Gio Ponti (18 November 1891, Milan – 16 September 1979, Milan) was one of the most important Italian architects, industrial designers, furniture designers, artists, and publishers of the twentieth century.
Gio Ponti graduated with a degree in Architecture in 1921 from the Politecnico di Milano University. Also in 1921, he married Giulia Vimercati; they eventually would have four children and eight grandchildren.
Ponti began his architectural career in partnership with Mino Fiocchi and Emilio Lancia from 1923 through 1927, and then through 1933 with Lancia only, as Studio Ponti e Lancia PL. In these years he was influenced by and associated with the Milanese neo-classical Novecento Italiano movement.
Around 1933, Ponti ended his relationship with Lancia and teamed with two engineers, Antonio Fornaroli and Eugenio Soncini, to form Studio Ponti-Fornaroli-Soncini which would last until 1945.
Ponti in 1950 won the commission to design the 32-story Pirelli Tower in collaboration with Pier Luigi Nervi and Arturo Danusso. This was the second skyscraper built in Milan, and likely the climax of Ponti's entire career. Construction began in 1956.
In 1923 Ponti made his public debut at the first Biennial Exhibition of the Decorative Arts in Monza, which was followed by his involvement in organising the subsequent Triennial Exhibitions of Monza and Milan.
From 1923 to 1930 Ponti worked at the Manifattura Ceramica Richard Ginori, in Milan and Sesto Fiorentino, changing the company's whole output. Other industrial design work includes furnishings for the Rinascente department stores, under the name Domus Nova; ceramic objects production; chairs: among others, he worked for Cassina designing an angular armchair, named "Distex", and the very famous 1957 "Superleggera" (Superlight) chair, which was very strong but also so light that it could be lifted up by a child using just one finger; glass bottles for various companies such as Venini; lamps for companies such as Artemide, Fontana Arte, and Venini.
In 1928 he founded Domus magazine. In 1941 he resigned as editor of Domus and set up Stile magazine, which he edited until 1947. In 1948 he returned to Domus, where he remained as editor until his death.
From 1936 to 1961 he worked as a professor on the permanent staff of the Faculty of Architecture at Politecnico di Milano University.