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Gio Ponti, Art Edition, the Planchart Coffee Table and a Set of Four Art Prints

$3,500per set

About

This numbered Art Edition of 1,000 copies (Hardcover book, 36 x 36 cm, 572 pages) is accompanied by an exclusive, square format reproduction of the Arlecchino coffee table designed by Gio Ponti and a set of four numbered ocean liner interior prints (each 40 x 40 cm, inkjet prints, printed on 305gsm Hahnemühle Photo Rag Ultra Smooth) This new book is the most comprehensive account of Ponti’s work to date, unprecedented in scale and scope. It tracks the development of his oeuvre over 6 decades, with 136 projects indexed and reproduced in high resolution, each object framed by the context in which Ponti had created it. An extensive biographical essay by Stefano Casciani, was produced in close collaboration with the Gio Ponti Archives. The square format reproduction of the Arlecchino coffee table, the "Planchart Coffee Table" is regarded as one of Gio Ponti’s most iconic designs. Echoing the pictorial approach of De Stijl artists Piet Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg, its surface relies on a vibrant structural steel grid for multiple hand-painted color combinations that vary according to the viewer’s movement around the table. Contrary to the more commonly available round design, TASCHEN is proud to reissue the celebrated piece in a square format, originally created in 1954 as a unique example for Ponti’s Villa Planchart, exclusively! Each table is made entirely by hand. The four prints are drawings by Ponti from 1948–49 now conserved in the CSAC. These prints are of valuable, fragile, competition drawings for the interiors of the ocean liners Conte Grande and Conte Biancamano, which were both launched in 1949. They have never previously been printed and are exclusive to this TASCHEN Edition. Includes a certificate of authenticity, signed by Salvatore Licitra, grandson of Gio Ponti and founder and curator of the Gio Ponti Archives in Milan. “The most resistant element is not wood, is not stone, is not steel, is not glass. The most resistant element in building is art. Let’s make something very beautiful.” — Gio Ponti.

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About the Designer

Gio Ponti

An architect, furniture and industrial designer and editor, Gio Ponti was arguably the most influential figure in 20th-century Italian modernism.

Ponti (1891–1979) designed thousands of furnishings and products — from cabinets, lamps and chairs to ceramics and coffeemakers — and his buildings, including the brawny Pirelli Tower (1956) in his native Milan, and the castle-like Denver Art Museum (1971), were erected in 14 countries. Through Domus, the magazine he founded in 1928, Ponti brought attention to virtually every significant movement and creator in the spheres of modern art and design.

The questing intelligence Ponti brought to Domus is reflected in his work: as protean as he was prolific, Ponti’s style can’t be pegged to a specific genre. In the 1920s, as artistic director for the Tuscan porcelain maker Richard Ginori, he fused old and new; his ceramic forms were modern, but decorated with motifs from Roman antiquity. In pre-war Italy, modernist design was encouraged, and after the conflict, Ponti — along with designers such as Carlo Mollino, Franco Albini, Marco Zanuso — found a receptive audience for their novel, idiosyncratic work. Ponti’s typical furniture forms from the period, such as the wedge-shaped Distex chair, are simple, gently angular, and colorful; equally elegant and functional. In the 1960s and ’70s, Ponti’s style evolved again as he explored biomorphic shapes, and embraced the expressive, experimental designs of Ettore Sottsass Jr., Joe Colombo and others.

His signature furniture piece — the one by which he is represented in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Germany’s Vitra Design Museum and elsewhere — is the sleek Superleggera chair, produced by Cassina starting in 1957. (The name translates as “superlightweight” — advertisements featured a model lifting it with one finger.) Ponti had a playful side, best shown in a collaboration he began in the late 1940s with the graphic artist Piero Fornasetti. Ponti furnishings were decorated with bright finishes and Fornasetti's whimsical lithographic transfer prints of things such as butterflies, birds or flowers; the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts possesses a 1950 secretary from their Architetturra series, which feature case pieces covered in images of building interiors and facades. The grandest project Ponti and Fornasetti undertook, however, lies on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean: the interiors of the luxury liner Andrea Doria, which sank in 1956.

Widely praised retrospectives at the Queens Museum of Art in 2001 and at the Design Museum London in 2002 sparked a renewed interest in Ponti among modern design aficionados. (Marco Romanelli’s monograph written for the London show, offers a fine overview of Ponti’s work.) Today, a wide array of Ponti’s designs are snapped up by savvy collectors who want to give their homes a touch of Italian panache and effortless chic.

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