Professor Kay Bea Jones, Architecture
Professor Jones will discuss her forthcoming Fulbright research about the architecture of the Olivetti Company in Ivrea, Italy. The story of the world’s best designed and beloved typewriter is also the story of unique modern industrial vision and leadership. It’s the story of ennobling architecture for its dwellers when the well-being of its workers was the focus of that very industry. It is the story of graphic design that communicated through elegance and beauty a message of culture beyond the mere sale of its products. It is the story of media sponsorship that published the most erudite and humane scholars of the era. The story was widely read because an industry-sponsored press sought copyrights to publish banned books and great international literature for its workers. This is also a story of global expansion and economic miracles that provided equity and jobs for the disenfranchised at home. The story was told in every major city during the 1950s with showrooms as galleries. It is a story of urban design, planning, and community organization toward wholistic democratic aims. It is the story of revolutionary politics and international intrigue. This story and the town it produced was recognized by UNESCO in July of 2018. This is the story of Adriano Olivetti, his father and family, and his incomparable legacy. And it is a story we need to retell today.