I recently saw some floor tiles designed by Gio Ponti in the recently renovated Denver Museum of Art (the only example of Ponti’s architecture in the United States). Gio Ponti was an Italian architect, industrial designer (in ceramics and furniture), professor, painter, editor and journalist who strongly influenced international design for over 50 years in the mid-20th century.
The tiles in the Denver Art Museum originated from work he did in the early 1960s. In 1959, Roberto Fernandes commissioned Ponti to transform a historic property on cliffs overlooking the Sorrento coast into the Parco dei Principi hotel.
Ponti designed 30 sets of 20×20 inch tiles (in white, light blue and dark blue) to be used throughout the Parco dei Principi hotel, many of which can still be seen in photographs of the hotel today.
Tiles in the Denver Art Museum utilize the original patterns designed by Ponti for the hotel, but are in white, green and black. The tiles can be arranged into approximately 100 different floor patterns.
Ponti’s long-term interest in ceramics is interesting. After studying architecture and serving in the First World War, Ponti took a job as Art Director for a major Italian ceramics manufacturer, Richard-Ginori. Here are a few examples of Ponti’s design work from the 1930s:
Ponti’s designs were incorporated into ceramics throughout his long career. Here is a set of ceramic pieces designed by Ponti in the 1970s:
Additional information on Gio Ponti’s work in ceramics and other materials is available here on the Denver Art Museum’s website dedicated to this exhibition.