Iconic – Gio Ponti
Every month, Goodmoods investigates an iconic vintage piece, the history of its creation and the background to its manufacture.
Among the Italian figures who have marked post-war creation, Gio Ponti has probably had the most kaleidoscopic curriculum vitae: artist, designer, journalist, teacher, thinker, researcher… In a career spanning sixty years, the Italian has tried his hand at all the arts without ever neglecting any one.
The architecture of the Pirelli skyscraper, the interior of the Ange Volant and the Villa Planchart, the edition of the Domus magazine, again him. The creation of the 699 Superleggera chair? Always him. All his life, Gio Ponti has worked to bring the Italian flag to the forefront, using ingenuity and creativity. His trademark? The ornament, which he invokes with brilliance in each of his works.
Return on the most Iconic.
AN INTERIOR : THE VILLA PLANCHART
"Demand joyful homes, perfect for comforting your life, with beautiful architecture, serene, bright, clear, colorful and pure". No sooner said than done. In 1957, Gio Ponti signed a total work of art on the hills of San Roman in Caracas: the Villa Planchart. The result of an epistolary exchange of over 700 letters between the owners, art collectors and the Italian architect. Sublimated by ceramic, wood and aluminum inlays and illuminated by floor-to-ceiling skylights, the house is an ode to light and fantasy.
An icon: the Superleggera chair
At the same time as he was building the future emblematic Pirelli Tower, Gio Ponti sketched the first designs for the 664 Leggera. A true perfectionist, he decided to improve the object by taking inspiration from another emblematic chair of his country: the Chiavari. The result? In 1957, a piece as light as it is robust was born: the 699 Superleggera. With its 1.7 kilos, its ash wood and its seat in woven rush cane, the iconic chair stands out from the imposing lines of the time.
AN ARCHITECTURE: THE GRAN MADRE DI DIO
Less famous but just as impressive: The Gran Madre di Dio. With this sacred monument built in the 1970s, Ponti reinterprets the essentiality of the Romanesque churches of Puglia. A single material predominates on the exterior and interior: white reinforced concrete. The latter, pierced by square shapes all along the walls, bathes the pious room in an infinite light. The geometric shapes of the exterior façade add a decorative touch to this picturesque picture.
A MEDIUM: CERAMICS
From his beginning, Gio Ponti enamels this medium. From the panels of the Pirelli skyscraper to the neo-classical collections of the great Richard Ginori (now Ginori 1735) and the "Ponti Blue" collection designed for the Parco Dei Principi hotel in Naples, he has a special relationship with ceramics and uses them as a means of aesthetic research.