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Olivetti Style. An aesthetic-social study


Carnevali B.

Course director

Rugini A.



The course will present and test the basic concepts of the social aesthetic approach by analysing what has gone down in history as the “Olivetti style”, the expression of an entrepreneurial culture attentive to political, ethical, and social values. By rereading Olivetti’s project of “total design” in relation to Adriano Olivetti’s political thinking and relating it to contemporary Italian history and economic reality, we will question the relevance of some proposals by Olivetti, asking how the approach to design has changed and whether we can describe Olivetti’s design as “utopian”.


The course aims to introduce students to the aesthetic-social approach, which questions the relationship between sensible forms and social and political forms, aesthetic styles and lifestyles, through an exemoplary case study: the “Olivetti Style” and the Adriano Olivetti’s project of “total” design (architecture, urbanism, artefacts, showrooms, advertisement).

Teaching mode

In presence

Learning methods

The seminar course includes lectures accompanied by picture presentations and a collective discussion. A study trip to Ivrea is planned during the course, with a group visit to the main Olivetti architectures and the Olivetti Historical Archives Association.

Examination information

The examination will consist of an oral discussion of the themes and concepts of the course: starting from one of the theoretical texts proposed in the bibliography, chosen by the student, it will involve commenting in an aesthetic-social key on a case or object of one's choice among an architecture, an urban planning project, an advertising campaign, a typewriter, an electronic calculator etc.

The exam will be held in English or Italian, depending on the student's language.