MANIFESTO

#63

CHANGE OF SPACE

GIO PONTI,
VILLA PLANCHART

2024.04.17

Text by Francesca Fontanesi

Saint Laurent Rive Droite presents an exclusive collaboration with the Gio Ponti Archives and the Anala y Armando Planchart Foundation on the occasion of Milan Design Week.

Saint Laurent Rive Droite presents an exclusive collaboration with the Gio Ponti Archives and the Anala y Armando Planchart Foundation on the occasion of Milan Design Week. The exhibition, curated by Anthony Vaccarello, will showcase an exceptional collection of plates at the Chiostri di San Simpliciano. In 1953 in Venezuela, Anala and Armando Planchart commissioned the renowned Italian architect Gio Ponti to build a cutting-edge villa for them on the highest hill overlooking Caracas. Framing their modern aspirations, Gio Ponti designed a house light and graceful like a butterfly perched on a hill, rich in ingenious inventions, vibrant colors, and magnificent views, collections of orchids, and works of art.

Villa Planchart (1953-57) is a complete work of art that presents a comprehensive approach to design, which characterized the influential work of Master Gio Ponti, who wrote: “I have dedicated heart and soul to the design of Villa Planchart, and in it, I had the freedom to express my personal approach to architecture, both externally and internally.” The building, interiors, and furnishings were inspired by his travels in Latin America, “from seeing some minor but beautiful works by Oscar Niemeyer, to thinking about Luis Barragán’s Casa Pedregal in Mexico City – the latter so unique in its rootedness in the natural ecosystem as this building of mine appears detached from it.” The result is an architecture rich in creative and playful elements, as abundant as the tropical vegetation it embraces: a patio majestically adorned by Melotti, theatrical windows and balconies overlooking the open hall, and bright and colorful ceilings. As the project came to life, telegrams traveled between Milan and Caracas, and ships crossed the ocean carrying marble, mosaics, gold-decorated plates, lights, sofas, and armchairs. While there is a clear demarcation between the house, the land, and the sky, the boundaries between the interior and exterior of the villa are more blurred. This fluid relationship between interior and exterior is evident in the living room, where glass windows fill the double height of the space, offering a sense of openness and taking advantage of the external views. There are also internal windows between the living room and the dining room with revolving paneling decorated in a polychromatic design of yellow, cream, gray – the main color palette for the villa.

Similar to how the colorful pattern of a butterfly is pleasing, Ponti employed shades to bring a sense of vibrant unity to the house. Decoration also manifests in the ceiling decoration with stylized sun and moon, which were the emblem for the Plancharts (sun/Armando and moon/Anala). This sun and moon motif is found throughout the house and even on some of the tableware designed by Ponti. Inside the Living Room, the emblem of the couple reappears with the sun and moon balcony providing an abstract fairytale atmosphere. Ponti believed indeed that rooms should function as microcosms. In finalizing the interior furnishings of Villa Planchart, Ponti employed exceptional Italian craftsmen with traditional skills, including the Florentine producer Ginori 1735, for whom he had already worked as artistic director. He designed a set of porcelain tableware decorated with the symbols and motifs of the villa, illustrating his artistic talent and eye for detail: the Sun, the Waxing Moon, the Polar Star, and magnificent iterations of the letter A – a tribute to Anala and Armando. Saint Laurent Rive Droite, in collaboration with Ginori 1735, has reproduced 12 original plates from the Place Setting collection of Villa Planchart designed by Gio Ponti in 1957. These decorative porcelain plates, traditionally crafted, are hand-painted at the Italian Manufactory of Ginori 1735 and will be available for a limited time at the Saint Laurent flagship store in Milan on Via Montenapoleone during Milan Design Week.

The collection will be showcased at the Chiostri Di San Simpliciano in Milan from April 16th to 21st.
For more information, visit ysl.com.

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