Saturday, 14 February 2009

My Valentine

From page 49 of The Language of Things:
Olivetti made the conceptual leap from manufacturers of business equipment to manufacturer of consumer products when Ettore Sottsass first put a handle on a mainframe computer, making it into an object rather than an accumulation of transistors and valves. In the same way, with design, he transformed the office typewriter for Olivetti by making a red-and-orange lightweight portable, the Valentine. As Sottsass memorably put it, the Valentine was designed to keep lonely poets company on weekends in the country. He had realized that technical equipment could be domesticated. A typewriter did not have to be treated as a piece of anonymous machinery, but could be understood as having a character of its own.


Midwives For President; said...

That's the kind of Valentine i need.
Somewhere out there, there is a fine dotted line, a snailtrail of silver thread bettween design that makes us more artful and consumption that helps us be more ignorant.
My ex-lover yesterday wrote me 'love is an asset'
i found it confusing untill i saw your valentine!! perhaps my silver line is not to consume any product that is new?

farmdoc said...

Very interesting, LOM. In the 1950s and 1960s Olivetti was the counterpart of Apple today. What happened to it? Wikipedia's Olivetti entry tells a rather sad story of decline. The Olivetti Valentine, whilst a symbol of a bygone era, is an enduring work of art. Wonderful blog entry - one of your best. xxx