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Olivetti Complex

Tokyo, Japan
1 of 1Fuck Yeah Brutalism

From the 1940s-1970s, the Italian-based Olivetti Typewriter Company was renowned for its design. It purchased the American Underwood Typewriter Company in 1959, and merged completely to form Olivetti-Underwood in 1963.

The company's offices and showrooms frequently exalted modernist architecture, furniture and its painting collection. Carlo Scarpa designed the Olivetti Showroom in Venice's Piazzo San Marco (1956-1958), Kenzo Tange the Olivetti Technical Centre and Warehouse in Yokoama, Tokyo (1970), and James Stirling the Olivetti Training Centre in Haslemere, Surrey (U.K., 1973).

Olivetti's Paris shop was adorned with Paul Klee's Spettro di guerriero (1930); the Rome shop on Via del Tritone with Renato Guttuso's Boogie-Woogie (1953).

Among the architects employed by Olivetti at the end of the fifties to plan factories and workshops was Le Corbusier. Le Corbusier's project was carried out in two phases between 1961 and 1962 but it was never completed. On the threshold of the seventies, another master of contemporary architecture, Louis I Kahn, worked in collaboration with Olivetti, planning the factory at Harrisburg in Pennsylvania (1967-70).

All these projects represent an interesting cross-fertilization between the technical knowledge of the production and the factory and the architectural culture.