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2013/26/1 Typewriter with carry case, 'Lettera 35', plastic / metal / rubber, designed by Mario Bellini, Italy, made by Olivetti, Spain, 1974. Click to enlarge.

Olivetti Lettera 35 portable typewriter and carry case designed by Mario Bellini

Designed
The Lettera 35 portable typewriter was designed by Mario Bellini and manufactured by Olivetti. Mario Bellini produced designs for Olivetti that continued a tradition of exploring bold new forms for existing products. His design technique was to first build three dimensional models. Bellini would then engage with and modify this prototype prior to any engineering drawings being executed. During this design process Bellini was able to refine the shape and visual impact, the product's narrative (an unfolding discovery of its abilities and use) and haptic or tactile properties.

With the advent of rapid prototyping (where a CAD rendering could be machined almost instantly), this type of approach became popular with other manufacturers and designers such as Apple. This method was used by Apple's Jony Ive, who would leave prototypes on display for Steve Jobs to engage with and offer advice on refinements.

The Olivetti company successfully fostered and developed long term consultant relationships with some of Italy's finest industrial designers. Italian industrial design, although following some broader North American trends, maintained its own strong theoretical and political ideals through the mid decades of the 20th century. The design guilds and guiding bodies believed design could be applied to empower people, alleviate and reduce fatiguing tasks and promote creativity, among other aims.

Campbell Bickerstaff, 2013

Summary

Object No.

2013/26/1

Object Statement

Typewriter with carry case, 'Lettera 35', plastic / metal / rubber, designed by Mario Bellini, Italy, made by Olivetti, Spain, 1974

Physical Description

A portable typewriter with a chassis of cast metal with ripple finished cream coloured enamel paint. At the front is a qwerty keyboard typewriter with cream coloured type keys. One key is red. The typewriter is stored in a fitted hard black plastic carry case.

Marks

'Olivetti Lettera 35' along centre top, 'NSW 403OMF' engraved on centre back.

Dimensions

Height

110 mm

Width

350 mm

Depth

355 mm

Production

Notes

Designed by Mario Bellini in 1974. Olivetti had manufacturing plants at Ivrea, Italy; Spain and Ireland. This typewriter was manufactured in Spain.

History

Notes

The typewriter was purchased new by the donor (possibly from the Olivetti store in the Sydney CBD) around 1975. It was used for personal correspondence and then placed into storage before being offered to the Museum in 2012.

Source

Credit Line

Gift of Helen Duxbury, 2013

Acquisition Date

11 March 2013

Cite this Object

Harvard

Olivetti Lettera 35 portable typewriter and carry case designed by Mario Bellini 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 25 September 2020, <https://ma.as/462408>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/462408 |title=Olivetti Lettera 35 portable typewriter and carry case designed by Mario Bellini |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=25 September 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
This object is currently on display in Interface: people, machines, design at the Powerhouse Museum.

Incomplete

This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.