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If you happen to be on vacation in Venice, Italy, then take advantage of stopping by the former Olivetti shop, now a mini-museum. The once derelict Olivetti shop designed by that great master of Italian twentieth century architecture, the architect Carlo Scarpa has been expertly restored last year by the Italian FAI (Fondo per l’ambiente Italiano) into a mini-museum. Incidentally Scarpa also designed that other great design icon shop, the Gavina shop in Bologna which in my opinion should be another mini-museum but is not!

The former shop is located at the Piazza San Marco on the left side under the porticos when you face the water. It is a corner store with superb detailing.

A few Euros gets you in for a short guided tour! The unforgettable superbly designed Olivetti products were the best designed Italian typewriters and adding machines and were sold at one time in New York in their own shop as well. In 1979, Olivetti opened a research facility in Cupertino, California. Another famous Italian Architect Gae Aulenti designed an Olivetti shop, this one  in Paris in 1967 but she is better known for the revamping of the old train station there into the Musee d’Orsay in 1987.

Great Italian architect/designers like Marcello Nizzoli (divisumma  adding machine 1956), Ettore Sottsass jr. (portable Valentine typewriter 1969) and Mario Bellini (logos 3 calculator 1978) all worked for the Olivetti company at one time or another in their careers. Check out the period lighting fixtures here as well. The Olivetti shop is one of the best venues in mid century modernism in Venice apart from the Pierre Cardin furniture shop which you will have to find on your own. There certainly is more Carlo Scarpa in Venice for you to visit, trust me.

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