Gio Ponti graduates in Architecture from the Milan Polytechnic at the end of World War I and serves on the front earning decorations in the field. In 1921, he marries Giulia Vimercati. They have four children: Lisa, Giovanna, Letizia, and Giulio. He opens his studio with the architect Emilio Lancia in Milan in 1927. From the early 1920s to 1938 he collaborates with Richard-Ginori ceramic manufacturers, revamping their production.
In 1928 he founds the magazine Domus with Gianni Mazzocchi. In 1933 he takes over the artistic management of Fontana Arte, another success after his success with Richard-Ginori.
In the 1930s Ponti participates in Milan’s Triennial exhibitions, successfully curating some editions. From 1936 to 1961, he teaches at the Milan Polytechnic, and partners with Antonio Fornaroli and Eugenio Soncini from 1933
to 1945. Important projects come out of this association: the Montecatini Office Building in Milan in 1936-1938; Ponti “totally designs” the building and its interiors. Other work from the period comprises civil architecture (the
Littoria Tower in Milan in 1933), scholastic buildings (the Mathematics School at the Rome City University in 1934, and the School of Letters and Rector’s Offices of the University of Padua in 1937), and residences (the Marmont House in 1934 and the 1931-1936 “Domus” houses in Milan).
A wide range of furnishings are created alongside his major works. This is evinced in his three Milan homes, totally designed alla Ponti: on via Randaccio (1925), via Brin (Laporte House, 1936) and the last on via Dezza (1957),
his “masterpiece” of domestic design.
Gio Ponti promotes Italian industrial design and proposes manufacturing series of interior furnishings, as a “sophisticated,” economic, “democratic,” and modern solution.
After abandoning the editorship of Domus in 1941, he founds the magazine Stile.
The Ponti-Fornaroli-Rosselli Studio is created In 1952. In 1954, he cofounds the magazine Stile Industria along with Alberto Rosselli.
In the 1950s, Ponti experiences a creative “second youth” as shown by the second Montecatini office building (1951), furnishings for the Andrea Doria ocean liner (1952), the interiors and swimming pool of Naples’s Hotel
Royal (1953), the Italian Institute of Culture in Stockholm (1954), Villa Planchart (1955) and Villa Areazza (1956) in Caracas, and Villa Nemazee (1960) in Teheran. His masterpiece dates to 1956: Milan’s Pirelli Tower.
In the 1960s he travels to Asia where he designs the ministerial buildings in Islamabad, Pakistan (1964) and the façade of the Shui-Hing department stores in Hong Kong (1963).
Then there are the Hotels Parco dei Principi in Sorrento (1960) and Rome (1964), and the churches of San Francesco (1964) and San Carlo Borromeo (1966) in Milan.
At the age of 80 in the 1970s, Gio Ponti is still designing important architecture, such as Taranto’s Concattedrale (1970) and the Denver Museum (1971), and furnishings such as “the shallow seated Gabriela armchair” of 1971.
Chest of drawers D.655.1 D.655.2