Poster issued by Olivetti Typewriter Co. featuring the Olivetti Lexicon 80 typewriter
Museum no. CIRC.634-1965
As a manufacturer, Olivetti had a long history of high social and artistic purpose. Bauhaus designers worked on its posters and helped create the first typewriter conceived as a desirable consumer product, but it was the painter Marcello Nizzoli who established Olivetti as undisputed leader in the beautifying of ordinary objects. The sculptural sophistication of the Lexikon 80 of 1948 is typical of his work. In 1952 the Museum of Modern Art in New York acknowledged Olivetti's achievement in bringing beauty to the workplace by giving the Italian company the sort of one-man-show that is usually the privilege of painters.
Stephen Bayley, Guest Curator