Mario Bellini was Olivetti's chief design consultant from 1963 to 1991 and one of the great product designers of the 20th century.
Bellini's designs for Olivetti continued the company's tradition of exploring bold new forms for existing products. His design technique was to first build three dimensional models. He would then engage with and modify the prototype prior to any engineering drawings being executed. During this design process Bellini was able to refine the shape and visual impact, the product's narrative (an unfolding discovery of its abilities and use) and haptic or tactile properties.
With the accelerated uptake of rapid prototyping in the 1980s (where a CAD rendering could be machined almost instantly), this approach became popular with other manufacturers and designers.