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Domus 90. Gio Ponti

On the occasion of the 90-year anniversary of Domus two exhibitions will open on April 14 at Galleria Carla Sozzani: “Domus 90. Gio Ponti” and a small selection of Giorgio Casali's photographs.

Gio Ponti,  Conca cutlery

On April 14 Domus opens two exhibitions at Galleria Carla Sozzani in Corso Como 10, Milan: “Domus 90. Gio Ponti”, focused on his idea of the home, and a photographic exhibition on Giorgio Casali's work for the magazine.

On the occasion of the 90-year anniversary of Domus magazine,
the Fondazione Sozzani will present a selection of pieces by Gio Ponti, drawn from the Domus Archives. The exhibition recounts the architect's multifaceted production and approach to the arts, expressed through the pages of the magazine he oversaw as editor-in-chief for over 40 years from 1928 to 1979, with an interruption from 1941 to 1947. The work of Gio Ponti (Milan, 1891-1979) is evoked through suggestions starting from the theme of the house, to which he dedicated many editorials and essays, stimulating the debate on the transition to the "modern" home in the Thirties and interpreting the changes in society in the post-war period. The exhibition includes photographic images, Domus magazine covers and a selection of objects that together cover 50 years of his work.

A series of images highlights the architect's alphabet: the combination and comparison between objects, drawings, and architectural elements show his design approach, in particular the expressive potential of the materials that he embraces in every sector, from craftsmanship to architecture. In the dark days for Italy and Europe between 1939 and 1940, the 20 covers of Domus were brightly coloured. Ponti almost seemed intent on overlooking the events of those years, yet the issues of May and June 1940 flaunt the colours of the Italian flag, marking Fascist Italy’s entrance into the war.

From the pages of the magazine, one sees Gio Ponti's support and encouragement for the crafts and decorative arts, paying special attention to Italian production exhibited at the Milanese Triennial Exhibitions. Ceramics being one of his favourite materials, during the 1920's Ponti began refining his cherished work with ceramics at Richard Ginori, going on to produce many tile designs for interiors and exteriors. Three chairs on display represent Ponti’s idea of seating including the very famous Superleggera, embodying his interest in furniture and sensitivity for shape.

Gio Ponti, textile La legge mediterranea (Mediterranean law) detail, 1957
Gio Ponti, textile La legge mediterranea (Mediterranean law) detail, 1957

The show also features Ponti’s fabric with its manifesto title “La legge mediterranea” (Mediterranean Law), representing his idea of the Mediterranean as a unitary cultural environment that should inspire Italy’s path towards Modernism. The 1949 Visetta sewing machine reveals Ponti’s profound ties with the entire design world, from handicraft to industry. His work for hotels – seen as a home away from home – is represented by a wooden luggage rack and two pieces of tableware. In 1970 Gio Ponti inaugurated the Concattedrale di Taranto, one of his last great enterprises. In the same years he designed the church, Gio Ponti also designed a set of geometric and colourful plates, and a series of foldable furnishings on wheels. Ponti captured the spirit of the times that called for more informal homes.

Lastly, a series of letters describe the man himself: the greetings and thank-you notes to his friends are small artworks, drawn with an open and generous hand on pieces of paper or loose sheets that he would dedicate to his fondest friends.

The small exhibition space at Fondazione Sozzani will host a selection of Domus Archive’s vintage photographic prints by Giorgio Casali (Lodi 1913 – Milan 1995), providing an overview of 30 years of the photographer’s work for the magazine. Through his pictures, Casali contributed to defining a distinctive and recognisable approach that interpreted the needs of a magazine for which the image was often more important than the text. Starting in the 1960s, many of the magazine’s covers were created from details of his shots: views of architecture, furniture and display designs were the doorways that opened into and anticipated the magazine’s contents.  

Domus 90. Gio Ponti:
curated by Simona Bordone and Cristina Moro. Editorial director Walter Mariotti. In collaboration with Gio Ponti Archives
Galleria Carla Sozzani, corso Como 10, Milan
14 April– 6 May 2018

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