If the chronicle of my life should one day be written, a chapter of it should be called 'A Passion for Fornasetti'.

Gio Ponti

Fantasia

Gio Ponti and Piero Fornasetti at Casa Lucano

In 1951, Gio Ponti was commissioned to design the interior of Casa Lucano, a private apartment in Milan. For decoration, Ponti turned to his friend and collaborator, Piero Fornasetti who incorporated a frenzy of patterns on wall coverings, curtains. several chairs and sofas for the interior. The present lot is a prototype chair design by Ponti, featuring Fornasetti’s Balsami e profumi upholstery designed exclusively for Casa Lucano. Ultimately, this chair was not included in the final interior, but the Balsami e profumi pattern appears on the curtains and wall panels of the famed interior. 

In a 1953 article for Domus titled Una casa di “fantasia” or A House of “Fantasia”, Ponti reflected on the success of the commission: “The cheerful understanding of extremely polite patrons made it possible for me to create a solution for the petite home by basing it on the reversible play between a suite of rooms and views. Looking from the living room toward the bedroom, through doors and glass cases, everything seems to be primarily in Ferrara briar-root arranged à la Ponti (a natural fantasia); looking in the other direction, from the bedroom to the living room, everything seems to be printed by Fornasetti (a human fantasia), meaning it all seems somewhat weightless and flat, since the print techniques abolish volume: these walls are walls to read. This is the ‘key’ to this apartment, to this fantastical habitation: this is its ‘architecture,’ if it can be called that, but it would be more appropriate to say that this is its ‘scenario,’ with its related mutations of almost theatrical scenes.”

Gio Ponti and 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.

Auction Results Gio Ponti and Piero Fornasetti

GIO PONTI AND PIERO FORNASETTI, Important sideboard | wright20.com

Gio Ponti and Piero Fornasetti

Important sideboard

result: $240,000
GIO PONTI AND PIERO FORNASETTI, Madrepore dining suite | wright20.com

Gio Ponti and Piero Fornasetti

Madrepore dining suite

estimate: $70,000–90,000
result: $173,000
GIO PONTI AND PIERO FORNASETTI, secretaire | wright20.com

Gio Ponti and Piero Fornasetti

secretaire

estimate: $90,000–120,000
result: $140,000
GIO PONTI AND PIERO FORNASETTI, armchair | wright20.com

Gio Ponti and Piero Fornasetti

armchair

estimate: $50,000–70,000
result: $60,000
GIO PONTI AND PIERO FORNASETTI, Important bookcase | wright20.com

Gio Ponti and Piero Fornasetti

Important bookcase

estimate: $50,000–70,000
result: $50,000
GIO PONTI AND PIERO FORNASETTI, Madrepore table and four armchairs | wright20.com

Gio Ponti and Piero Fornasetti

Madrepore table and four armchairs

estimate: $25,000–30,000
result: $48,000
GIO PONTI AND PIERO FORNASETTI, lounge chair from Vembi-Burroughs, Genoa | wright20.com

Gio Ponti and Piero Fornasetti

lounge chair from Vembi-Burroughs, Genoa

estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $36,000
GIO PONTI AND PIERO FORNASETTI, Architettura cabinet | wright20.com

Gio Ponti and Piero Fornasetti

Architettura cabinet

estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $21,850