Delve Into the Incredible Furniture Archives of Iconic Italian Designer Gio Ponti

A retrospective at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris honors the midcentury design maestro.

“Gio Ponti always started with a basic theme, and then developed it fully,” says Giulia Molteni, marketing and communications director of Molteni&C, of the newly opened exhibition Tutti Poni, Gio Ponti Archi-Designer at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. Anyone familiar with Ponti’s work is compelled to describe the architect, artist, and furniture designer in terms of fullness: a Renaissance man, a polymath, a multihyphenate. Ponti himself was committed to the design philosophy of forma finita, which translates to finished form, or total work.

Over the course of his fifty-year career, the late Ponti, who died in 1979, was responsible for work across the spectrum: silver trays for Christofle, colorful Maharam fabrics, furnishings for Cassina, a skyscraper in Milan, and even an aerodynamic espresso maker.

The retrospective Tutti Ponti displays approximately 400 of Ponti’s works made between 1935 and 1970. Molteni&C, one of the exhibition’s sponsors, began reissuing some of Ponti’s furniture in 2012, releasing new pieces each year; the 14-piece collection was primarily produced in the 1950s. “It was designed for a sophisticated consumer, but still on very functional terms,” explains Molteni, the granddaughter of the design brand's founders. She believes that Ponti’s designs are as relevant and fresh now as they were then. Much like American midcentury design greats Charles and Ray Eames, Ponti was fixated on getting great design out to everyone. “Ponti enriched post-war architecture, indicating the prospects for a new art of living,” the curators of Tutti Ponti said. The exhibition will be on view through February 10.


Alitalia's New York Showroom

Two of Ponti’s armchairs in Alitalia’s New York showroom in the 1950s.

Apta Chairs

The colorful folding Apta chairs debuted in 1970.

Montecatini Tower

Gio Ponti designed the Montecatini tower in 1936. The impressive rationalist tower is still an architectural destination in Milan.

Montecatini Chairs

Ponti also created a series of custom chairs for the Montecatini towert. Molteni&C rereleased the aluminum and leather chair as part of its Heritage Collection.

Elmwood Frames

A series of Elmwood frames Ponti designed in the 1950s.

Maharam I Morosi alla Finestra

Ponti created this playful textile for Maharam in 1930.

This story originally appeared on
* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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