to, eventually, work station.
Over the years, Artemide has expanded the range from aluminium to include anodised colour and black versions, and options that run from floor to task and a system of ceiling lamps.
The fruitful collaboration with the designers continues: not long ago, Artemide released the Tolomeo Micro Bi-Color desk lamp, with black arms and heads in yellow, red, white and coral. A bright, cheerful update on a modern classic.