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 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