Art & Decoration

Gio Ponti & Piero Fornasetti

Gio Ponti and Piero Fornasetti first worked together in 1933 forming an important relationship that would last for decades. Their collaboration intensified in the 1950s when Ponti brought Fornasetti to work with him on numerous prestigious projects. Ships, villas, hotels and above all the Italian bourgeoisie reaped the benefits of the duo’s partnership which proceeded according to an established and well-tested pattern: Ponti designed, Fornasetti decorated and Pietro Chiesa executed the designs.

Courtesy of Fornasetti and Gio Ponti: Le Maioliche, Manna

The following important bookcase, a unique work for a private commission, is representative of the best of their collaborative works. Ponti designed the bookcase with structured sides, tapered edges and shelves honed thin to give the work an overall sense of lightness. The handles are rendered exquisitely ‘a manina’ and Ponti has included a bar cabinet increasing the form’s functionality. Fornasetti, a master of trompe l’oeil, decorates the work in his iconic Libri motif; the stacked books decorating the cabinet doors provide illusionary unity and give the impression of a library.

With imperturbable patience he (Fornasetti) fills [functional objects] with drawn inventions, fictions, allusions, symbols...with evocations as well as slyness and sweetness; he fills them with illusions.

—Gio Ponti