Gio Ponti (1891-1979)

Italian architect and designer, born and active Milan, Italy. In 1921, he earned an architecture degree from the Politecnico di Milano.

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Afterwards, he assumed the post of artistic director at the Richard Ginori porcelain manufactory. There, driven by his belief that good design should not be an inaccessible luxury, he reworked the entire product line, making it suitable for mass production.

This conviction would characterize his postwar work in particular, when, thanks to a combination of technological advances and his visionary aesthetic, he introduced dozens of practical, beautiful, and economical products to a mass audience, establishing himself as the founder of modern Italian design.

Ponti´s work is remarkable not only for its quality, but also for its astonishing breadth: He designed in almost every conceivable medium, and with such facility that critics have found it convenient to dismiss him as a dilettante.But whether editing his famed journal Domus, designing costumes for La Scala, typewriters, espresso machines, buildings, automobile bodies, furniture, or ceramics each project bore the unmistakable stamp of Ponti´s signature whimsical intelligence.

Some of his best-loved products include the Superleggera chair (1957), manufactured by Cassina, an ensemble of playfully humanoid flasks dating from 1956, and the Fato light (1969). Also notable is his graceful Pirelli tower in Milan (1956), which he designed with architectural engineer Luigi Nervi.

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