Italy (1891-1979)

Gio Ponti studied architecture at Politecnico di Milano. In 1921, he worked in an architectural office, Milan, with Mino Fiocchi and Emilio Lancia. In 1923 until 1930, Ponti designed Wiener Werkstätte-inspired ceramics produced by Richard Ginori. Gio Ponti was a director of the Biennale di Monza (later named Triennale di Milano) from 1925 to 1979, serving as head of the executive board (1924-1939), and, in 1956, became a founding member of ADI (Associazione per il Disegno Industriale). From 1927, Gio Ponti worked with glass maker Paolo Venini. In 1928, he founded the journal Domus, serving as its first editor 1938 to 1941 and 1948 to 1979. Ponti worked in a studio at Milan with Antonio Fornaroli and Eugenio Sohcini. Piero Fornasetti became a student of Ponti and, subsequently, protégé and assistant, designing the Lunari and collaborating with Ponti on a number of projects in their distinctive 17th decorated by Fornasetti. From the 1930’s, Ponti designed enamels for Paolo di Poli, Mosaics for Gabbianelli, printed fabrics, flatware, ceramic tiles, automobile bodies, lighting, sewing machines, 1951 cutlery by Krupp of Essen, 1953 sanitary equipement by Ideal-Standard, and stage sets at La Scala in Milan. His work was Modern in essence but drew on traditional motifs and imagery. Before abandoning his neo-classical orientation, Ponti served on the executive committee of the 1933 (V) Triennale di Milano. From 1936 to 1961, Gio Ponti taught at the Politecnico di Milano. He became Italy’s best know postwar architect. For his first (1936) Montecatini building in Milan, he designed everything down to door knobs and sanitary fittings. In 1945, Ponti founded the journal Stile, of which he was director until 1947. His best know building was the 1956 Pirelli office tower. Gio Ponti was influential on a number of younger designers and employees, including Lino Sabatini and Richard Sapper, who worked in his office. Ponti’s clients for furniture included Arflex, Cassina, Snger and the Nordiska Kompaniet. His toilet fixture for Ideal Standard was a classic in its field. He wrote nine books, edited eight books alone and with others.