Announcing Gio Ponti Fabrics at Good Design

Gio Ponti Fabrics by Tre80.

Gio Ponti Fabrics by Tre80.

It’s my pleasure to announce that the Gio Ponti printed textiles will be available at Good Design. We are introducing these fabrics during What’s New What’s Next. Currently being produced by Tre80 whose founder is Fede Grampa,their production is exclusively authorized by the Gio Ponti archives.  These printed textiles are the result of a collaboration between her father, Luigi Grampa and Gio Ponti in the 1950’s. Mr. Grampa’s company, Manufattura JSA, located in Busto Arsizio was one of the chief printed textile concerns in Italy. Ms. Grampa is honoring us with a presentation on Ponti and his relationship with JSA. It should prove to be a very personal glimpse into Mid-Century Italian design. Her talk will begin at 5:45 P.M. on September 22nd. Please register for What’s New What’s Next Here.




I Sniffed That Console

When I became a dealer, older dealers showed us newbies the art of hands-on inspection. This investigative work uses 4 of the 5 senses.

Recently, while examining a unique cabinet by a well known Italian maker at an auction preview, I became uncomfortable. An interior bank of drawers looked fishy. I seemed to smell.. solvent or stain? What really made me uncomfortable was the underside of the top. On all fours, head inside the case, looking up, I saw…particle board, and not old particle board..but brand spanking new particle board, totally inconsistent with what should have been there. That lot sold for $20,000.00 and upon inspection was obviously doctored.

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The Cradle of Italian Design

Unique Desk by Ico Parisi by Fratelli Rizzi, Capiago Intimiano, Italy 1958

Design books and magazine articles on the development of Italian Modernism and post war construction continuously champion the vital role played by Italy’s architects and larger manufacturers. As a result, the names of Ponti, Mollino, Albini, Ulrich, Mangiarotti, Frattini, Parisi, Sottsass, Scarpa, Cassina, Gavina are all very well known. Missing from the discourse however, are the many small producers, with whom architects collaborated to create the body of work which is now called Italian Moderism.

Commenting on what he saw at the 1951 Triennale, american architect, Dorwin Teague saw Italy’s craftsmanship as its greatest resource. These fine artisans were not the mere executors of the architects’ visions. Their knowledge of traditional craft and forms played an influential and important role in shaping the very look of Italian design. Continue reading

Cristal Art Important Glass Makers of Turin

While Murano, is Italy’s most well known glass making center, nearby Milan, (Fontana Arte)  and Turin, (Cristal Art) had their own important glass making companies. Between the 1950’s and 1980’s Fontana Arte and Cristal Art were competitors.  In Good Design’s inventory, I‘ve two very special Cristal Art mirrors. Their manufacture was both labor intensive and time consuming. Each was produced using an exclusive patented process, in which running water continuously cooled a grinding wheel, while the glass worker engraved patterns into the glass. After the detailed engraving was completed the design was then gilded. Up until now Fontana Arte has been very well known, while Cristal Art was not. That is about to change.

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What’s the Value of Patina in Mid-Mod Antiques?

Fontana Arte Brass old finish Stilnovo Brass refinished

Back in the 70s, I was dealing in 18th and 19th century American antiques. I was fortunate to live in Columbia County at a time when six or seven couples, all up and coming Americana dealers, were living there, too. Every one of them went on to become prominent dealers. Back then, we were all learning from each other. It was school. Continue reading