Italian modernism in Caracas: Planchart villa by Gio Ponti

According to Ponti’s own words, this house is a game of spaces, surfaces and volumes offered in different ways to those who visit. Planchart villa is a highlight of Italian modernist architecture and furnishing.

This beautiful villa was built in 1953-1957 for Armando and Anala Planchart in Caracas and designed by Gio Ponti (1891-1979). Not only the architecture of the building itself, but also the furniture is from the hand of (perhaps) Italy’s most influential modernist designer (although his style is hard to categorise and developed significantly through his career).

In his own magazine Domus, Ponti wrote an article about the Planchart villa in Februari 1961. A passionate description that reveals Ponti was, besides a gifted architect and designer, capable of writing about architecture by translating his ideas into words. A good example is the phrase where he describes the balance between interior and exterior, as he states:

“This building, […] is a game of spaces, surfaces and volumes offered in different ways to those who visit. It is a ‘machine’ or, if you will, an abstract sculpture on a massive scale, not to be viewed from outside but to experience from within, penetrating it and moving through it. It is made to be observed by a continuously moving eye.”

There are many items and elements that deserve to be highlighted (the chairs, the desk, the staircase), but our eye was on the wall-lighting. Little artworks consisting off metal shapes in a playful but well thought-out composition (a visual language that Ponti also applied in large buildings such as The North Building of the Denver Art Museum).

Source: (text) Domus, (images) Habitat plus

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