Design for a New World

Ponti at Mid-century

Gio Ponti was an indefatigable inventor always ready to engage with the new. The post-war atmosphere proved to be the perfect stimulus as there was a desire for life, reconstruction and change, not only among objects, but also in the overall Italian sense of taste. Ponti stepped forward to satisfy the needs and requirements for a new way of being, living and keeping home. Synthetic materials also played a leading role in the transformation; nylon, linoleum, foam rubber and Formica were all inexpensive, more practical, sturdier and easier to maintain and therefore these materials became instruments for stylistic and technological innovation. Ponti embraced these new materials in his designs.


Gio Ponti: L'Arte Si Innamora Dell'Industria, La Pietra

The Distex lounge chair was one of Ponti’s first experiments that would define design for the new world. The first version of the Distex is fully upholstered with feet made of ash. For the X Triennale the following year, Ponti significantly altered the design replacing ash with a svelte brass frame and open sides. This sleeker version of the Distex lounge was a radical departure from Ponti’s earlier works.


Domus, No. 312, November 1955

Ponti used the Distex in several of his major interior projects including the Alitalia office in New York and his own home on via Dezza 49. A success in both Italy and America, the Distex lounge is an icon of Ponti’s work in the 1950s.


Interiors, December 1954

Gio Ponti 1891–1979

Gio Ponti excelled at painting as a child and expressed a fervent interest in the arts. Feeling that a career in architecture was preferable to that of a painter, Ponti’s parents encouraged him to pursue the former and in 1914 he enrolled at the Faculty of Architecture at the Politecnico di Milano. His studies were interrupted by war, and in 1915 he was forced to postpone his education. He served as a captain in the Pontonier Corps until 1919, earning multiple military honors. After graduating in 1921, Ponti married Giulia Vimercati, the daughter of local aristocracy and started an architecture firm. During this time, Ponti aligned himself with the neoclassical movement, Novecento and championed a revival of the arts and culture. In 1928, Ponti founded Domus, a periodical tailored to artists and designers, as well as the broader public. A shift occurred in the 1930s when Ponti took up a teaching post at his alma mater, the Politecnico di Milano. In search of new methods to express Italian modernity, Ponti distanced himself from the sentiments of Novecento and sought to reconcile art and industry. Together with the engineers, Eugenio Soncini and Antonio Fornaroli, Ponti enjoyed great success in the industrial sector, securing various commissions throughout Italy. In the 1950s, he gained international fame with the design of the Pirelli Tower in Milan and he was asked to be a part of the urban renewal of Baghdad, collaborating with top architects from around the world. His 1957 book, Amate l’architettura, is considered to be a microcosm of his work —an incredible legacy spanning art, architecture, industrial design, publishing and academia.

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Upcoming Lots Gio Ponti

Auction Results Gio Ponti

GIO PONTI, Room from the 9th Triennale of Milan 1951 | Wright20.com

Gio Ponti

Room from the 9th Triennale of Milan 1951
estimate: $300,000–400,000
result: $324,000

GIO PONTI, custom coffee table from Villa Arreaza, Caracas | Wright20.com

Gio Ponti

custom coffee table from Villa Arreaza, Caracas
estimate: $50,000–70,000
result: $170,500

GIO PONTI, rare sofa for Palazzo Liviano, University of Padova | Wright20.com

Gio Ponti

rare sofa for Palazzo Liviano, University of Padova
estimate: $50,000–70,000
result: $161,000

GIO PONTI, coffee table from Villa Arreaza, Caracas, Venezuela | Wright20.com

Gio Ponti

coffee table from Villa Arreaza, Caracas, Venezuela
estimate: $50,000–70,000
result: $156,000

GIO PONTI, pair of Diamond armchairs from the Lisa Ponti residence, Milan | Wright20.com

Gio Ponti

pair of Diamond armchairs from the Lisa Ponti residence, Milan
estimate: $30,000–35,000
result: $144,000

GIO PONTI, custom coffee table from Via Dezza 49 | Wright20.com

Gio Ponti

custom coffee table from Via Dezza 49
estimate: $25,000–30,000
result: $134,400

GIO PONTI, executive desk | Wright20.com

Gio Ponti

executive desk
estimate: $70,000–90,000
result: $132,000

GIO PONTI, pair of Diamond lounge chairs from Via Dezza 49 | Wright20.com

Gio Ponti

pair of Diamond lounge chairs from Via Dezza 49
estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $132,000

GIO PONTI, coffee table | Wright20.com

Gio Ponti

coffee table
estimate: $100,000–125,000
result: $132,000

GIO PONTI, Rare lounge chairs, pair | Wright20.com

Gio Ponti

Rare lounge chairs, pair
estimate: $70,000–90,000
result: $131,000

GIO PONTI, Rare and Important coffee table | Wright20.com

Gio Ponti

Rare and Important coffee table
estimate: $70,000–90,000
result: $125,000

GIO PONTI, Diamond sofa from the Lisa Ponti residence, Milan | Wright20.com

Gio Ponti

Diamond sofa from the Lisa Ponti residence, Milan
estimate: $40,000–50,000
result: $120,000

GIO PONTI, Diamond sofa from Via Dezza 49 | Wright20.com

Gio Ponti

Diamond sofa from Via Dezza 49
estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $114,000

GIO PONTI, executive desk | Wright20.com

Gio Ponti

executive desk
estimate: $35,000–45,000
result: $106,200

GIO PONTI, pair of Diamond lounge chairs from Villa Arreaza, Caracas | Wright20.com

Gio Ponti

pair of Diamond lounge chairs from Villa Arreaza, Caracas
estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $100,900

GIO PONTI, rare Diamond dining table | Wright20.com

Gio Ponti

rare Diamond dining table
estimate: $70,000–90,000
result: $100,000

GIO PONTI, vessel from the Classical Conversation series | Wright20.com

Gio Ponti

vessel from the Classical Conversation series
estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $96,000

GIO PONTI, pair of lounge chairs from Villa Arreaza, Caracas | Wright20.com

Gio Ponti

pair of lounge chairs from Villa Arreaza, Caracas
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $92,500

GIO PONTI, custom armchairs, pair | Wright20.com

Gio Ponti

custom armchairs, pair
estimate: $50,000–70,000
result: $90,000

GIO PONTI, set of eight dining chairs from Villa Arreaza, Caracas | Wright20.com

Gio Ponti

set of eight dining chairs from Villa Arreaza, Caracas
estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $86,500

GIO PONTI, rare coffee table | Wright20.com

Gio Ponti

rare coffee table
estimate: $50,000–70,000
result: $80,500

GIO PONTI, important dining table from Villa Arreaza, Caracas | Wright20.com

Gio Ponti

important dining table from Villa Arreaza, Caracas
estimate: $50,000–70,000
result: $80,500

GIO PONTI, Diamond sofa from the Lisa Ponti residence, Milan | Wright20.com

Gio Ponti

Diamond sofa from the Lisa Ponti residence, Milan
estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $80,400

GIO PONTI, desk | Wright20.com

Gio Ponti

desk
estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $78,000

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