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Gio Ponti

Italian  •  1891-1979

Biography

Among the most prolific talents to grace twentieth-century design, Gio Ponti defied categorization. Though trained as an architect, he made major contributions to the decorative arts, designing in such disparate materials as ceramics, glass, wood and metal. A gale force of interdisciplinary creativity, Ponti embraced new materials like plastic and aluminum but employed traditional materials such as marble and wood in original, unconventional ways.

In the industrial realm, he designed buildings, cars, machinery and appliances — notably, the La Cornuta espresso machine for La Pavoni — and founded the ADI (Industrial Designer Association). Among the most special works by Gio Ponti are those that he made in collaboration with master craftsmen such as the cabinetmaker Giordano Chiesa, the illustrator Piero Fornasetti and the enamellist Paolo de Poli.

Insights

  • As of August 2016, Phillips holds four of the top five highest prices for Ponti pieces, including a unique and large dining table (circa 1959) that achieved £194,500 in the December 2015 Design Masters sale in London.

  • Gio Ponti founded Domus magazine with Giovanni Semeria. The first issue was published on 15 January 1928 and is still in print today.

  • In 1958 Alberto Pirelli hired Ponti to design the Pirelli Tower in Milan, which was one of the earliest Modern skyscrapers in Italy.

  • During the 1950s boom of ocean liners, Ponti was called in to design the interior of two new major Italian transatlantic liners: the Giulio Cesare and the Andrea Doria.

"Nothing has ever been done that hasn't been dreamed about first."

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