Stories matter. The big, the small, the inspiring, the humorous, the quirky, and the simply serendipitous. This is one such tale. The story of a typewriter; found, lost, rediscovered. The Valentine Typewriter.
A design icon famous for its use of colour and form, and revered for its practicability. A design that challenged the stereotypical typewriting machines of the 1960s that were widely regarded as ‘dull and uninspiring to look atʼ(1). It was clever, every component considered and well designed, including the carry case which doubled as a wastepaper basket.
A couple of years ago Sarah, with her incredible eye for detail spotted the Valentine typewriter in the window of a vintage shop. She knew we had to have it. An inspiring design icon that just belonged at Valentine Interiors. Alas, the shop owner never responded to our inquiry.
A year later, looking through some old photos, Jane came across the picture of the Valentine typewriter. Literally, at that moment, she received a message from the original shop owner, asking if she would be interested in purchasing the typewriter. She did.
Some might call it coincidence, but to us, it’s simply serendipity. Today that Olivetti Valentine typewriter is ‘our’ design icon, sitting quietly in the studio, a constant reminder to believe in chance, to understand that good design considers form and function equally and that truly great design is timeless.
And that could have been the end of the story. However, just the other day whilst browsing at the Hobart Bookstore, Jane happened to flick a book called Great Designs: The world’s best design explored and explained, and low and behold right there on page 192 is the Valentine Typewriter, which we now know was designed in 1969 by Ettore Sottsass and Perry A. King. Yes, Jane, bought the book.
(1) Wilkinson, P (2019), Great Designs, Penguin Group, UK.