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.
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."
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