LAMY safari: The Design Chameleon

15 grams, 14 centimetres. One should not allow oneself to be deceived by this slight apparition: The LAMY safari is any thing but a lightweight. In fact, it is the bestselling writing instrument in the world in its category. What lies behind the fascination with the LAMY safari?

There are few places on earth where it is not to be found. In lecture theatres and architects’ studios, in law firms and offices; in Mumbai and New York, in London and Berlin, from Beijing to Moscow. It is an all-rounder which can be used almost everywhere, for writing as well as designing and drawing. What makes this writing instrument so beloved?

Its unpretentious appearance plays a great part, art director Mike Meiré believes. “The LAMY safari is a chameleon. It is changeable and adapts to different environments, both in terms of function and design.”

The same can be said of its twin, the LAMY AL-star, which is made of aluminium, as well as the transparent LAMY vista.

This versatility is based on the principle of consistent reduction, which Lamy has adopted as a philosophy: The design is resolutely derived from the function and forgoes superfluous details. “We not only ask: What looks good?, but above all: What improves the product?”, explains Marco Achenbach, responsible for product management and development at Lamy.

Perfect for frequent writers: the LAMY safari with its ergonomic recessed grip

So it is that everything that makes the LAMY safari unmistakable is also critical for its functionality. The sturdy clip, with which the LAMY safari can be attached to a notebook or shirt pocket; the grip with its distinct recesses. “They ensure that one’s fingers do not cramp up”, says Achenbach. “That is why the LAMY safari is ideal for people who write a lot.”

The ink window, which allows the user to see how as is the shape of the body. This is not quite round, but rather flattened at the sides, so that it does not roll off the desk. The nib can easily be replaced and is available in different widths. This also makes the fountain pen particularly popular in Asia, as the fine nibs are suitable for intricate characters.

The clip is the hallmark of the LAMY safari.

The model LAMY joy was specially developed for calligraphy: fitted with the same grip as the LAMY safari, but with a long, conically tapered shaft and three calligraphy nibs, which can also be easily replaced. And the material? ABS, a plastic which is known for its resilience and impact resistance in the case of the LAMY safari, and aluminium in the case of the LAMY AL-star, which can also withstand a great deal and is particularly light besides.


Thanks to this robustness, they can be taken anywhere – for example on a tour of the world, as in the case of illustrator Alicia Aradilla. She has been travelling around the world since 2017 and records the places she visits with ink and water colours. The Wat Pho Temple in Bangkok, the Water Palace Jal Mahal in India, the deep blue sea in the Philippines. Always at hand: her yellow LAMY safari,

which she uses for her vibrant sketches. She lets her community participate in her colourful around-theworld journey in her Instagram account @a.aradilla.

Speaking of colour. It is to a large extent due to the wide selection of colours which makes the LAMY safari so popular – from red to blue and green through to pink. For many years the most popular colour design has been umbra, followed by white and black. There are also the metallic versions of the LAMY AL-star as well as Special Editions, which are awaited with excitement each year and which arouse a collector’s passion within many people. “We not only experiment with colour here, but also with combinations of finishes and materials”, says Achenbach. “We can all look forward to seeing what the next Special Editions hold in store.” Even a real chameleon would turn pale with jealousy if confronted with this spectrum.