Gio Ponti: the real charmer of Italian design

May 07, 2021 284

At the dedication of Taranto Cathedral in 1970, its 79-year-old architect, Gio Ponti, gave a speech. His words are not well remembered, but his family kept a recording of what preceded it: 10 minutes of applause, like “thunder”. This was a figure who, according to some anti-modernist mythologies, was supposed not to exist – a modern architect beloved by the users of his building.

His magic was charm. It was present in this Italian cathedral’s openwork tower, a stack of portals, as Ponti put it, “accessible only to the eye and the wind: a facade for the air”. It was his wish that vegetation would grow over the building, to which locals responded by bringing plant pots and flowers to the opening.

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