Gio Ponti - Disruptors: Evening Sale of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Design and Watches Hong Kong Thursday, May 25, 2023 | Phillips
  • Literature

    Singer & Sons, sales catalogue, n.p.

  • Catalogue Essay

    This pair of armchairs from the sought-after 'Modern by Singer' series presents an attractive, streamlined and distinctly modern form. Made with teak frames including small brass details on the armrests and fabric upholstery, they reveal Ponti's design vision and ability to repurpose designs for important private commissions for mass manufacturing. Indeed, the silhouette of these works recalls some remarkable pieces he created for Casa Marmont in Milan and the Andrea Doria ocean liner.

    Ponti's design philosophy aimed to bridge the gap between tradition and modernity, resulting in pieces that exuded elegance and a ground-breaking novelty of shapes and construction. The teak frames of these armchairs have a warm appeal and a slender line. The individually upholstered and very comfortable seat and backrest complement the organic curves of the frames’ silhouettes. As a pair, these graceful and versatile armchairs offer a balanced aesthetic that enhances any interior setting.

    The collaboration between Gio Ponti and the prestigious New York furniture manufacturer Singer & Sons in New York was an important stage of his design career. This partnership allowed him to bring his inventive designs to life on an international scale and benefit from the period of economic boom that characterised the immediate post-war years. Joe Singer, the manager of Singer & Sons at the end of the 1940s, recognised the rising trend toward modernist aesthetics and sought to incorporate modern styles into the company's production line. He reached out to Ponti to establish a partnership, where Singer & Sons would sell and assemble Ponti's designs in the United States, many of which, such as these armchairs, are now preserved in the Gio Ponti Archives.

    Ponti and head American designer Bertha Schaefer collaborated to create the ‘Modern by Singer’ furniture line which debuted in 1951 and boasted the strikingly simple forms synonymous with modern design, along with the use of luxurious woods and finishes. This collection propelled Singer & Sons to the forefront of the American furniture industry, championing modern tastes and captivating a new audience of American collectors who became newly appreciative of Ponti's designs. The pieces manufactured and marketed by Singer & Sons which were rooted in Italian design heritage and solidified their enduring legacy in the modern furniture industry.

  • Artist Biography

    Gio Ponti

    Italian • 1891 - 1979

    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.

    View More Works


Pair of armchairs, model no. 247, from the 'Modern by Singer' series

teak, fabric, brass
each 68.9 x 62 x 67.5 cm. (27 1/8 x 24 3/8 x 26 5/8 in.)
Circa 1953. Manufactured by Singer & Sons, New York. Together with a certificate of expertise from the Gio Ponti Archives.

HK$100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for HK$114,300

Contact Specialist

Anastasia Salnikoff
Head of Mid-Season Sales
+852 2318 2014

Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2001

Disruptors: Evening Sale of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Design and Watches

Hong Kong Auction 25 May 2023