Giò Ponti: portrait

Giò Ponti was an Italian architect.
He was born in 1891 in Milan. His parents were Enrico Ponti and Giovanna Rigone.
He did military service during World War I in the Pontonier Corps with the rank of captain, from 1916 to 1918, receiving the Bronze Medal and Miliitary Cross.
He graduated with a degree in architecture in 1921 from the Milan Polytechnic, and set up a studio with the architects Mino Fiocchi and Emilio Lancia in Milan. Later, he went into partnership with Lancia (Studio Ponti e Lancia) then with the engineers Antonio Fornaroli and Eugenio Soncini (Studio Ponti-Fornaroli-Soncini).
In 1921, he married Giulia Vimercati; they were to have four children and eight grandchildren.
From 1923 came his public debut at the first Biennial Exhibition of the Decorative Arts in Monza, which was followed by his involvement in organization of the subsequent Triennial Exhibitions on Monza and Milan.
From that same year to 1930 he worked at the Manifattura Ceramica Richard Ginori (where he was artistic director and for which he won the "grand prix" at the 1925 Paris expo), in Milan and Sesto Fiorentino, changing the company's whole output just by decorating simple ceramical forms with elegant neo-classical motifs.
In 1926 he designed his first house on via Randaccio in Milan. In 1934 he completed a work on mathematics department at Rome University and in 1936 the construction of the first Montecatini headquarters in Milan.
In 1928 he founded the magazine Domus which he established as europe's most influential architecture and design magazine.
In 1933 Ponti organised the 5th triennale exhibition in Milan. His work extended to stage sets and costumes for the opera house 'la scala' in Milan.
In 1934 he received the title of Commaner of the Royal Vasa Order in Stockholm, the Art Prize of the Accademia d'Italia, an Honorary Doctorate from the Royal College of Art in London, and a gold medal from the Académie d'Architecture in Paris.
He was actively involved in the industrial design association (ADI) and was one of the organizers of the golden compass promoted by la Rinascente department store.
From 1936 to 1961 hewas professor on the permanent staff of the Faculty of Architecture at the Milan Polytechnic.
In 1946 he started a three year project to design murano glassware for Venini.
In 1941 he resigned as editor of the magazine Domus and set up the magazine Stile, which he edited until 1947. In 1948 he returned to Domus, of which he remained the editor until the end of his life.
In 1948 he unveiled the la Pavoni coffee machine. Begun a four year commission to restore four Italian cruise liners with Nino Zoncada. His naval furnishings were particularly interesting (see for example Conte Grande, Andrea Doria and Giulio Cesare).
During the 1950's his work became even more innovative. Examples include the so-called 'typical solutions', the 'organized walls', the 'furnished windows', the 'instrumental head board', the 'miniambiental lodging'. In 1953 he launched the series 'P' sanitaryware for ideal standard and the angular 'distex' armchair for Cassina. In 1957 designed the superleggera chair for Cassina.
In the 1950's he collaborated with Fornasetti on interiors and furniture design.
In 1952 he went into partnership with the architect Alberto Rosselli (Studio Ponti-Fornaroli-Rosselli); after the death of Rosselli he continued to work with his long time partner Antonio Fornaroli.
In 1956 Ponti constructed the Pirelli Tower in Milan and in 1958 he designed the Alitalia offices in New York.
In 1960 he built Villa Nemazee in Tehran in the same 'joie de vivre' style as the two Caracas houses named Villa Planchart and Villa Arreaza.
In 1964 he did the interior design of Hotel Parco dei Principi in Rome and its (recently restored) Sister Hotel in Sorrento.
In 1964 we can find the San Francesco Church and in 1967 the San Carlo Chapel in Milan, in 1970 the construction of the Taranto Cathedral and in 1972 the Denver Art Museum.
Giò Ponti died in Milan in 1979.