Gio Ponti al lavoro sugli oggetti da tavola per Ceramica Franco Pozzi, circa 1967. � G. Ponti archives / S. Licitra - Milan.
Hotel Parco dei Principi, Sorrento, 1960. � G. Ponti archives / S. Licitra - Milan.
Gio Ponti (18 November 1891, Milan - 16 September, 1979, Milan) was one of the most important Italian architects, industrial designers, artists, and publishers of the twentieth century.
His parents were Enrico Ponti and Giovanna Rigone. In 1921, he married Giulia Vimercati; they had four children and eight grandchildren.
A Brave Man
Gio Ponti did military service during World War I in the Pontonier Corps with the rank of captain, from 1916 to 1918, receiving the Bronze Medal and the Miliitary Cross.
Gio Ponti graduated with a degree in Architecture in 1921 from the Politecnico di Milano University.
After graduating, he set up a practice together with the architects Mino Fiocchi and Emilio Lancia in Milan.
As an Architect
Among other projects, Gio Ponti in 1950 designed the Pirelli Tower for the famous Pirelli businessman. This was the first skyscraper built in Milan.
Gio Ponti, Villa Arreaza, Caracas 1956. � G. Ponti archives / S. Licitra - Milan.
During his long professional life as an architect, Gio Ponti went into various partnerships. In the early years of his work, he teamed with Lancia (Studio Ponti e Lancia, PL: 1926-1933); then with engineers Antonio Fornaroli and Eugenio Soncini (Studio Ponti-Fornaroli-Soncini, P.F.S.:1933-1945). In 1952 he went into partnership with the architect Alberto Rosselli (Studio Ponti-Fornaroli-Rosselli, P.F.R.: 1952-1976); after the death of Rosselli he continued to work with his long time partner Antonio Fornaroli.
As a Designer
Gio Ponti's main works as an Industrial Designer can be classified as follows:
* Ceramic objects production: maiolica vases, porcelain, sanitaryware (like sinks and toilets (e.g. those created for Richard Ginori and Ideal Standard)
* Chairs: among others, he worked for Cassina designing an angular armchair, named "Distex", and the very famous 1957 "Superleggera" (Superlight) chair, which was very strong but also so light that it could be lifted up by a child using just one finger. Also very famous is the "Due Foglie" sofa.
* Glass bottles: he designed stylish, colourful glass bottles for various companies such as Venini.
* Lamps: for companies such as Artemide, Fontana Arte, Venini, he created two types of lamps: those provided with very shining, intense colours, and those with a minimalist aesthetic, simple and essential. Among the latter, one of the most famous is the "Billia" lamp, which looks modern today while it was designed for Fontana Arte in 1931.
From 1923 came his public debut at the first Biennial Exhibition of the Decorative Arts in Monza, which was followed by his involvement in organising the subsequent Triennial Exhibitions of Monza and Milan.
From 1923 to 1930 Ponti worked at the Manifattura Ceramica Richard Ginori, in Milan and Sesto Fiorentino, changing the company's whole output. His wife was the factory owner's daughter.
In 1928 he founded Domus magazine. In 1941 he resigned as editor of Domus and set up Stile magazine, which he edited until 1947. In 1948 he returned to Domus, where he remained as editor until his death.
From 1936 to 1961 he worked as a professor on the permanent staff of the Faculty of Architecture at Politecnico di Milano University.
Gio Ponti received many awards for his work, coming from his endless creativity. In 1934 he was given the title of "Commander" of the Royal Order of Vasa in Stockholm. He also obtained the Accademia d'Italia Art Prize for his artistic merits, as well as a gold medal from the Paris Académie d'Architecture. Finally, he obtained a honorary Doctorate from the London Royal College of Art.
* Ponti, Lisa Licitra, Gio Ponti, The Complete Work, 1928-1978, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1990
* Green, Keith Evan, Gio Ponti and Carlo Mollino: Post-war Italian Architects and the Relevance of Their Work Today , Edwin Mellen Press, 2006
* La Pietra, Ugo, Gio Ponti, Rizzoli International, 1996
* Universo, Mario, Gio Ponti designer: Padova, 1936-1941, Laterza, 1989
* Doumato, Lamia, Gio Ponti (Architecture series--bibliography), Vance Bibliographies, 1981
Who I'd like to meet:
- Status: Single
- Zodiac Sign: Scorpio