It was designed in 1986 for the Artemide company. In its original configuration, it consists of a heavy base, two straight polished aluminum arm sections (each approximately 45 cm long), and a matte aluminum reflector head which can swivel 360°. Steel tension cables attached to springs hidden inside the arms complete the constant-tension structure.
Tolomeo is the Italian version of the name Ptolemy. In the dot-com period, it became popular as a symbol of conspicuous consumption and high design consciousness in high-tech companies as well as in architectural and graphic design offices. It won the Compasso d'Oro design prize in 1989.