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Crystal Architecture #Gio Ponti

Giovanni Ponti, throughout 58 years of professional practice, was the paradigmatic example of a versatile Italian architect: architect, industrial designer, painter, poet and journalist. In 1931 Gio Ponti, then editor of Domus, became the art director of the firm Luigi Fontana & Co, dedicated to the production of glass objects. Two years later, together with the designer Pietro Chiesa, he created the artistic division of the company, Fontana Arte. There he designed pieces that showed his passion for geometry, such as the pendant lamp 0024, a sphere formed by the succession of circular tempered glass diffusers, or the Bilia table lamp, a translucent spherical glass screen on a conical base. Ponti collaborated again with Fontana Arte in 1967 to create the Pirellina and Pirellone lamps, domestic-scale translations of his best-known Milanese skyscraper.

Architecture is a crystal, pure architecture is a crystal; when it is pure, it is pure as a crystal, magical, closed, exclusive, autonomous, uncontaminated, absolute, definitive, like a crystal. Gio Ponti, l’Architettura è un cristallo, 1945

In 1954 Ponti designed a series of rectangular and polygonal lamps as part of the equipment of the Villa Planchart in Caracas, perhaps the most complete of his case attrezate, equipped houses in which Gio Ponti exuberantly applied all his facets as an architect and designer: ceramics, ceilings, stained glass, patterned fabrics, furniture and lighting. The wall lamps, authentic luminous sculptures, were a revision of the concept of finestra arredata or furnished window coined by Ponti. They also shared the same geometric patterns that he used all through the furniture and finishes of the villa. Ponti used these lamps again, produced by Arredoluce, in the Feal industrialized house prototype for the XI Triennale de Milano and at the Alitalia offices in New York. They were also used as a model for the Fato lamp, produced in 1967 by Artemide.

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