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