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Corporate colours

Two books dedicated to the relationship Olivetti had with art narrate the spirit of a unique enterprise

The factory seen as a production site for culture and beauty, too, without concealing the hardship inherent in work and manufacturing, but actually juxtaposing it to the search for its more compelling and meaningful aspects.  Olivetti certainly is one of the most prominent and significant examples of such a production culture, which recreates itself every day, learns from the past and plans for the future. As such, learning as much as we can from Olivetti’s experience – through objects, images, texts, and the impressions gathered by Adriano Olivetti’s work, life and company – it’s a very useful undertaking.

This is also why reading the series of books dedicated to Olivetti e la cultura dell’impresa responsabile (Olivetti and responsible corporate culture), is both interesting and significant. So much so that the town council of Ivrea has decided to ‘translate’ them into a number of exhibitions and publications (a lengthy, complex effort made possible thanks to the collaboration with the Olivetti Historical Archive Association, Olivetti/TIM and the Garda di Ivrea Municipal Museum).

They all revolve around the artworks collected by Olivetti, now made available to the general public. A wealth of cultural heritage that includes artworks, documents, footage and photographs commissioned by the Olivetti society, and which asserts the value of culture as a factor in society’s growth – from factory to territory.

The recently published second volume (out of six), concerns the collaboration between Olivetti and Belgian artist Folon, selected as the emblematic example of the kind of relationship the company builds with contemporary artists. In 1969, Folon illustrated the first desk diary for Olivetti, as well as two gift books in the 1970s and then a calendar. He worked a long time for the company, focused on its graphics and design, and created the graphic artwork for its posters, gifts, gadgets, and advertising campaigns. An important alliance between enterprise and artist, which in this book (and at the exhibition in Ivrea) finds its perfect expression through colours, concepts, innovative graphics and challenging images.

This volume, focused on the relationship between Olivetti and Folon follows another one – part of the same initiative – that showcases the Olivetti Collection’s artworks, a collection that attempted to concretise and actualise the notion of beauty, a notion that should always exist in factories and offices.

Adriano Olivetti, the volumes’ preambles explain, thought that knowledge, beauty – or “grace”, in one word – should always accompany the days and hours of all the human beings that surrounded him, of all those people he met in the factories and around the world. Olivetti, in other words, believed he had to give back as “grace” what he was given by fate, and to those who asked him what the opposite of sin was, he replied, without hesitation, that it was not “virtue” but “grace”. He thought that generating beauty was a duty.

Indeed, the two books  in this series dedicated to Olivetti and responsible corporate culture impeccably narrate this human and entrepreneurial adventure.

Olivetti e la cultura dell’impresa responsabile. La Collezione Olivetti (Olivetti and responsible corporate culture. The Olivetti Collection)

Stefano Sertoli , Costanza Casali (curated by)
Paola Mantovani, Marcella Turchetti (testi) Paola Mantovani, Marcella Turchetti (texts)

Allemandi, 2021

Olivetti e la cultura dell’impresa responsabile. Olivetti e l’arte: Jean-Michel Folon (Olivetti and responsible corporate culture. Olivetti and art: Jean-Michel Folon)

Stefano Sertoli , Costanza Casali (curated by)
Paola Mantovani, Marcella Turchetti (testi) Paola Mantovani, Marcella Turchetti (texts)

Allemandi, 2022

Two books dedicated to the relationship Olivetti had with art narrate the spirit of a unique enterprise

The factory seen as a production site for culture and beauty, too, without concealing the hardship inherent in work and manufacturing, but actually juxtaposing it to the search for its more compelling and meaningful aspects.  Olivetti certainly is one of the most prominent and significant examples of such a production culture, which recreates itself every day, learns from the past and plans for the future. As such, learning as much as we can from Olivetti’s experience – through objects, images, texts, and the impressions gathered by Adriano Olivetti’s work, life and company – it’s a very useful undertaking.

This is also why reading the series of books dedicated to Olivetti e la cultura dell’impresa responsabile (Olivetti and responsible corporate culture), is both interesting and significant. So much so that the town council of Ivrea has decided to ‘translate’ them into a number of exhibitions and publications (a lengthy, complex effort made possible thanks to the collaboration with the Olivetti Historical Archive Association, Olivetti/TIM and the Garda di Ivrea Municipal Museum).

They all revolve around the artworks collected by Olivetti, now made available to the general public. A wealth of cultural heritage that includes artworks, documents, footage and photographs commissioned by the Olivetti society, and which asserts the value of culture as a factor in society’s growth – from factory to territory.

The recently published second volume (out of six), concerns the collaboration between Olivetti and Belgian artist Folon, selected as the emblematic example of the kind of relationship the company builds with contemporary artists. In 1969, Folon illustrated the first desk diary for Olivetti, as well as two gift books in the 1970s and then a calendar. He worked a long time for the company, focused on its graphics and design, and created the graphic artwork for its posters, gifts, gadgets, and advertising campaigns. An important alliance between enterprise and artist, which in this book (and at the exhibition in Ivrea) finds its perfect expression through colours, concepts, innovative graphics and challenging images.

This volume, focused on the relationship between Olivetti and Folon follows another one – part of the same initiative – that showcases the Olivetti Collection’s artworks, a collection that attempted to concretise and actualise the notion of beauty, a notion that should always exist in factories and offices.

Adriano Olivetti, the volumes’ preambles explain, thought that knowledge, beauty – or “grace”, in one word – should always accompany the days and hours of all the human beings that surrounded him, of all those people he met in the factories and around the world. Olivetti, in other words, believed he had to give back as “grace” what he was given by fate, and to those who asked him what the opposite of sin was, he replied, without hesitation, that it was not “virtue” but “grace”. He thought that generating beauty was a duty.

Indeed, the two books  in this series dedicated to Olivetti and responsible corporate culture impeccably narrate this human and entrepreneurial adventure.

Olivetti e la cultura dell’impresa responsabile. La Collezione Olivetti (Olivetti and responsible corporate culture. The Olivetti Collection)

Stefano Sertoli , Costanza Casali (curated by)
Paola Mantovani, Marcella Turchetti (testi) Paola Mantovani, Marcella Turchetti (texts)

Allemandi, 2021

Olivetti e la cultura dell’impresa responsabile. Olivetti e l’arte: Jean-Michel Folon (Olivetti and responsible corporate culture. Olivetti and art: Jean-Michel Folon)

Stefano Sertoli , Costanza Casali (curated by)
Paola Mantovani, Marcella Turchetti (testi) Paola Mantovani, Marcella Turchetti (texts)

Allemandi, 2022