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

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Event Details

Wed, March 14, 2018

16:30 – 19:00

Villa La Pietra
Via Bolognese, 120
50139 Firenze, Italia

A roundtable discussion on Olivetti visual culture, its experimental identity and corporate image between the 1950s and 1980s, and its legacy.

Giorgio Colombo, Perry King and G.C.Giovanni Maggio will engage in a discussion on the Olivetti culture, its photographic language, design and school; Marco Sammicheli, curator of the 2017 exhibition Mario Bellini. Italian Beauty at the Triennale in Milan, and Beniamino de’ Liguori, General Secretary of Fondazione Adriano Olivetti, will focus on the Olivetti legacy.

Moderated by Caterina Toschi, NYU Florence.


Featured Biographies

Giorgio Colombo


An internationally renowned photographer, in 1963 Giorgio Colombo began documenting contemporary art starting from the Venice Biennale between 1964 and 2003. In 1969 he worked for the design studio of Ettore Sottsass Jr. and was responsible for the publicity campaign for Olivetti’s new typewriter Valentine. In 1970 he started a collaboration with Hans von Klier on Olivetti’s Corporate Image and managed the graphics and installation of the exhibition 4 artistes italiens plus que nature – Ceroli, Kounellis, Marotta, Pascali at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs-Louvre in Paris. Later he curated the graphics for the architecture projects of Gae Aulenti in  the traveling exhibitions Olivetti Formes et Recherche / Investigation and Diseño / Concept and Form (Paris, Barcelona, ​​Madrid, Edinburgh, and London). In 1973 he published the volume Once Upon a Time in collaboration with Lawrence Weiner for Franco Toselli Editions. Four years later, he began working on documenting Panza di Biumo’s Collection. In 1980 he started working for Vogue Italia documenting the collections and artistsic production of avant-garde artists. He opened his photography studio in Milan in 1971.

Perry King


Perry studied Industrial Design in the UK and moved to Italy in 1964 as a consultant to Olivetti where he worked on a wide range of products including the Valentine Typewriter and the Sistema 45. Later, while he was Design Coordinator for Corporate Image, his work included dot matrix fonts as well as books and posters, all designed with Santiago, his partner in founding King Miranda Associati in 1976. He has participated in numerous conferences and competition juries throughout the world and is active in teaching and research. He was Lecturing Professor at Milan Polytechnic and was appointeded Visiting Professor at the University of the Arts, London in 2004. He was Visiting Professor at the School of Architecture and Design at the Royal College of Art in London in 1996/1997. He was awarded the distinction of Royal Designer for Industry in 2000. He is a Fellow of the University of Central England, an Honorary Fellow of Glasgow School of Art and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Marco Sammicheli


Marco Sammicheli (Italy, 1979) is a free-lance curator, a design professional and contract professor at the School of Design at the Politecnico di Milano. After graduating in Communication Science from the University of Siena and specializing in History of Design at the Bauhaus in Weimar, in 2009 he earned a doctorate in design and technology for the development of cultural heritage at the Politecnico di Milano. He wrote monographs on architects Zaha Hadid, Mario Bellini and essays on catalogs for many institutions and museums. After serving as the main editor of the magazine Zero he worked as design editor for Abitare from 2014 to 2017. He is a columnist for La Domenica – Il Sole 24 Ore and writes for Casa Vogue and Wallpaper. In 2014 he participated in the International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale and since 2012 he has curated several projects for the Museo del Novecento in Milan, the Triennale di Milano, Assab One, max museo, the Massimo Minini and Camp Design galleries. In his capacity as Adviser of the Medaglia d’Oro all’Architettura Italiana, he promoted a residency program for designers at the Italian Embassy in Copenhagen (2016-to the present) where he is been appointed Ambassador for Italian Design in Denmark. He is a member of the board of the Fondazione Massimo e Sonia Cirulli (Bologna/New York) and the founder of Mostro – a graphic design camp and festival devoted to graphic arts and visual communication.

G. C. Giovanni Maggio


Giovanni Maggio (1936) holds a Law degree from the University of Rome. He developed his managerial experience at Olivetti where he worked from 1960 to 1989, overseeing the selection of managers and executives and performing managerial duties in the Italian sales division, including the responsibility for the commercial training (CISV Firenze) and Italian office products. He was the head of advertising for the Olivetti group and of Communication and External Relations for Olivetti Italia. Later he served as business management consultant and, for twenty years, a professor of Culture and Business Communication at the Faculty of Political Science Cesare Alfieri of the University of Florence.
He has spoken about Olivetti in the following publications: An interview published in Uomini e lavoro alla Olivetti by Franco Novara (Bruno Mondadori publisher, 2005); I legati traditi di Adriano, in Adriano Olivetti : il lascito (INU editions, 2014); Brains and Beauty, la comunicazione Olivetti. memorie di educazione olivettiana (; Adriano Olivetti, profezia di localismo, in Rivista del Credito Cooperativo (May 2001); Il caso Olivetti, introductory lecture in the course of Culture and Business Communication 2008, Political Science, Florence, in Comunicazionedimpresa 2009.

Beniamino de' Liguori


Beniamino de’ Liguori Carino was born in Rome in 1981. He graduated from La Sapienza University with a degree in Modern and Contemporary History and with a thesis on Edizioni di Comunità. After his studies he collaborated with the German Marshall Fund of the United States in Washington, D.C. and later, in Rome, with an independent publisher. Since 2009 he has been a member of the Adriano Olivetti Foundation’s Scientific Committee, of which he became Secretary General in 2016. He has been a member of the Advisory Committee of the Olivetti Historical Archive Association since 2016 and has been appointed Vice President. Since 2012 he has served as editor and editorial director of Edizioni di Comunità.