Xerjoff Magazine

Gio Ponti, inventor of modernity

Writer

The long professional path of Gio Ponti, great Milanese architect and designer, is retraced in an exhibition being held at Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. 500 pieces to tell the story of a designer who felt modern yet not revolutionary

Tutto Ponti – Gio Ponti Archi-Designer” is the title of an exhibition that Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris (107 rue de Rivoli) dedicates to the great Italian architect and designer Gio Ponti. 500 pieces ranging from architecture to design, from painting to books, from magazines (Domus and Stile, directed by Ponti himself, for example) to cards designed and given to his friends.To let visitors dive as much as possible into the Ponti universe, some spaces have been recreated within the Museum (a corner of his Milan’s house in via Dezza, a room of Hotel dei Principi in Sorrento, an office of Montecatini in Milan). A really good choice to best communicate the almost obsessive care of Ponti for every single detail.

Another strong point of the Paris exhibition is the presence of a broad selection of pottery of the 1920s with neoclassical and architectural decorations produced by Richard Ginori, the Italian factory the designer worked with since 1923 as art director, making it successful again after years of deep crisis. Very much photographed, these ceramics have not been much exhibited though, which is something incomprehensible if we think that they inaugurated a new course for Italian ceramics manufacturing.

Celebrating as his masters great classics such as Serlio, Vitruvio and Palladio, Gio Ponti had a modern yet not revolutionary approach towards architecture and this is probably one of the reasons why his contribution to this discipline was partially minimised. A superficial interpretation that, after many years, the exhibition at Musée des Arts Décoratifs has the merit to debunk. Curated by Salvatore Licitra, Olivier Gabet, Dominique Forest and  Sophie Bouilhet-Dumas, the exhibition will be open to visitors from 19th October to 10th February 2019.

Above: An interior by Gio Ponti