Since the post-war period of regeneration, Modern Italian Design has displayed an undaunted creative drive, that has constantly captured the imagination, with the leading protagonists such as Gio Ponti, Paolo Buffa and Piero Fornasetti forging a new avant-garde in Europe, redefining a new aesthetic and attaining international recognition that impressively exerted an influence over design practises world-wide, all alongside being commercially success.
Beginning with the pioneering Bauhaus influenced designs and Futurists to an interest in the organic design forms of the pre-war years, through to a new optimistic experimentation in the Post-War era, embracing Pop and Post-Modernism and Arte Povera. The sale features works of art covering this period, displaying the elegant organic lines of Paolo Buffa and Fontana Arte, to the Castiglioni Brothers revealing the design objects untainted purpose, Joe Colombo focussed on new materials looking forward to a more futuristic world, through to Ettore Sottsass and Ugo La Pietra in their attempt to produce a radical new and innovative aesthetic.
This exhibition and sale, and focus on Modern Italian design hopes to celebrate the diversity, creativity, quality and innovation of Italian Design, showing their intuition for style, for craft and industrial production and presenting their pre-eminence as leaders in creative diversity and expression in an international arena.
Here, we take a closer look at a few of the superb examples to be offered in our 23rd October MODERN MADE auction...
Once assumed to be by Gio Ponti alone it is now accepted it was designed by the Cassina Technical Group, one of whom would likely have been Ponti. His influence is clearly seen in the chairs 'Ears' and overall form, bearing undeniable similarities to an armchair Ponti designed for in the 1950s. Ponti did several chair designs for Cassina over his career.
The larger version with three shelves was designed for and exhibited at the Esposizione di Monza of 1930, and a version of this model was sold alongside a corresponding console at Christie's London, Thinking Italian, 17 October 2018, Lot 4.
Malachite, the rare green stone from Russia, had a particular allure for Fornasetti, and he imitated it in many contexts, including a bicycle. A whole suite of furniture was designed in this range between 1952 and 1958.
A table, presumably from the same suite, was attributed to Gio Ponti and sold at Sotheby's, Gordon Watson: The End of a Chapter Sale on 3 May 2006, lot 148.
A further example of this model of table with the same attributes as this sideboard/console table came up Viscontea Casa d'Aste in Milan, Italy 28 November 2019, lot 253.