technology support

Technology Support: Within Arm's Reach

Sapper Monitor Arm

He is responsible for such iconic products as Artemide's Tizio Lamp (1972), the first "designer" tea kettle (Melodic Kettle, Alessi, 1982), and the original IBM ThinkPad (1992), and German-born designer Richard Sapper says he would some day like to tackle the design of large-scale agricultural equipment. For now, however, his impressive portfolio has grown to include the Sapper Monitor Arm Collection for Knoll. And once again, Sapper has transformed an ordinary object into a design statement.

"I am not a follower of the people who say that form follows function," says Sapper, explaining that, to him, form must express something emotional in order to be beautiful. "A product has to express its logic itself." When Knoll's design director Benjamin Pardo invited him to design a new monitor arm for the company, Sapper admits he had to think about it. "Like every product, you have to find a reason why you would be interested in doing it," he says. But his career-long fascination with designing a wide range of objects obviously influenced his decision to accept the commission. "I have always been interested in new things," he adds. "It gives me the opportunity to transmit my experiences to the new product."

Reviewing other monitor arms on the market, Sapper found most to be more about the arm itself and not about supporting the display. "I had a very particular opinion about what a monitor arm should look like," he says. "It had to be as simple as possible but express its function. The structure expresses the fact that it has to hold up a monitor." Its straightforward yet elegant design is immediately apparent, but the Sapper Monitor Arm also incorporates a number of functional benefits, including a unique movement joint that uses continuous friction to allow fluid movement of the monitor and the ability to position it at any level, 180 degrees of swivel from side to side, 165 degrees of tilt up and down, and 360 degrees of monitor rotation for landscape or portrait viewing. An innovative arm joint that folds back on itself provides approximately 17 in. of depth adjustment, and external wire management keeps wires neat but easily accessible. On the mast, a simple adjustment knob—in Knoll red—adds brand integrity and allows easy manual height adjustment. The emotional response? Simple. And simply beautiful.

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