Photo Credit: Ettore Sottsass, Jr., Jukebox, 1968. Photo by Gianni Berengo Gardin

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Event Details

Wed, March 14, 2018

18:00 – 19:30

Villa La Pietra
Via Bolognese, 120
50139 Firenze, Italia

The exhibition seeks to reconstruct the history of the Olivetti image from 1952 to 1979 through photographs and documents linked to three places where Olivetti products were displayed (exhibitions, stores and the school), and in which narrative forms – oral, written and visual – of the Olivetti identity were progressively developed. Photographs by Aldo Ballo, Gabriele Basilico, Gianni Berengo Gardin, Walter Binder, Giorgio Colombo, Erich Hartmann, Wayne Miller, Paolo Monti, Ugo Mulas, and Ezra Stoller document the interiors of Olivetti stores, designed by the most important avant-garde architects of the time (Gae Aulenti, Ignazio Gardella, Leo Lionni, Carlo Scarpa and BBPR Studio), as well as the pioneering exposition Olivetti: Design in Industry, at the Museum of Modern Art of New York (October-November 1952), and the traveling expositions Stile Olivetti (1961-1966) (Zurich, Nairobi, Hong Kong), and Formes et Recherche (1969-1971), designed by Gae Aulenti (France, Germany,  Japan, England, and Spain). Furthermore, the exhibition The Olivetti Idiom (1952-1979) presents a little-known chapter of Olivetti history: it reconstructs for the first time the experience of the CISV-Centro Istruzione e Specializzazione Vendite (Center for Teaching Specializations of Olivetti Sales) (1954-1979), a residential training center opened in Florence in 1954, aimed at educating new hires not only about a particular sales style, but also about the company’s values and objectives through a revolutionary model of industrial pedagogy with a technical/humanistic bent. This experience is narrated in the exhibition The Olivetti Idiom (1952-1979) through a rich iconographic apparatus that illustrates both the academic life at CISV, located on the La Pietra estate, today home of NYU Florence and the value of the ‘displayed’ products  for the rise of Olivetti visual identity on the international scene.

The exhibition has been made possible thanks to the contribution of the archival materials held by the Associazione Archivio Storico Olivetti (AASO) in Ivrea.


The exhibition will be open until May 5, 2018.