Unique and important coffee table

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  • Provenance

    Private collection, London

  • Exhibited

    Liberty, London, 1957

  • Literature

    'Mobili a Göteborg', Domus, no. 307, June 1955, p. 47 for a similar example
    Marco Romanelli, ed., Gio Ponti: A World, exh. cat., Design Museum, London, 2002, p. 68 for a similar example
    Ugo La Pietra, ed., Gio Ponti: L’arte si innamora dell’industria, New York, 2009, p. 196, figs. 413-15 for a similar example
    Laura Falconi, ed., Gio Ponti: Interiors, Objects, Drawings, 1920-1976, Milan, 2010, p. 166 for a similar example

  • Catalogue Essay

    Gio Ponti e il tavolino da caffè

    Among the most prolific talents to grace twentieth-century design, Gio Ponti defied categorisation. Though trained as an architect, he made major contributions to the decorative arts, designing in such disparate materials as ceramics, glass, wood, and metals. A gale force of interdisciplinary creativity, Ponti embraced new materials like plastic and aluminium 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, however, are those that he made in collaboration with master craftsmen such as the cabinetmaker Giordano Chiesa, who executed the following three lots.

    A 1950 Domus article described maestro Chiesa as “a man of great experience and infinite resources” who brought “extreme perfectionism and passionate care” to his work (no. 252, p. 29). Indeed, his talent is evident in the supreme craftsmanship of these three tables. Although, fine fabrication was not the ultimate objective for Ponti. As Marco Romanelli wrote, “Gio Ponti learned from craftsmen, from all craftsmen, and then, just as quickly, would forget and surprise again, free to break down those centuries-old barriers that ‘know-how’ so often erects.” (Gio Ponti: A World, p. 39)

    Lot 5, designed in 1937, shows the classical, yet playful design vocabulary of Ponti’s earlier furniture. The following in chronological order is lot 6, a set of three tables from 1948. It takes a traditional material, marble, and gives it an unconventional, modern form, breaking it up into sections that can function together as a single table, or separately as end tables. It was indicative of a larger trend towards multi – purpose furniture – for example, a 1955 Domus article published the same modular tables across from Osvaldo Borsani’s folding sofa for Tecno. Continuing with the theme of convertible furniture, Ponti designed lot 7 with folding wings. The adaptable design is luxurious in its use of rich, burled veneers, yet playful and unconventional, inviting interaction with the user. As Ponti wrote, “Some enjoyment is not to be excluded in furnishings; it is an ancient tradition.”

  • Artist Bio

    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

7

Gio Ponti

Unique and important coffee table

circa 1957
Walnut, burr walnut-veneered wood, brass.
37.3 x 150 x 122 cm (14 5/8 x 59 x 48 in.) fully extended
Executed by Giordano Chiesa, Milan, Italy. Together with a certificate of authenticity from the Gio Ponti Archives.

Estimate
£30,000 - 50,000 

sold for £86,500

Contact Specialist
Madalena Horta e Costa
Head of Sale
+44 20 7318 4019

Modern Masters: Design Evening Sale

London Auction 27 April 2016