GIO PONTI: The 20th Century’s Renaissance Man

03/16/2011 § Leave a comment

Designer Feature, vol. 4

When you think renaissance man in the world of design Gio Ponti is your guy. This man was a painter, an industrial and furniture designer, an architect and the editor and founder of the quintessential Domus (1928) and Stile magazines.Born and raised in Milan, Ponti was an advent propagandist for the love of architecture and design which he wrote of in his 1957 collection of essays Amate l’Architettura (published in english as In Praise of Architecture).

Ponti utilized Domus to openly explore diverse topics of his concern and express his personal views all the while maintaining a clever openness that established the magazine as Europe’s most influential architecture and design magazine.

Gio Ponti was in Milan around the same time as the avant garde Futurists and Group 7 were exploring their ideas for radical change. Though he was around the key figures of these movements Ponti remained focused on finding the “finite form” in design rather than revolutionizing existing dogmas. He had his own ideals of design that bloomed from Modernism but were more particularly concerned with context, comfort, function, lightness and elegance. He was an admirer of Le Corbusier and the Bauhaus but was certainly not one of those “glass box boys”, as Frank Lloyd Wright once clarified.

Villa Planchart, Caracas 1955

Villa Planchart, Caracas 1955

Villa Planchart, Caracas – This classic Modernist house was designed in 1955. Here Ponti created almost every aspect of the project from the architecture and interiors to most of the furniture and objects as well.

Villa Planchart, Caracas 1955

Villa Planchart, Caracas 1955

Villa Planchart, Caracas 1955

Villa Planchart, Caracas – The garden from this house was designed by infamous Brazilian landscape architect who often worked with Niemeyer and was responsible for the original plans of Miami Beach’s Lincoln Road and the cobblestone boardwalks of Rio de Janeiro, Burle Marx.

Model for Villa Planchart in Domus 1955

His daughter summarized Ponti’s career with the following remarks, “Sixty years of work, buildings in thirteen countries, lectures in twenty-four, twenty-five years of teaching, fifty years of editing, articles in every one of the five hundred and sixty issues of his magazines, two thousand five hundred letters dictated, two thousand letters drawn, designs for a hundred and twenty enterprises, one thousand architectural sketches. It was a great deal, and all from one man”.

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INTERIOR DESIGN:

Villa Arreaza, Caracas 1956

Villa Arreaza, Caracas 1956

Villa Arreaza, Caracas 1956

Gio Ponti Hotel in Sorrento, IT

Gio Ponti Hotel in Sorrento, IT

Gio Ponti Hotel in Sorrento, IT

Gio Ponti Hotel in Sorrento, IT

1970 Il Manifesto della Casa Adatta by Gio Ponti

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FURNITURE & INDUSTRIAL DESIGN:

Bilia Table Lamp designed 1931 by Ponti is currently under production by Fontana Arte

0024 Lighting Pendant designed in 1931 by Ponti is also currently in production by Fontana Arte

Diamond Lounge Chairs by Gio Ponti

Designed in 1953 by Gio Ponti and made in Italy for Singer & Sons this table is available on 1st Dibs for $9,750

Flatware set designed in 1960 available for purchase on 1st Dibs

Superleggera Chairs in black and white from 1957 available on 1st Dibs

Italian walnut chest by Gio Ponti from 1950’s on 1st Dibs

Rocker from the 1950’s designed by Ponti produced by Cassina

Gio Ponti in Caracas, 1954

Design Museum – Gio Ponti

1st Dibs – Gio Ponti


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