DimensionsW: 300mm H: 135mm D: 340mm
The influence of developments in modern art is apparent in Olivetti’s design. Alberto Magnelli, the brother of case designer Aldo Magnelli, was an established painter who was involved in the abstract and concrete art movements. The form of the Ico typewriter casing, with semi circular curves around the type basket transitioning to perpendicular straight sides, is reminiscent of the vocabulary of forms employed by these artists.
Prior to joining Olivetti Magnelli had worked with Enrico Fermi in experimental physics. The Ico’s mechanical design is by Riccardo Levi. Olivetti’s product development structure was not hierarchical so engineering and design were equal partners and collaboration flourished.
The Ico (an acronym for Ingegnere Camillo Olivetti, the founder of Olivetti) was an enormously successful product, remaining in production from 1932 until 1950. It follows the template for the ‘Olivetti style’ set down by Camillo Olivetti in 1912: “a typewriter should not be a geegaw (a bauble or trinket) for the drawing room, ornate and in questionable taste. It should have an appearance that is elegant and serious at the same time.”
This poster for the Ico was designed by Xanti Schawinsky in 1935. Schawinsky had studied at the Bauhaus in the mid 1920s. His skills were embraced by Olivetti in creating graphics that projected an image of a modern company.