// BarryBlog //

A creative dumping ground for issues that interest me personally and professionally, with the thought they may interest you too. Issues such as the business of design, the design of business, the design of objects, design strategy, creative direction, innovation, creativity, thought leadership, observations, as well as recommendations, mid-century modern decorative arts and architecture, and the state of my thinking (and currently the state of my heart).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Great Flickr Set: Mid-Century Graphic Design of Olivetti

ninonbook has very little in his Flickr stream, but what he lacks in quantity he more than makes up for with the quality of his contribution. His one and only set is a bunch of amazing Olivetti marketing and promotional graphic design efforts smack dab from the mid-20th century. Absolutely inspirational work. I know very little about how he got the work, and know a great deal about the work itself, but since my schedule is a bit upside down, I will pass on explaining the Olivetti design empire, trusting if you are interested you will pursue that further. Google Olivetti and you will quickly learn what a powerhouse this design driven company was. From a previous post of mine (in which a person named Neil McBean ripped off my image), Dieter Rams is quoted as saying this about Olivetti...

Today there is only Apple and to a lesser extent Sony, but not to the same degree as was the case with Olivetti and BRAUN, or Peter Behrens at AEG, or Herman Miller and Charles Eames, Florence Knoll with Saarinen and so on. These kinds of connections are missing today.

I am fortunate to own the Olivetti Lettera 36 and am constantly on the prowl for the Valentine by one of my favorite designers, Ettore Sottsass.

Enjoy nonenbook's Olivetti Set.

A special thanks to Neil McBean. The stated purpose of his blog is to "inspire filmmakers, designers and artists (like me [him]) to develop and produce their own work." Ironically however, he refuses to remove my image that he stole, which he is using to ask the question..."So is Jonathan Ives merely a rip-off artist?" Then he states..."We always build on what came before, and sometimes all that's required is the adaptation of a great design for a new purpose." Then he goes on to state..."When developing storyboards it would be irresponsible not to find out how similar scenes have been shot in earlier films."

Guess McBean doesn't feel it's at all irresponsible to steal. Sweet.

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Anonymous Scott said...

One of my most painful thrift shopping experiences involved an Olivetti Valentine typewriter.

About three or four years ago I was combing through one of my favorite Minneapolis shops, and spied something unmistakable in the next aisle: my Valentine. One of Sottsass' seminal designs, I (like you) knew it must find a place in my home. She needed to come and be with me forever.

But alas she was in the arms of another gentleman. I followed him through the store like a stalker until he checked out and left me without my Valentine. It was a sad day (and a true story).

3:29 PM  
Blogger studiosmith said...

Ouch. Too cose for comfort Scott. I feel your pain.

1:49 AM  
Anonymous Man said...

I myself own the Olivetti Lettera 32 and I love having these beautiful designed pieces.

Gorgeous set of olivetti design. Great find.

8:59 AM  
Blogger studiosmith said...

Allan, so glad you stopped by. Ettore was an amazing designer. His functional objects serve equally as well in the decorative art realm. And it's hard not to love anything Olivetti. They, Braun, Herman Miller... I am a sucker for any company where design isn't just a single discipline, rather the basis for which they conduct business.

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Gretchen said...

These designs are fantastic - I love

I too respect companies who conduct business where good design is part of everything from their culture to their products. That's why I (and many others) love Apple Computers so much.

1:29 PM  

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