The edgy beauty of the Olivetti Diaspron 82

Marcello Nizzoli, macchina da scrivere Diaspron 82, 1959 - typewriter

While he was designing the Diaspron 82 typewriter (1959), architect Marcello Nizzoli was also building the parish of the Sacred Heart in Canton Vesco, a quarter in Ivrea (Turin).

The church had been commissioned by Olivetti, the famous company where Nizzoli worked, and features stylistic peculiarities that some critics took as signs of a return, after “years of formal freedom, intuition and imagination […], to linear and prominently rectangular structures”. Indeed, the building is “edgy and faired” with “segmented and fragmented plains”: it even evokes the Diaspron 82 typewriter in a way (translated from G. Celant, in “Marcello Nizzoli”, Edizioni di Comunità, Milan 1968).

Formal freedom, intuition and imagination certainly belonged to Nizzoli’s creativity. Ten years before the Diaspron, another typewriter of his had been launched on the market: the famous Lexikon 80, whose organic-sculptural shape and functionality are featured in the permanent collection of New York MoMA.

The Diaspron inherited most of the Lexikon’s mechanics, and was a great commercial success. Here she is, in all of her edgy beauty.

April 27, 2016