Ettore Sottsass Jr. and Perry King


Sottsass studied architecture at Turin Polytechnic before opening The Studio, his office in Milan, in 1947. In 1956 he moved to New York City to work with George Nelson.

Perry A. King studied industrial design in England before moving to Italy in 1964. King later worked as a design coordinator for Corporate Image, where he worked with Santiago Miranda to design many typefaces, books, and posters.

In 1969 Sottsass and King designed the bright red Valentine portable typewriter for Olivetti. Sottsass stated that it "was invented for use anyplace except in an office, so as not to remind anyone of monotonous working hours, but rather to keep amateur poets company on quiet Sundays in the country or to provide a highly colored object on a table in a studio apartment."

Sottsass and King's subversion of the idea of a typewriter as a practical instrument has profoundly influenced contemporary designers such as Philippe Starck, for whom usefulness is only one part of the design equation.


From June 3, 2013, through early 2016, SFMOMA's building on Third Street in San Francisco will be temporarily closed for expansion construction. Selected artworks in our collection are included in a range of off-site exhibitions during this period. We regret that the remainder of the collection will not be available for study during this time.

In the meantime, we invite you to explore a wide selection of our collection online. Please note that the information presented online is subject to revision. Please contact us at collections@sfmoma.org to verify artwork details.

This resource is for educational use and its contents may not be reproduced without permission. Please review our Terms of Use for more information.