The Expression of Gio Ponti

Posted January 11, 2016

Charles Eames contributed this enthusiastic foreword for this 1967 issue of Design Quarterly 69/70, dedicated to the work and life of renowned Italian architect and designer, Gio Ponti.

PontiDQ Gio Ponti is one of the rare ones—an architect who considers everything as architecture and has practiced architecture in all his work. He has both the skills and the lore of the art—perhaps, a super abundance of the lore, but his concern with lore grows naturally from his willingness and need to become completely involved in anything he does. His masteries of skill are those that seem to come automatically to the special few who have the capacity for really caring. Perhaps what strikes us most is Ponti’s remarkable ability to live and relive every aspect of every experience that each possible person will have in any situation he constructs. Have him introduce you to a project on which he is working—a model or an object or an idea—and you will find yourself experiencing, through Ponti, the reactions, the pulls, the needs and the pleasures of many different people. Your own notions of function will have broadened considerably and you will feel that somehow the project itself has developed a little farther. You know that every drawing, every costume, every object he has built, every loving action has gone much the same route—the examination of spaces, of the city, at home, working in theatre, with exhibitions, with machines, and in the freedom and the discipline of producing “DOMUS,” and in instilling the same love and the same eye in his daughter, Lisa. In this process of design, or growth, where he anticipates and relives the experiences that others will have—in this enthusiasm—he surely thinks of all people as rich human beings possessing those same capabilities and sensitiveness to experience that are his own. This is the only way—and this is the secret.  – Charles Eames


Design Quarterly
, No. 69/70, The Expression of Gio Ponti (1967), page 3, Published by: Walker Art Center

Read this and more great texts by Charles and Ray Eames in An Eames Anthology: Articles, Film Scripts, Interviews, Letters, Notes and Speeches by Charles and Ray Eames (Yale University Press), available for purchase here.