Ettore Sottsass


Ettore Sottsass, the famed Italian designer, passed away on New Year's Eve. He designed the iconic Olivetti Valentine typewriter which was released on Valentine's Day, 1969.

“I worked 60 years of my life, and it seems the only thing I did is this fucking red machine,” he said (in a 2006 interview). “And it came out a mistake. It was supposed to be a very inexpensive portable, to sell in the market, like pens. It didn’t have capital letters, it didn’t have a bell [to let you know when you’d hit the end of a line]. I wanted the case to be inexpensive. Then the people at Olivetti said you cannot sell this kind of cheap Chinese thing. So, everything was put back: the capital letters, the bell, even the expensive plastic, which I was thinking would be this horrible, cheap plastic. So, it was a mistake.” – LA WEEKLY

Sottsass has also described the Valentine as "too obvious, a bit like a girl wearing a very short skirt and too much make-up." Nevertheless, the design of this machine – introduced near the end of the typewriter era – will forever be celebrated as one of Sottsass' great contributions.