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Imagineering

Olivetti’s typewriter: ‘The iMac of its day’

About the author

Stephen Dowling is BBC Future's associate editor.

Twitter: @sjdowling

He also blogs about analogue photography: Zorkiphoto

 

London’s Design Museum’s director Deyan Sudjic pays tribute to a 1960s machine which paved the way for beautiful, portable products.

In their heyday, typewriters were big and bold devices, dominating the desk space like the bulkiest of PCs.

In the late 1960s, the Italian firm Olivetti unveiled the bright red Valentine typewriter, a portable machine which its creator Ettore Sottsass referred to as an “anti-machine machine”. The typewriter’s minimalist styling, light weight and attractive carrying case have made some design critics hail it as a precursor of the friendly tech Apple created such a stir with in the late 1990s.

London’s Design Museum‘s exhibition Extraordinary Stories About Ordinary Things includes an example of Sottsass’s playful design – and here, director Deyan Sudjic sings its praises.

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