Here in 2023 we carry small screens in our pocket–and have gigantic ones on our workstations, in our living rooms and even in our cars. So it might be difficult to imagine a time when screens were not as important, and even a desk-sized unit could have a tiny screen.
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Starkly futuristic for the time, the screen was so secondary (to the task of facing the human being sitting across from the desk) that it’s placed off-center to the side, enabling the user to glace at it briefly to glean the required information needed to inform the human face-to-face conversation.
Keyboards were bulky objects back then, and the bulk of this one is hidden beneath the desk surface, allowing for something like a flush appearance.
As for the form, Mario Bellini Architects writes “The search for a new ‘work station machine’ iconography was supported by the use of a tool foreign to Euclidean geometry and based on the theory of elastic membranes.”