Sapper™ Management Chair

Item #45



Richard Sapper: “I distinguish between two different kinds of seating positions: ‘imposed’ and ‘free’. Seating is ‘imposed’ either by a specific kind of function or restricted spatial conditions. Seating in this category includes all kinds of cars, tourist class airplanes, and space module seats which are limited by available space.

"In contrast to ‘imposed’ seating there is ‘free’ seating; which means sitting on a chair in any position you like. This dynamic seating describes those whose work does not require any specific seating position. They can move their bodies and thus ease and redistribute the weight imposed on muscles, ligaments, tissues and above all, the spine. This dynamic seating requires a chair which facilitates such movement.

"The Knoll chair has been designed, and is based, on the ergonomic principles of ‘free’ seating. The chair frame is generously proportioned with wide, flat seating and supporting surfaces rather than molded or rigid contours. The suspension system is a knoll exclusive: a unique rubberized nylon mesh which conforms easily to a variety of body shapes. This straightforward design means that the chair provides comfortable dynamic seating without constant readjustment."

Richard Sapper’s diverse training in philosophy, anatomy, business, and engineering at the University of Munich has shaped his successful design career ― one which has been dedicated to finding simple, efficient solutions to technically complex problems. His expansive portfolio includes electronics, bicycles, cars, lighting, cookware, and furniture, all of which encompass his ability to synergize art and engineering to deliver thoughtful solutions in handsome packages. Born in Germany but based in Milan, Sapper accents German efficiency with hints of Italian flare.

In 1962, Sapper collaborated with Marro Zanuso to create the Lambda Chair for Gavina SpA (later acquired by Knoll), a piece that is now in the Knoll Museum Collection. In 1979, he worked directly for Knoll, creating the Sapper Office Chair series, a design with enduring appeal and brilliant utility. His most recent collaboration with Knoll resulted in the Sapper Monitor Arm collection in 2009. Both Knoll designs, engineered to perfection, exemplify his ability to reduce an object to its most fundamental elements and style it with his signature elegance.


Sapper is the recipient of 10 Compasso d’Oro prizes, Italy’s most prestigious industrial design award, and more than fifteen of his product designs are in the collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, including the Lambda Chair and the Sapper Monitor Arm. His most notable products are the Tizio lamp (Artemide) and the IBM Thinkpad. Additionally, he has designed for Fiat, Allessi, and Gavina.