Aarchitect and Design Icon Gio Ponti, born just before the turn of the 20th century, always sought the perfect balance between the ornate past and the modern ideal in his work. His style is easily recognised by the hommage it pays to the classical, while simultaneously looking forward to the next innovations in technology and design. Like so many other Design Icons, Ponti was not only an architect, but also a writer, teacher and designer.

From 1928 until his death in 1979, Ponti published and edited the influential design and architecture magazine Domus. Furthermore, like so many other Design Icons, he had the tendency to design buildings right down to the drawer pulls and doorknobs.

His signature furniture design might well be the Superleggera (meaning superlight) chair, providing a new perspective on traditional Italian country furniture. It is easily recognisable by the elegant, tapered legs. These tapered legs (sometimes tapped with brass) are a feature of many other furniture designs by Ponti, such as the Diamont Lounge Chair, which give his work a wonderful sense of lightness. The fact that current interior designers incorporate vintage Ponti items in their designs, is proof that his influence on design is still felt today. Here’s a limited impression of his vast work, enjoy and be inspired.

Aarchitect and Design Icon Gio Ponti, geboren vlak voor 1900, zocht altijd naar de perfecte balans tussen het “overdadige” verleden en het “strakke, sobere” heden van zijn tijd. Zijn ontwerpstijl is makkelijk te herkennen aan de kniebuiging die hij maakt naar het klassieke, terwijl hij tegelijkertijd de technologische innovaties verwerkte in zijn werk. Zoals zoveel Design Icons in deze serie, was Ponti niet alleen een architect, maar ook schrijver, leraar en ontwerper. Vanaf 1928 tot aan zijn dood in 1979, was Ponti de uitgever en hoofdredacteur van het Italiaanse invloedrijke en toonaangevende tijdschrift Domus. En net als de andere Design Icons, had Ponti de gewoonte om niet alleen een gebouw te ontwerpen, maar ook de hele inrichting, tot aan de deurkrukken aan toe.

Zijn bekendste ontwerp is waarschijnlijk zijn Superleggera (ultra-licht) stoel. Deze stoel bracht het traditionele Italiaanse, wat zware, boeren meubilair in een nieuw perspectief. Het is makkelijk te herkennen aan de elegante, toelopende stoelpoten. Dit soort elegante stoelpoten (soms omhuld met brons) zijn een bekende eigenschap in meer van Ponti’s ontwerpen. Zo zijn ze terug te vinden in de Diamont Lounge Chair. Ze geven zijn ontwerpen een prachtige “lichtheid”. Het feit dat huidige interior-designers Ponti’s creaties geregeld verwerken in hun ontwerpen, is het bewijs dat zijn invloed op Design nu nog steeds voelbaar is. Hieronder volgt een kleine impressie van zijn enorme oevre, geniet en “be inspired”!

 

Gio Ponti VKV Visuals

Dining set of Superleggera (meaning superlight) chairs designed in 1957 by Gio Ponti, manufactured by Cassina – via Archiexpo

Gio Ponti VKV Visuals

Diningroom with the Superleggera chairs (1957), a Saarinen Tulip table (1958) and spectacular bronze wallpanels and black marble floor – via ScandinavianCollectors

Interior designed by French Jean-Louis Deniot where he combines a vintage Gio Ponti chair with a Jacques Adnet desk and a C. Jere lamp - via Elle Decor

Interior designed by French interior designer Jean-Louis Deniot where he combines a vintage Gio Ponti chair with a Jacques Adnet desk and a C. Jere lamp – via Elle Decor

Gio Ponti VKV Visuals

A walnut Gio Ponti wardrobe as seen in designer Thomas O’Brien’s home – via Architectural Digest

Gio Ponti VKV Visuals

Renovated farm building in the UK, re-designed by Woollacott Gilmartin Architects, using the Easy Chairs designed for Cassina in 1958 by Gio Ponti – via Elle Decor

Entrance hall of the Milan flagship store Villa Meissen designed by Gio Ponti

Entrance hall of the Milan flagship store Villa Meissen designed by Gio Ponti

Vintage glass-top table used as a desk by Californian interior designer Michael S. Smith - via Elle Decor

Vintage glass-top table used as a desk by Californian interior designer Michael S. Smith – via Elle Decor

Contemporary leather armchair by Gio Ponti

The Via Dezze chair, designed in 1957 for his own home, and now reproduced by Italian furniture company Molteni – via ArchiExpo

Gio Ponti VKV Visuals

The Diamont Lounge Chair, 1956, designed for his Caracas, Venezuela house – via DailyIcon

Gio Ponti VKV Visuals

The Lotus lounge chair, 1954, as seen in Ponti’s Villa Planchart in Caracas, time for a remake – via Pinterest

Interior of the Hotel Parco dei Principi, Sorrento designed by Gio Ponti - via Domusweb

Interior of the Hotel Parco dei Principi, Sorrento designed by Gio Ponti – via Domusweb

The 969 chair, designed in 1933 by Ponti, as featured in Jade Jagger's top 10 design picks - via Alto Magazine

The 969 chair, designed in 1933 by Ponti, as featured in Jade Jagger’s top 10 design picks – via Alto Magazine

Gio Ponti VKV Visuals

The Settebello Armchair designed for the Settebello high-speed train in 1953 – via CasatiGallery

The Coffee Table, designed in 1920, now selling for an amazing USD 100.000, anyone interested? - via Design Buzz

The Coffee Table, designed in 1920, now selling for an amazing USD 100.000, anyone interested? – via Design Buzz

I love this elegant bronze and frosted glass chandelier, which Ponti designed for the Hotel Parco dei Principi in 1964 - via Casati Gallery

I love this elegant bronze and frosted glass chandelier, which Ponti designed for the Hotel Parco dei Principi in 1964 – via Casati Gallery

Brass candleholder by Gio Ponti - via 1stDibs

Brass candleholder by Gio Ponti – via 1stDibs

Hand sculpture - via La Boheme

Hand sculpture – via La Boheme

The Dormitio chair, minimalist perfection designed in 1950 by Ponti - via Ecclectic Living Home

The Dormitio chair, minimalist perfection designed in 1950 by Ponti – via Ecclectic Living Home

Gio Ponti VKV Visuals

The master himself, photographed in 1955 – via Yatzer

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