Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ettore Sottsass "Valentine" typewriter for Olivetti, 1969

It is curious to think that Fornasetti and his atelier were painstakingly producing those serialized plate designs by hand in the 1950s and 60s, at a time when the post-war, Italian mass-produced design filled with color and geometry was starting to explode around them.  Though I am well aware that design history does not lend itself to neatly defined linear movements, is difficult for me to imagine these two contrasting aesthetics occurring at the same time. Because when I think of Italy in the 60s, I'm not inclined to imagine plates like Fornasetti's. What comes to mind is Ettore Sottsass' iconic "Valentine" typewriter.
First designed for Olivetti in 1969, the beauty of this Valentine has stolen the hearts of many a design enthusiast and writer over the years. Long before Steve Jobs and his band of cohorts at Apple branded their line of color iMacs in 1998, Sottsass brought this analog office machine into the realm of pop. Often referred to as the "anti-machine machine," the Valentine, with its burst of red and clean lines, brought a visual element of play to work. Machine-like toys may be designed all the time (think: legos, tinker toys, erector sets), but Sottsass designed a toy-like machine.

More eye candy below. Check out this neat video by Emeco to learn more about Sottsass' work.




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