Giò PONTI

1891-1979

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Status, price and estimation of Giò PONTI

Price of a piece of furniture signed Giò PONTI at auction: 1,000 – 100,000 €.

Estimated cost of a luminaire: €1,500 – €40,000

Average estimate for a Gio Ponti object: €500 – €45,000

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The early years: from ceramics to architecture

Giovanni, known as Gio Ponti, was born in Milan on 19 November 1891. He was the son of Enrico Ponti and Giovanna Rigone. Following standard schooling, in 1913 he began studying architecture at the Polytechnic School, from which he did not graduate until the end of the First World War, which broke out a year later. He himself took part in the conflict as a captain in the engineering corps: from this experience he drew many decorations, watercolours of his companions and memories of the architecture he experienced as a soldier.

Three years after the end of the war, in 1921, he finally graduated from the Polytechnic and married Giula Vimercarti, and they had four children together. During this period, Gio Ponti was close to the Milanese artists known as neo-classical. From 1923 onwards, he worked with Richard-Ginori in a ceramics company, a collaboration that gave new vitality to this type of production?

At the first International Exhibition of Decorative Arts in Monza, in 1923, he presented pieces in porcelain and majolica of classical inspiration. There he met Ugo Ojetti, who was to play a major role in his later production. Two years later, in 1925, Ponti designated his first house in Via Randaccio, which he lived in himself.

Openness to architecture

In 1927, he opened his first architectural practice with Emilio Lancia. His training, which he himself describes as “classical”, and his taste for pictorial art are the credo of his creations. Gio Ponti developed a new approach to housing, the typical example being the Villa Bouilhet (Garches), which combined architecture, decoration and interior design. A year later, he founded the magazine Domus with Gianno Mazzochi, whose ambition was to disseminate new ideas for design, architecture and art objects. The magazine thus contributed to the discovery of modernism and its representatives, Le Corbusier, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Jean-Michel Frank or Marcel Breuer, by Italian readers.

Although Domus was initially focused on Italy, it increasingly opened up to the world and played a leading role in the history of architecture and design. In 1931, he returned to design by joining the Luigi Fontana Factory, which a year later became Fontana Arte.

Acclaim in the 1940s

Temporarily abandoning Domus, Ponti created the magazine Stile. His role as editor from 1947 gave him the opportunity to spread his artistic and architectural culture, participating in the attempt to create a “new art of living”. It was in these years that Ponti multiplied his projects and showed a new interest in the decorative arts, collaborating for example with Venini and de Poli. The search for luminosity and spatial fluidity was one of his primary concerns.

In 1954, Ponti invented the famous Compasso d’Oro (Golden Compass), while his theory of finite form became the cornerstone of his work in such famous projects as the Villa Planchart and Villa Arreaza in Caracas and the Villa Nemazee in Tehran. In 1956, he signed his most famous work: the Pirelli Tower (Milan).

In the 1970s, Gio Ponti remained a reference and created memorable works such as the Denvert Art Museum and the Cathedral of Taranto (1970). He died in 1979 at the age of 87 in Milan.

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