Posts tagged with "Gio Ponti":

Placeholder Alt Text

The Denver Art Museum announces itself with scalloped glass panels

Brought to you with support from
The Denver Art Museum is undergoing a significant expansion and overhaul led by design architect Machado Silvetti and architect-of-record Fentress Architects. The project includes the restoration of Gio Ponti’s glass tile-clad North Building and the construction of an entirely new, elliptical-shaped welcome center defined by a scalloped structural glass curtainwall. The site of the welcome center is not lacking in significant neighbors: Studio Libeskind’s expansion to the Denver Art Museum is located to the south, Michael Graves' addition to the Denver Central Library lies to the east, and Gio Ponti’s North Building to the northwest.
  • Facade Manufacturer Sentech Architectural Systems Oldcastle Building Envelope Vitro Guardian Northglass
  • Architect Machado Silvetti (Design Architect) Fentress Architects (Architect-of-Record)
  • Facade Installer Harmon Inc Saunders Construction (General Contractor)
  • Building Envelope Consultant Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
  • Location Denver, CO
  • Date of Completion 2020
  • System Custom Sentech System OBE HTC Reliance System
  • Products Vitro Solarban 60/72 Guardian SN 70/35
According to Andrea Kalivas Fulton, Deputy Director of the Denver Art Museum, "the primary objectives of the Denver Art Museum welcome center included creating a structure and spaces that would bring two very distinct, but disparate, buildings together to function as a true campus; to act as a counterbalance to the opaque, dense buildings we had built to house the artwork; and to serve as a beacon within the city that felt inviting and welcoming to all." A challenge for the design team was translating the civic ambitions of the client, and the cultural role of the museum within the region, into a facade strategy with a distinct identity that highlighted its surroundings without the visual hinderance of exposed fasteners and vertical mullions. For Machado Silvetti Principal Jeffry Burchard, “once this design concept was in place, the design team then went through many rounds of conversations with fabricators and installers in the process of realizing that full height curved IGUs, supported off of triple laminated glass fins connected to the second-floor cantilever was not only possible but the best and most efficient way to implement the concept.” In total, 52 glass panels enclose the welcome center. The panels have a universal width of 8 feet and a curve radius of 10 feet. Panel heights differ according to location; approximately two-thirds of the panels are 25-feet tall while those located along the clerestory are 5-feet tall.  To install the panels—the majority of which weigh 3,200 pounds—the installation team relied on a suction cup lifter with articulated mounts that conformed to the curved surfaces of the panels. The panels were hoisted by a team of eight and mounted onto the custom-fabricated facade system. “Each curved glass unit is supported at the top and bottom by a curved stainless-steel angle. These angles are supported by custom stainless-steel fittings that attach to triple-laminated, low-iron glass fins using stainless-steel bolts through holes drilled in the glass fins,” said Fentress Architects Principal and Director of Technical Design Ned Kirschbaum. “The glass fins are in turn point‑supported top and bottom with stainless steel bolts through drilled holes in the glass fins and connected back to the building’s primary steel structure through custom stainless-steel fittings.” The $150-million project includes a significant overhaul of Gio Ponti's castellated North Building, also led by Fentress Architects and Machado Silvetti. A significant component of the museum's overhaul is the repair of the building's facade, which is comprised of approximately one million glass tiles placed atop a concrete structure. Additionally, the design team will complete a roof terrace originally planed by Ponti but left incomplete due to budgetary constraints. Interior work includes a revamp of exhibition spaces as well as a new entrance. Denver Art Museum Deputy Director Andrea Kalivas Fulton, Machado Silvetti Principal Stephanie Randazzo Dwyer, and Fentress Architects Technical Design Director Ned Kirschbaum, will be joining the panel "Facade Strategies for Curatorial Institutions" at The Architect's Newspaper's upcoming Facades+ Denver conference on September 12.
Placeholder Alt Text

Denver Art Museum plans major expansion

The Denver Art Museum (DAM) has just received a major standalone financial gift in support of revitalizing the museum’s North Building. The iconic Gio Ponti-designed North Building will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2021 with $150 million in expanded galleries, site upgrades, and expanded resources for youth programs. The $25 million gift came from Museum Board Chairman J. Landis Martin and his wife, Sharon Martin. When upgrades are complete the North Building will bear their name in honor of their gift. “The North Building is considered one of the most significant objects in the Museum’s collection, and our family is honored to support the much-needed rehabilitation required to bring it into the 21st century,” said Lanny Martin at a ceremony announcing the gift. “The Denver Art Museum is a beacon of creativity, representing the incredible depth of the cultural community in our region and it is critical that we continue to invest in it for the benefit of the entire community.” The North building is the only Gio Ponti building in North America and was designed in collaboration with Denver-based James Sudler Associates in 1971. The improvements to the building will include bringing the public to a seventh-story observation area, part of the original design that was never realized. A new welcome center will also unify the museum campus, which also includes a wing designed by Danial Libeskind. The project was master planned by Tryba Architects in 2015. Formal designs have been led by Denver-based Fentress Architects with Boston-based Machado Silvetti Architects. The plan is to complete the upgrades and additions to the museum by 2021.
Placeholder Alt Text

Q+A> Design Week with Francesca Molteni

As Design Week descended upon New York City, AN sat down with Francesca Molteni, project manager for the Furniture by Gio Ponti collection, to talk about an exclusive line of furniture produced by Molteni&C, how the collection came to be, and an accompanying exhibition about the life and work of one of Italy's most renowned designers. How did the collection come about? Paolo Scenti, the nephew of Ponti, had his uncle's large bookcase in his photography studio while I was there for a visit, and a lightbulb went off; I wanted to produce his designs industrially. We started talking with the family and Salvatore Licitra, the Ponti archivist and grandson of Ponti, and started researching pieces from the past, mostly pieces from the '50s and those from his home, as those were the ones he chose intimately. We also went to another archivist in Parma, where a university there is holding his art and architecture archives. Ponti was so prolifically productive; he left thousands of drawings, sketches, writings, and we had so much material from this we decided to launch an exhibition as well. I was smitten with the information because now you can see the real Ponti, not just his most famous work. It's a more private view on his life and work—a wonderful occasion to closer to the man and the architect. How long did it take to fully realize? It took about two and half years. We worked very hard with all the family. I went to visit his daughter Letizia, who is now 88 years old. She showed me private albums of the family, Ponti's encounters with other artists, Milanese society, travel that he did in the U.S., Tehran, Caracas. I brought four of the albums to my office and digitized the photos, to share with the family and they graciously allowed us to use the photos in the exhibition. How did you select the pieces that you wanted to recreate? During this process we saw about 20 products that caught our eyes. Italian architect Pierre Luigi Cerri, who is very well known in the field, a good designer and knows the story of Italian design, served as art director for the Collection. He helped us choose from the twenty pieces that are most interesting for today's audience and at the end we came out with eight pieces: two versions of the bookcase, the armchair, the Montecatini [aluminum] chair, the bigger and smaller chest of drawers, the small round table, the [area] rug, and the small wall mirrors. Ponti originally designed everything but most was never produced en masse. For example, the bookcase was only produced for his home and handcrafted by Giordano Chiesa, the artist who produced all his prototypes. All of the pieces were from the '50s, except the Montecatini chair, which was produced only for Ponti's contract project [Montecatini headquarters where Ponti designed the building itself and all interior details]. The chair for that project is from 1935, but seems very contemporary today. We chose the pieces that showed Ponti's style, proportion, materials, and his method of design the best. We also selected those that would mix well with current Molteni production. They integrate well with our other contemporary designers. It's unbelievable how they dialogue; the true sign of a master. They're really classic pieces. Which is your favorite piece in the collection? I love the small table because of the perspective that it requires. It's playful, color changing, particular, modern, and very Ponti. You can see he designed it in a different period. In the 30s he designed one similar but it was wood and heavier so [between the two] you can see the difference in the period of design. I imagine it was a piece important to him. I also love the chest of drawers. The different woods, the proportions; it's like architecture and not just furniture. Why did you start this project of reproducing Ponti's designs? We are always looking for architects from abroad [to design for Molteni] but now we started a process of rethinking our Italian design heritage. It was very important in the '50s, '60s, and today. We're not just dreaming about the past and the good old days but it's really our culture today. So with this Collection we want to rethink Italian design and go into the future with conviction, consciousness, and the understanding that we have to look into the past to go into the future. How has the traveling exhibition on the life of Ponti augmented the reissue? The exhibition has been really interesting, because exhibitions of design or of the master often feature a single object, but this tries to put the objects into a bigger context. His life, work, way of living is all told through Italian design. We can say that a single sofa is not telling us so much, but if you can tell the story of that piece you can really understand why it's so important or different. You can see the hand of the master in a bigger frame. When looking at the private life of Ponti, particularly the houses and offices he designed, we tried to put the Collection into social context, to better understand him as well as our history of design and the story of a single piece. What was the biggest challenge you faced in recreating Ponti's designs? The relationship with the family was fantastic, they received Molteni enthusiastically. But the biggest challenge, as with every reissue, is being close to the original: Not copying but reinterpreting the spirit of Ponti and his design. This means, details, proportions, materials. These are quite different from the '50s. We had to have a dialogue today about what is was in the past. The face of the products are the same but now the drawers for example now open with modern mechanisms. The technology is new but the aesthetic is the same. We introduced this so people could use it, furniture isn't just a piece of art. They have to live with it, its not a painting to put on the wall. We wanted to find the best way to be very sincere but at the same time to be contemporary. Price was also an a issue. A limited edition series would not be in the spirit of Gino Ponti. He thought design was democratic, and wanted to reach a larger audience, not just the elite. So, a mix of staying close to the original, incorporating new mechanisms and not increasing cost the mix was the hardest balance to achieve. We have arrived at that point at the end because the pieces are affordable and not much more expensive than any piece in other Molteni Collections. You don't have to sell your car to buy them. In the future, I'd like to do more reissues. Ponti also worked with Aldo Rossi, Luca Meda, and Tobia Scarpa so we would like to start the process of reissuing these masters for our collections. It's a good mission for the future, working with the old masters and younger designers.