Book Club: Gio Ponti appears as a personal & exclusive special edition

"Even if Ponti wasn't intentionally saving resources, but rather living the impression of lightness, his approach can be transferred to our time"

gio ponti
Source & Copyright by Taschen Verlag

Taschen Verlag presents Gio Ponti's works in a new XL edition plus a limited Art Edition, honouring the life of this exceptional artist. The editor of the book is the Berlin-based art director Karl Kolbitz. Inspired by Italy's architecture , Karl produced his first book "Entryways of Milan". During his research of the architectural niche in Milan, he was able not only to put together his own work, but also to meet Gio Ponti's grandson.

This connection to the Gio Ponti archive and the success of Entryways of Milan led to a personal invitation by Ponti's grandson for Karl Kolbitz to work on the new XL Gio Ponti version and special edition. A tribute to the Italian architect, designer and artist.

At Haus von Eden, Karl Kolbitz gives exclusive insights into the kaleidoscopic universe of Ponti.

Gio Ponti

Source & Copyright by Taschen Verlag

Our special edition honours Gio Ponti in a new way

The new special edition is limited to 1000 pieces and consists of the Gio Ponti book as well as four prints and a table. The prints are replicas of interior drawings that Ponti designed for cruise ships. In the 40s, he was invited to design interior concepts for the individual rooms - starting from the lounge to the rooms to the restaurant. Often in collaboration with other artists, he saw in these ships a showcase of Italian creativity and the excellence of Italian craftsmanship. This was particularly important for Ponti, as the country had to reposition itself after the war.

Gio Ponti 

Gio Ponti x Piero Fornasetti, Zodiac Suite, Ocean Liner Andrea Doria (1950); Source & Copyright by Paolo Piccione Collection

In addition to books and prints, the Art Edition table is a great sensation. It is novel and phenomenal that Taschen Verlag publishes a coffee table. And while this is part of the entire Ponti tool group, the table itself is also something very special. It is the only square model, which he ever built, compared to his otherwise always round shaped tables. The original of this unique square version was made for one of his greatest masterpieces: the Villa Planchart in Caracas.

Gio Ponti

Interior of Villa Planchart; Source & Copyright by Taschen Verlag (Photo Antoine Baralhe)

The table represents Ponti's design poetry as well as principles of design and architecture

In an expressive manner, the table changes its appearance as soon as the viewer changes his position. The reason for this is that the middle grid is painted irregularly in white, yellow and blue. And thus stands for the principle of surprise and participation. Ponti always wanted to surprise and involve the viewer of his works, by means of playing with perspectives and visual axes. Increase the participation. This can also be seen in the table legs: neither centred nor at the corners, the four table legs are each offset to the right. This creates a dynamic effect typical of Ponti. Lightness and dynamism have always been important for his creations.

On the occasion of the special edition, the angular coffee table is now being replicated in a limited edition by the Italian furniture manufacturer Molteni & C. He has a special permit and agreement with the Gio Ponti Archive in Milan to replicate various pieces handcrafted in Italy.

Gio Ponti

Source & Copyright by Taschen Verlag

The book itself is impressive because it is so personal

It was curated by Gio Ponti's grandson, Salvatore Licitra. In addition, a large part of the text level is based on the writings of his daughter, Lisa Licitra Ponti. Since she was his closest colleague, she had an authentic insight into his world of thoughts and was able to describe the essence of each project. This personal aspect is also emphasised on the front and back pages of the book. Because of the high number pictures, they almost seem like a family album and give a very real and personal insight to Ponti's life.

Gio Ponti

Source & Copyright by Taschen Verlag

In addition to this intimacy, the volume of the book is also special. So far there has not been one that has devoted so much to his vision. Nevertheless: It is not a catalog of works, but a selection of his works. Just the greatest that has ever existed. His entire work, on the other hand, would probably have to be put into at least six books. His porcelain works alone fill a whole. What is really interesting about the special edition is the scope, the format and the resolution.

The reason for Ponti's influence as an architect, designer and art director is? His open character

Ponti's influence and vision are unique, because he was such an open-minded person. He was never afraid of new materials. Simply created a lot and never shied away from the strange or the new. And always with an artistic approach. While every artist has this creativity and experimentation, Ponti simply had an extra portion of it.

The book also shows how much Ponti enjoyed working with other people - partly on a friendship level, partly on a professional level. For example with the artist Piero Fornasetti. But also craftsmen, artists, engineers and young talents are among his coop-partners. Incidentally, he approached the latter with particular openness, was a promoter of talent in the past and was able to positively contribute to the career start of others.

Ponti promoted resource conservation - albeit unconsciously

Ponti had an obsession - was passionately involved with the thought of ease. His creations and objects should be as light as possible. And therefore the materials that he used.

For example, objects must not be too heavy, so we can send them carbon neutral . A good example of this - and a masterpiece that is still in production today via Cassina - is the Superleggera chair. This should be built from as little material as possible, in order to be as light as possible. And also through traditional craft longevity was guaranteed in line with today's concept of sustainable designs . With high aesthetic standards, Ponti was convinced that by this way beautiful things would be protected and would last longer.

"Beauty is the final test." - Gio Ponti

Gio Ponti

"Superleggera" for Cassina; Source & Copyright by Gio Ponti Archives / Historical Archive of Pontius Heirs (Photo Giorgio Casali)

More pioneering work: Ponti promoted the democratisation of exclusive products

In addition to sustainability, longevity and aesthetics, Ponti's vision also lives up to ethics. How? By using design. Since young Italian families in particular had problems after the war, he developed a kind of flat pack so that all the furniture in a room fit into a transport box. The "House in a Closet". This system combined the idea of ​​industrial production with that of high quality, but also accessible quality. So he worked with the furniture manufacturer Saffa. And it was precisely this interaction that was important to Ponti: a large, renowned manufacturer with a democratic price point, in order to live up to the ideal of helping young families.

Gio Ponti

"House in a Closet" for Saffa; Source & Copyright by Gio Ponti Archives / Salvatore Licitra

Domus as a cultural catalyst showing the path to today's design world

To spread his vision, Ponti used his magazine Domus. This was probably his greatest cultural contribution. With his magazine, he influenced today's design and industrial design. To this end, he not only published his own work, but also those of other artists, architects, designers and young talents. The result: an international platform, that celebrated design, craftsmanship and inventiveness and exerted contemporary and cultural influence. And still does today.

Gio Ponti

Cover of Domus 207 (May 1952) & Cover of Domus 326 (January 1957); Source & Copyright by Editorial Domus SpA

Ponti's works were a symbol of the Zeitgeist

Its architecture and design are an expression of the spirit of post-war Italy. The renaissance of Italian flair, the ease, the dolce vita and the way of life to take things as they are. The Pirelli skyscraper in Milan was a symbol of the economic boom and a symbol of a new era. And due to his open character, his fearlessness and his artistic streak, Ponti is exactly the right visionary to usher in this new age and to lead it in terms of design.

The book Gio Ponis Kristallträume is available from Taschen Verlag

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