MAXXI in Rome presents a major retrospective on the versatile activity of an all-around artist, across nearly the entire 20th century

MAXXI, Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI secolo,

from 27 November to 13 April 2020

Architect, designer, art director, writer, poet, critic, Gio Ponti is at the center of a historical-critical legacy and a nearly peerless production of works.

Forty years after his death, MAXXI presents a major retrospective to study and illustrate his versatile activity, starting precisely from the narration of his works of architecture.

The exhibition Gio Ponti. Amare l’architettura, curated by Maristella Casciato and Fulvio Irace, with Margherita Guccione, Salvatore Licitra, Francesca Zanella, is produced by MAXXI in collaboration with CSAC-Centro Studi e Archivio della Comunicazione of the University of Parma, which contains the professional archives of Gio Ponti, and by the Gio Ponti Archives.

The show includes documentary materials, original models, photographs, books, magazines and design classics closely connected to Ponti’s architectural projects, organized in sections to cover the key concepts formulated by the master himself: Towards the Exact House, Classicisms, Living Nature, Architecture of the Surface, Architecture as Crystal, Light Facades, Appearance of Skyscrapers, The Spectacle of Cities.

It also features a sort of exhibition in the exhibition: a project of photography commissions created and curated by Paolo Rosselli, who together with seven other photographers of his selection offer contemporary gazes on works by Ponti, capturing their present identity.


Another feature is Triennale, the quattro volte curva tile designed by Gio Ponti and Alberto Rosselli for Marazzi in 1960.

In the Architecture as Crystal section the curators have interpreted Triennale as an art form, generating others in keeping with Ponti’s concept of the finished form.

The two compositions, both made with Triennale in black stoneware, one in the format 30x46.5 and one in the 10x15.5 cm size, frame original sketches made by Gio Ponti.

On the 8th floor of the apartment building at Via Dezza 49 in Milan, Gio Ponti formulated his idea of the house, where he lived for over 20 years until his death. A dwelling featuring design, experimentation, organization of spaces and geometric forms.

The same shapes are reproduced on the floor in hand-decorated earthenware, with the evocative name of Via Dezza, made by Ceramica Francesco De Maio: special edition majolica tiles in a 25x25 cm format, with diagonal bands of yellow and white.

There was a close bond between Gio Ponti and the historic Ceramica Francesco De Maio company, with a worldwide exclusive for the accurate reproduction – using the same glazes, surfaces and colors – of the 33 white and blue majolica pieces decorated by hand which Gio Ponti designed for the Hotel Parco dei Principi in Sorrento in 1960-62.

Olivari presents three handles Gio Ponti created at the time of the construction of the Pirelli tower: Lama, Cono and Anello. Three models that are the result of reflections on the theme of lightness, of reduction of form and material, experimenting with the use of brass and aluminium.

Ponti’s collaboration with this historic manufacturer of handles has left a legacy that continues into the present.

Main partner Eni; sponsors Ceramica Francesco De Maio, Ideal Standard, Marazzi, Olivari; in collaboration with Alcantara, Molteni&, Rinascente.

“Love architecture, be it ancient or modern. Love it for its fantastic, adventurous and solemn creations; for its inventions; for the abstract, allusive and figurative forms that enchant and enrapture our thoughts. Love architecture, the stage and support of our lives” Gio Ponti, Amate l’architettura, 1957.