Saturday, 25 February 2012

Letters from Outerspace - Olivetti ETP55

Outerspace Design is one of Australia's leading industrial design consultancies. Like the origins of the universe we all have to start somewhere.

Mark Johnson, Fred Blochlinger and Wallace Tench established Outerspace Design Group in a studio in Dickman Street Richmond. Building the business meant contacting potential new clients and this week Fred and Mark recalled the early days using a number of industry databases and sending out proposals typed on an Olivetti EPT55 typewriter. All early estimates, quotes and design proposals were typed on this Mario Bellini classic which has featured in the recent exhibition 'my valentine' at the Design Gallery. Years later whilst Design Manager at Outerspace I spied this typewriter high on a shelf in a back cupboard of the workshop. Knowing my interest in collecting Olivetti typewriters Mark kindly donated it to my collection.

Outerspace Design directors Fred Blochlinger and Mark Johnson with Ian Wong curator of 'my valentine' exhibition. 

Olivetti ETP55 featured in 'my valentine' exhibition.

Origins of Outerspace - Original business cards from Outerspace Design director Fred Blochlinger.

Dean Benstead - RMIT graduate employment

RMIT industrial design graduate Dean Benstead began his career as a professional industrial designer recently with leading industrial design consultancy Charlwood Design. RMIT alumnus and CEO Paul Charlwood was particularly impressed with Dean's sketching and wacom skills developed in the communications course and the wacom lab at RMIT University. Dean will get the opportunity to continue to develop these skills on a brand new Wacom 24HD arriving in the studio soon. Congratulations Dean.

RMIT industrial design graduate Dean Benstead joins Charlwood Design.

Dean Benstead sketches in the RMIT Wacom Lab with communications lecturer Bernie Walsh and distinguished alumnus Phillip Zmood.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

CobaltNiche - Foam modelling techniques

CobaltNiche directors Jack Magree and Steve Martinuzzo studied industrial design at RMIT University and recalled today the influence of the foam modelling techniques passed on by Italian designer Dario di Diana. We studied together and learned foam modelling techniques from Dario in our final years at RMIT. Dario had worked with Mario Bellini in Milan on products for Olivetti like the ETP55 and the Logos range of electronic calculators. I can still recall the luminous green keys on the Olivetti Logos 75B that sat on a shelf in Dario's office in 2B2.

Dario di Diana not only introduced the technique to students, he designed and manufactured a small number of precision foam cutting machines in Melbourne.

CobaltNiche directors Steve Martinuzzo and Jack Magree pictured with RMIT University PhD researcher and colleague Ian Wong with the original Dario de Diana foam cutter.

Olivetti Logos 75B designed by Mario Bellini and studio designers including Dario di Dianna. 

Jack, Steve and I all graduated in 1985 and by 1987 we had all worked with leading industrial design consultancy John Westood Design Associates. John Westwood purchased one of the original Dario foam cutters and one of the first projects it was used on was the Telecom Australia IKTS telephone design project. Jack Magree and Mario Matkovich produced models of all three concept proposals for what was the major industrial design project in Melbourne in 1987. The Aegis CZ300 which featured in the exhibition STILL09 was also an early Jack Magee design. Foam models were used to assess critical ergonomics for this innovative hand held electronic line fault locator. 

Design World magazine No15 feature on RMIT industrial design highlights the significant use of the foam modelling technique in the program in 1988.

Foam modelling as a design technique is fundamental to many of the industrial design practices in Melbourne and the use of this technique is directly linked back to Milan and the practice of Mario Bellini. The original Dario de Diana machine pictured above is still used today at CobaltNiche more than 25 years on. Products like the Keep Cup and scientific instruments like the Premiers Design Award winning Varian 900-LC series all benefitted from a design process that included foam modelling.

Aegis CZ3000 designed by industrial designers Jack Magree and Mario Matkovich. 1987.

Premiers Design Award 2008 winning Varian 900-LC series designed by CobaltNiche.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Building 87 - ID was here.

Once home to the RMIT industrial design program, RMIT Building 87 is no more. Above the Australia Post store on the corner of Elizabeth and A'Beckett Streets was home to the program from the mid 1990s till 2010. The program began in Building 2, was briefly in Gossard Building 49, then 87, and now 440 Elizabeth Street, Building 88.

End of an era. Building 87 torn down recently.

Gone. RMIT Building 87 is no more.

Industrial Design 2012 reception - Building 88 Level 6

Industrial Design 2012 - Building 88 Level 6

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

DQ Magazine - Open Forum

The recent issue of DQ magazine #44 featured Design Institute of Australia Victorian Branch Councillors James Harper, Clare Beale, and Ian Wong in the Open Forum.

What do you feel the next decade holds for design and society, and how do we stay at the forefront of this?

DQ magazine #44 Open Forum with James Harper, Clare Beale, and Ian Wong

TEXT FROM DQ Magazine #44

Ian Wong
Director, ejo
Design Education Practice Group coordinator – DIA Victoria

The next decade provides exciting opportunities for industrial designers. Blogging and social media today demonstrate how ideas can be instantly shared through smart phones and how truly global or local our impact as designers can be.

Australian designed products can find large and instant local or global markets and digital manufacture will see more products made in the neighbourhood or home. Additive manufacturing technology and digital 3D printers with multiple materials will enable complex items to be manufactured from hybrids of metal/plastic/organic etcetera.

Concepts like growing objects are more feasible. Organic products that serve seasonally like fruit or leaves may evolve. Product design is migrating away from the professional to the customer so we are likely to see more applications that provide the product design to your own specifications. Facilities, like the Advanced Manufacturing Precinct at RMIT University in Melbourne, and the cross discipline collaboration possible through their Design Hub will see us remain at the forefront regionally and globally.

Jim Samartgis - Household Product of the Year Award.

The Decor range of Real Seal containers has been awarded the 'Product of the Year 2012' winning in the Household Category. Designed by Design Institute of Australia member and RMIT alumnus industrial designer Jim Samartgis the range includes patented features to seal and store. Congratulations Jim.

Award winning Decor Real Seal containers designed by industrial designer Jim Samartgis.

Product of the Year - Household Category the Real Seal range designed by RMIT alumnus Jim Samartgis.

US Design Patent - Decor 'Real Seal' designed by industrial designer Jim Samartgis.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Olivetti Design - Exhibition Floor Talk

Olivetti design was centre stage today at the Design Institute of Australia Design Gallery with a floor talk by PhD researcher Ian Wong. To coincide with the exhibition 'my valentine' the floor talk focussed on the corporate approach to design at Olivetti and in particular the design practice involved in products like the ETP55. Students studying industrial design in Victoria at RMIT University in the 1980s adopted many of the techniques from ex Olivetti designer Dario de Diana. Mr Wong also compared recent work at Apple Design, showing an image of the current iMac keyboard, with the various keyboard designs on the classic Olivetti typewriters in the exhibition.

'my valentine' exhibition at the Design Gallery - Design Institute of Australia.

Curator Ian Wong presents a floor talk on 'Olivetti Design' at the Design Gallery.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Regis Glassware - Edward Kayser

I have written several posts about the iconic and highly awarded 'Regis' range of glassware by RMIT alumnus industrial designer Edward Kayser. I had not seen this page from the Australian Design Index until recently.

Australian Design Index - Iconic Australian Regis Glassware by industrial designer Edward Kayser.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Olivetti - Valentine typewriter references.

The current exhibition 'my valentine' was inspired by the influence of many authors who have published about industrial design and in particular about Olivetti. My passion for industrial design has been fuelled by those who have documented practice and celebrated the profession. I had the great pleasure to meet Professor Penny Sparke in my role with the Design Archive at RMIT University and I took the opportunity to have her sign my copy of her book 'Italian Design, from 1870 to the present' by Thames and Hudson. I also noted that a book on Ettore Sottsass Jnr for the Design Council in 1982 is listed as Penny's first published work on Wikipedia. I have also collected copies of exhibition programs like the one from the Museum of Modern Art Olivetti exhibition.

A selection of texts and references on industrial design at Olivetti.

Friday, 17 February 2012

my valentine - Exhibition video

The exhibition 'my valentine' is curated as a blended exhibition with a significant online presence. Those who are not able to view the objects in the Design Gallery are encouraged to view material online.

'my valentine' exhibition video curated by Ian Wong

my valentine - DIA President Oliver Kratzer visits.

Design Institute of Australia President Oliver Kratzer visited the 'my valentine' exhibition at the Design Gallery yesterday. He is pictured here with DIA General Manager Phillippa Rowland.

Design Institute of Australia President Oliver Kratzer with DIA General Manager Phillippa Rowland.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Phillip Zmood - DIA membership letter 1963

The current exhibition 'my valentine' celebrates the design of products for the modern office and an era of shorthand, carbon paper and paper clips. Letters typed in triplicate by highly skilled typist without an undo key.

This letter dated 3rd October 1963 from the RMIT Design Archives collection is a wonderful reminder of this time and allows me to focus yet again on the history of industrial design in Victoria.

Phillip Zmood is a graduate from RMIT industrial design and this letter represents his first recognition by the Industrial Design Institute of Australia of his qualifications as an industrial designer. Phillip would go on to be the first Australian head of Design at General Motors Holden and a Hall of Fame member of the Design Institute of Australia. The exhibition Zmood - Designing Holdens at Melbourne Museum in 2010 featured the career of Phillip Zmood.

Detail of manually typed letter to a young RMIT alumnus Phillip Zmood.

Phillip Zmood sketches concepts for Holden cars in the GMH studio at Fisherman's Bend early in his career.

Letter from the Industrial Design Institute of Australia confirming student membership of Phillip Zmood. Oct 3rd 1963.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

my valentine - exhibition

'my valentine' exhibition curated by Ian Wong at the Design Gallery Design Institute of Australia. February 2012.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

my valentine - Exhibition introductory text

Inspired by the fact that the pop icon the Olivetti Valentine typewriter was released on Valentines Day 1969 the exhibition opens on February 14th themed around passion.

Passion for industrial design, the passion of italians and the passion of collecting.

My Valentine celebrates the passion of italian industrial designers Mario Bellini, Aldo Magnielli, Marcello Nizzoli, Ettore Sottsass and Perry King in their practice of industrial design for Olivetti.

These machines were the ‘ipads’ of their era.

The latest technology in communcation and business equipment developed by Olivetti designers with a committment to outstanding industrial design.

These 20th century design classics were highly awarded with many winning the Compasso d’Oro award and they feature in the collections of museums including the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The influence and evolution of the practice of industrial design on the object is boldly demonstrated in these items. We see the application and development of new materials technology, the transistion from pure mechanical machines through electromechanical to electronic devices. The simple action of the keystroke changes from the highly physical and mechanical to the abstract and the sensual. Machine control evolves from the lever, gear and sprocket to the button, dial and switch. Forms once flowing sculptural skins over mechanisms evolve into the pure geometry of the circle, square and triangle.

The design processes developed by designers for Olivetti were documented and published influencing the practice of industrial design the world over. In the mid 1980s industrial design students at RMIT University here in Melbourne studied the design practices of designers like Mario Bellini first hand. Lecturer Dario de Dianna worked with Bellini and shared techniques like ‘foam modelling’ that would significantly influence the practice of many of our current generation of award winning Australian industrial designers.

my valentine - Curated by RMIT industrial design alumnus Ian Wong

The exhibition also celebrates a passion for collecting that began over twenty years ago with a single dusty Valentine typewriter purchased for $25 in Williamstown and now thanks to ebay numbers 37 typewriters and calculators.

Consider as you swipe your finger across an ipad touch screen that it is an evolution of device control that has it's origins in these 20th century design classics.

Ian Wong
RMIT University

'my valentine' - Exhibition introduction by curator Ian Wong.

my valentine - macmat on show

Macmat featured at 'my valentine' exhibition today as part of a Facebook promotion for the exhibition of olivetti classics. The product is a very successful outcome from the 4th year studio I supervised last year and today we discussed further the prospects of launching the product worldwide.

Macmat designed by final year RMIT industrial design student Diana Sari Dewi is promoted at 'my valentine' exhibition.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Lettera 36 - my valentine exhibition

The Lettera 36 typewriter designed by Ettore Sottsass is a late inclusion in the exhibition opening tomorrow - 'my valentine' at the Design Gallery at the Design Institute of Australia, Level 1, 175 Collins Street, Melbourne. February 14th -24th. 10am-4pm Weekdays.

This typewriter was stored in Shepparton so I was not sure I could include it but it arrived today so I am delighted to include it. This more serious work from Ettore Sottsass balances the 'pop' status and celebrity of the Valetine. Designed around the same time the Lettera 36 is an electric portable typewriter.

'my valentine exhibition' features the Lettera 36 typewriter designed by Ettore Sottsass 1970.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

my valentine - Competition

Win a unique Valentines Day gift for the love in your life.

Ten lucky romantics will win one heart shaped macaroon made with the new 'macmat' designed by RMIT University industrial design student Diana Sari Dewi. Each winner will also receive a single red rose.

RMIT University is a University of Design and Technology..... we love design.
Join us in celebrating the design innovation of the 'macmat' and the exhibition 'my valentine' by PhD candidate Ian Wong on Valentines Day 2012.

Happy Valentines Day!

How to WIN.

Simply like the Facebook page ianwongresearch to be eligible to win.

To enter 'like' the post titled 'Enter Here - 'my valentine' competition.' on the ianwongresearch wall.

Winners will be announced Tuesday February 14th at 11.00am and advised by Facebook.

Attend the exhibition 'my valentine' at the Design Gallery Level 1, 175 Collins Street, Melbourne, between 1pm and 4pm on Valentines Day to collect your prize.

Winners must be able to attend the exhibition 'my valentine' to collect their prize.

Macmat designed by industrial designer Diana Sari Dewi.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

my valentine - starting something

Once upon a time.... the beginning of a story.

The story of my Olivetti collection started in about 1992 with a dusty red Olivetti Valentine typewriter discovered hidden from view in a second hand shop in Williamstown, Victoria. Why was I interested? What was the fascination?

my valentine - still with the original price tag this Olivetti Valentine is treasured by curator Ian Wong.

My studies in industrial design at RMIT University had provided me with an appreciation of the history of Industrial Design and through the influence of Elivio Bonollo the Italians in particular were well known to me. Elivio ran the industrial design course during my studies from 1982-1985. Elivio invited Italian designer Roberto Lucci to lecture twice during my studies. The second time, 1984 I think, we did a shoe project which I enjoyed very much. Given what Nike and others have done in this area since 1984, this was well before it's time as a project for industrial design students.  I have spoken before of the Memphis interest of my lecturer Dean Holmes so Ettore Sottsass I knew about.

Olivetti Valentine typewriter purchased for in 1988 for $25 by curator Ian Wong.

I was also extremely fortunate to have Dario de Dianna as my lecturer in second and third year at RMIT. Dario had worked with Mario Bellini on Olivetti products. I can still see the Logos 75B calculator on the shelf in his office in 2B2. I had the opportunity during my studies to work part time for Dario on lighting projects.

Collecting has been in my blood since a young child so it was not unusual for me to be foraging about the store in Williamstown, but as I have explained above, when the bright red abs case with rubber straps came into view the eyes lit up and the deal was done. $25.00..... a bargain.

This first valentine was the beginning and with a little help from ebay the collection now numbers 37 Olivetti typewriters and calculators.

Curator Ian Wong with a Valentine Typewriter during setup for the up coming exhibition - my valentine at the Design Gallery February 14th-24th

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

my valentine - Design Gallery Exhibition

Inspired by the passionate work by industrial designers for Olivetti, the Design Institute of Australia Design Gallery presents "my valentine" to coincide with celebrations for Valentine's Day 2012. The classic red valentine typewriter designed by Ettore Sottsass and Perry King in 1969 is featured in Design Museum collections the world over including the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art

Iconic products from the 20th century designed by Mario Bellini, Ettore Sottsass, Marcello Nizzoli, Perry King, and Aldo Magnielli feature in this exhibition curated by RMIT University PhD candidate Ian Wong.

The exhibition offers a rare opportunity to see these classic designed products often featured in magazine and design publications on public display in Melbourne.

my valentine - February 14th - 24th
Design Gallery
10am-4pm Monday-Friday
Design Institute of Australia
Level 1 - 175 Collins Street

'my valentine' exhibition. Design Gallery Design Institute of Australia. February 2012.

'my valentine' exhibition curated by Ian Wong

Olivetti Divisumma 28 featured in 'my valentine' exhibition at the Design Gallery.

Olivetti ETP55 designed by Mario Bellini.

Olivetti Ico MP1 portable typewriter.

Valentine typewriter designed by Ettore Sottsass and Perry King 1969.

Olivetti Divisumma 18 calculator designed by Mario Bellini

The Mario Bellini designed Divisumma 28, one of nine iconic 20th century products on display in my valentine at the Design Gallery February 14th-28th.

Olivetti Lettera 22 designed by Marcello Nizzoli.

Olivetti MP1 designed by Aldo Magnielli

Olivetti ETP55 designed by Mario Bellini

Lettera 12 typewriter designed by Mario Bellini.

Yamaha TC-800 tape deck designed by Mario Bellini

Olivetti Logos 58 calculator designed by Mario Bellini