OlivettiWorld in San Francisco

Jun 01, 2018 1013

After bringing to the Bay Area events on such iconic masters of Italian design as Vico Magistretti (2014) and Achille Castiglioni (2017), the Italian Cultural Institute decided to put together an initiative that would offer San Francisco audiences a topic that combines the qualities of historical discourse with the imaginative vision of contemporary design and state-of-the-art technology.

Scheduled on the occasion of San Francisco Design Week (June 7-15), a series of events under the collective title of “OlivettiWorld,” is expected to revisit the key values of the Italian company’s experience – an experience that was at once cultural, social, political, and entrepreneurial. Indeed, the story of Olivetti intersects with the history of modern computers by virtue of what we can today describe as the first desktop machine, launched in 1964.

But not only: Olivetti was also at the avant-garde in the field of architecture and company management, implementing such innovative models that are nowadays still studied and pursued by businesses worldwide. Through the voices of those who are today committed, in different capacities, to shaping the future of our society, the series will try to stimulate a debate on the relationships between innovation, architecture, design, production & communication in the 20th century and beyond.

In creating this initiative we have teamed up with the Fondazione Adriano Olivetti of Rome, Italy for a focus on the historical perspective – the architecture of the city where Olivetti started, Ivrea, on the verge of becoming UNESCO world heritage site; the life of the founders, Camillo and Adriano, as the company transformed itself from family business to worldwide leader; the legacy of a revolutionary culture factory.

Beniamino de’ Liguori, secretary general of the Fondazione, will talk about such issues and will introduce the biographical work-in-progress of Cecile Deaglio, on her translation of the two Olivettis’ letters from America, and Meryle Secrest on her biography of Adriano.

We also teamed up with Fuseproject, the internationally recognized industrial design and branding firm, for a focus on the role that design has played in Olivetti’s treatment of products and communication. As a companion to an exhibition illustrating the trajectory of Olivetti’s accomplishments, art historian Marco
Sammicheli, designer Carl de Torres, and architect Cristina Segni will take part in a panel discussion moderated by Yves Behar.


· June 6 @ Fuseproject – Exhibition reception / 6:00pm
“Olivettiworld” featuring photographs by Mattia Balsamini, vintage posters, showroom photos.
Curated by Valentina Anania

· June 7 @ SF Design Week’s Hub, Pier 27 – Opening of SF Design Week
Italian booth featuring “Made in Italy” products and materials on the Olivetti initiative

· June 8 @ SF Design Week’s Hub, Pier 27 – Lecture / 6:30 pm
Beniamino de’ Liguori Carino -- Secretary General of the Olivetti Foundation; “History, Legacy,
and Future of the Olivetti experience”

· June 9 @ Italian Cultural Institute – Exhibition opening and presentation / 11.00am
“Industry-life and Architecture” a photo exhibition curated by Valentina Anania, featuring portraits
of buildings from Ivrea by Michele Muzzati and images from the Olivetti family album.
Cecile Deaglio presents “Letters from the New World: Camillo and Adriano Olivetti in America”

· June 12 @ Fuseproject – Panel Discussion / 6:00pm
“Design / Technology / Communication.” With: Yves Behar, Carl De Torres, Marco Sammicheli,
Cristina Segni. Video: “When Olivetti invented the PC”

Valentina Anania is an Italian Architect, Product Designer and Light Designer. Mattia Balsamini is an Educator at MeLa, the rendering and interactive research department at IUAV, University of Venice and teaches industrial photography at IED Istituto Europeo Design of Turin. Beniamino de’ Liguori Carino is Secretary General of the Adriano Olivetti Foundation and Vice-president of the Olivetti Historical Archive Association. Since 2011, he has been editor at “Edizioni di Comunita’”. Carl De Torres is a Graphic Designer and Illustrator. He worked extensively for IBM and his creations have been celebrated by Graphis, American Institute of Graphic Artists, Clio Awards, and many others. Marco Sammicheli is Abitare Design curator, an essayist and journalist. He curated several projects for public museums and private galleries in Italy and abroad. He teaches at the Design School of Politecnico di Milano University. Cristina Segni is an architect
and a partner at Foster + Partners. Since 2009 she has been part of the Apple Park design team. In 2015 she was shortlisted for the AJ's Women in Architecture Award.

The Adriano Olivetti Foundation is a completely independent cultural institution founded in 1962 by the will of the heirs to protect and promote the figure of Adriano Olivetti and his thoughts. San Francisco Design Week is an essential week-long regional festival that showcases the unique intersection of ideas, design, business & entrepreneurism that makes the Bay Area the birthplace of the future. Fuseproject is an integrated design and branding studio founded by Yves Behar in 1999. Behar is also the co-founder of the start-up August, a next generation home entry system. His other collaborations with renowned partners such as Herman Miller, GE, Puma, PayPal, SodaStream, Samsung, Issey Miyake, Prada and many others have received international acclaim. The Italian Cultural Institute is an official branch of the Italian government, dedicated to the promotion of the Italian language and culture in the United States through the organization of cultural events.


SOURCE: IIC San Francisco

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