Data, Art & Science

A fruitful intersection.

The interaction between art and technology is becoming increasingly popular in various experiments in both the public and in the private sector.

The use of big data in innovative contexts, such as art, is leading to the use of alternative forms of creativity to identify and develop new products, services, and processes.


A single vision, capable of merging different disciplinary ambits in order to give value to work, its products, and man, and build a new community by taking man as a measure of everything: this was the paradigm of the Olivettian philosophy and project.

At Olivetti, art and technique were involved to interact in original and fruitful ways, placing design at the centre of Olivetti products, which exalted beauty as an opportunity per se, and also for the success of a product in the world.

It is thanks to this research that Olivetti was able to create such products as Lettera 22, the renown typing machine, which are still surrounded by an air of myth. Launched in the market in 1950, it became a real cult object at world level, by virtue of its functionality and of its beauty. Marcello Nizzoli’s design was prized in 1954 with Compasso d’Oro (Golden Compass), whereas the machine is part of the collections of the MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) of New York, as one of the most beautiful products of the Twentieth century.

The advertising communication of Lettera 22, left in charge of such artists as Giovanni Pintori or Raymond Savignac, has deservedly become part of the history of international graphics. Renown artists were even asked to realise the method to learn how to use the machine: those who bought a Lettera 22 were given a vynil 33 laps, in which rhythmic-musical exercises were proposed to become good typists. Writer Mario Soldati was entrusted with the task of writing the texts, music was the responsibility of composer Franco Potenza, and graphics was left in charge of Giovanni Pintori.

A triumph of grace and creativity that turned a mere writing method into something much more important: the concrete example of how art could humanize technique, of how art and technique could be successfully combined to transform work into a masterpiece.

Adriano Olivetti’s project was so forward-thinking that it seems still innovative in our day; at the time, however, it was considered visionary, almost inspired by madness for greatness. And madness was the very innovative quality that psychoanalyst Cesare Musatti from Ivrea jokingly attributed to Adriano Olivetti.

“Adriano is technically mad.”
Cesare Musatti