Giovanni Ponti, named Gio, was one of the most important Italian architects and designers of the postwar period. He was born in Milan on the 18th of November 1891 and died on the 16th of September 1979 in the same city.
Among Ponti’s works, not only his architectural works but also his serial production of objects of furniture characterized by a new design, taste and attention to detail and to the choice of materials are very renowned.
From the beginning, Ponti researches his personal version of the concept of home. He interprets the home not as a mere architectonic construction but also as internal décor and domestic object.
Gio Ponti’s debut
After the interruption of his studies due to the First World War, he graduates in architecture in 1921 at what will be the Politecnico of Milan. Immediately after the graduation, Gio Ponti opens a studio of architects together with Mino Fiocchi and Emilio Lancia. Later he collaborates with the engineers Antonio Fornaroli and Eugenio Soncini.
After his participation in the Biennale of decorative arts, he was involved in the organization of the Triennale of Milan and Monza. From the beginning, Ponti devoted himself not only to architecture but also to his great passion for art and craftsmanship.
During the ‘20s he dedicated himself to the activity of ceramic art designer thanks to the meeting with the executives of the Richard Ginori Ceramics Manufactory. From 1923 until 1930 Ponti renewed their entire production and cultivated his passion for ceramics.
The reflections on the use of this material are numerous and they are contained in “Amate l’architettura”, in 1957. The production of Richard Ginori is innovative and traditional at the same time. He realizes with the most advanced techniques dishes, vases and small sculptures, remaining inspired by the traditional craftsmanship.
The thirties and forties
In 1928, he founded the magazine Domus. Domus will represent the reference point of the cultural debate of the Italian architecture and design of the second half of the twentieth century. According to the Pontian thought, art, architecture and design must merge one with each other.
The aim is to create a comfortable environment both at the level of space and at the level of the “comfort of the soul”. Among the pages of the magazine there is space for the most disparate works that perfectly adhere to the modern spirit: not only houses or condominiums, but also bridges, infrastructures and factories.
During the thirties, he receives numerous national and international awards and he becomes, in 1936, a professor of the Faculty of Architecture of the Politecnico of Milan. In 1941 he founds the magazine Stile and during these years he begins his period of more intense activity in both architecture and design. In these years he also collaborated with Fornaroli and Rosselli.
The most renowned and debated Pontian work: the skyscraper
The most renowned work of Gio Ponti undoubtedly is the new headquarters of Pirelli, an exceptional example of the successful fusion between architects, engineers and clients. The aim was that of creating a work that once again combined the theory of art and those of the technique.
Especially thanks to this work, Gio Ponti gained fame abroad and from here on his commitments across the Alps will multiply. Among the works realized abroad the most notable are the famous Villa Planchart in Caracas, Villa Namazee and Teheran.
Gio Ponti and the interior design
In addition to the great architectural works, Gio Ponti has a great interest in the production of furniture. Ponti is a promoter of the Italian industrial design and he proposes mass production in interior design with sophisticated and modern solutions.
His three Milanese houses furnished entirely “alla Ponti” are the proof and demonstration of his love for the interior design. The three houses are the one in via Randaccio (1925), the one in via Brin (1957) and the last one in via Dezza, a true manifesto of his domestic design.