New lease of life for the Olivetti Synthesis Spazio series furniture, used after careful renovation to furnish the headquarters of the industrial development and management consulting company, New Venture Development
The bond between the historical Ivrea-based company and New Venture Development (NVD), founded in 1996, again in Ivrea, at the initiative of former Olivetti managers who capitalised the extensive experience in the Group during the years of strong growth, dates far back. This according to the Chairman of NVD, Mario Ciofalo, who joined Olivetti in the 60s, with assignments in positions of increasing responsibility in marketing and sales, up to the role of general manager of the Systems and Services division in '95.
“NVD is a business development and consulting company founded with the objective of launching business initiatives in the advanced technology sector – points out Ciofalo. In the initial development phase, consistent with the capital we were able to raise, we chose to support start-ups and companies to be relaunched, to then focus, following the economic crisis of 2008, on the most promising group companies. These include Microlys, specialising in the design and production of impact technology print heads and Tiesse that designs and manufactures routers for fixed and mobile networks suitable for business and mission critical applications. Companies that have invested in research and development, achieving important goals, such as the recent Enel tender for the 'Puglia Active Network' project awarded to Tiesse, which on this occasion beat the competition from major industry players with a ready, complete and innovative Smart Grid product offer".
But the wealth of knowledge and values that Mario Ciofalo, lover of art and modernity, brought with him also includes a passion for the "Olivetti style" that distinguished the production of office machines and furniture; a design which, ahead of its time, immediately communicated the function of the product, facilitating its use.
Hence the decision to furnish the NVD offices with desks, bookcases and storage units of the Spazio Series, designed in 1960 by the BBPR firm of architects Barbiano di Belgiojoso, Peressutti and Rogers.
“This is furniture used by Olivetti itself and decommissioned in ’97 – points out Ciofalo –. I managed to buy it and have it renovated with an original colour paint job, recovering the baize that covered the desk tops directly from Olivetti Synthesis, the factory in Massa where this furniture was produced, at that time still operating although close to closing down. I have always thought the Spazio series was a beautiful line of furniture, because although it was made with industrial processes, it maintained a strong artisan quality component that emerges when observing the system elements, different from one another in small details".
The office is thus a "timeless" environment that combines modernity with works of art and sculptures by artists such as Salvatore Fiume, Paul Troubetzkoy, Gastone Bai, Vittorio Sepa, Sergio Staino, Ernesto Di Giacomo and Antonio Nunziante.
The Spazio series represents the turning point in the development strategy of the Olivetti Synthesis office furniture division: from the production of individual pieces it progressed to the implementation of a true furniture system, available in different compositions. In fact, while the company was originally characterised by the production of filing cabinets and typewriter supports, starting from the '60s it expanded production with furniture lines designed according to the criteria of modularity.
Made of metal and plastic, this collection - which includes desks, cabinets and bookcases - is one of the first examples of total design of a workplace according to a strictly industrial logic. The project, in interpreting the materials and in the geometric approach, made different compositions possible to adapt to different kinds and levels of offices, in particular to "open space" layouts. Values which, combined with the design quality, in 1962 saw the Spazio series win the prestigious Compasso d'Oro award.
It was the beginning of a new story, which was to lead the Massa-based company, in the space of just a few years, to invest in new furniture lines that further enhanced the principle of modularity, such as the Arco Series (1962), the E Series, Quadrum (1967) and Synthesis 45 designed by Ettore Sottsass in 1973.
Active in Piedmont, in particular in the Canavese area, New Venture Development (NVD) is focused on company creation and development, as well as on entrepreneur replacement. Typically it operates as a parent company and, at the request of its portfolio companies, can also act as the main investor, in order to attract and motivate other sources of funding and support for the business development of the company concerned.
The group's companies operate in the development of mechatronic products (Microlys), hardware and software products, routers and M2M devices in the networking and IoT sector for mission critical applications (Tiesse) and traditional software solutions and services, either based on mobile and internet (Localport) or business services (NVD Trading).