Espace EDF Bazacle, in Toulouse on the banks of the Garonne, offers a wide range of cultural events: museum itineraries on energy and biodiversity, a large terrace overlooking the Garonne, temporary exhibitions, thanks to the support of Fondation EDF, as well as a photography gallery and guided tours of the still functioning power plant.
This is the context for the exhibition Vivere alla Ponti that opens on 7 October 2015 and lasts until 3 January 2016. Curated by Francesca Molteni and Franco Raggi in collaboration with Salvatore Licitra, Gio Ponti Archives, the Architects’ Association of Milan, Edison and Fondazione EDF, the show retraces the architecture, industrial and residential buildings designed by Gio Ponti.
Created for the occasion of the reissue of some furnishings designed by Gio Ponti by Molteni&C, “Vivere alla Ponti” is a tribute to the great master of the 20th century and his domestic design, his obsession with details and his vision of modernity that is still timely today.
His interior designs – for homes and offices – live on in videos, archival photographs and drawings, some never shown before, made during the course of his lifetime. A narrative that is both intimate and professional, inside the Milanese homes of the Ponti family – on Via Randaccio, Via Brin and then Via Dezza – but also inside Studio Ponti, amidst technical drawing tables, with the editorial staff of Domus, and the friends like Bruno Munari. All the way to the first projects for the workplace, amidst the desks of Palazzo Montecatini in Milan, the well-known Pirelli offices, and in the company of the “Fifties maidens” of the Vembi-Burroughs corporation. Places created for their inhabitants, for the happiness of children, the comfort of clerks, the efficiency of work.
Among the many collaboration with industry, Ponti worked with Edison, the largest Italian electrical utility at the time, which is now part of Gruppo EDF. The start of this relationship dated back to 1930 with the “Casa elettrica,” one of the first specimens of rationalist architecture in Italy, containing all the everyday applications of electrical power, from lamps to appliances, produced by Edison at the urging of Gio Ponti and commissioned to Gruppo 7 for the IV Monza Triennale.
Gio Ponti also designed four power plants for Edison in the Trentino region, on the Noce River (1952), the Liro (1953), the Chiese (1954), and at Pantano d’Avio (1955), and the plants on the Mera River in Val Chiavenna (1953) and on the Stura at Demonte, Cuneo (1953). One section of the exhibition focuses on the French power plants, now part of the historical heritage of EDF.