With a career spanning over six decades, Giovanni “Gio” Ponti is often heralded as “the father of modern Italian design”. Having worked has worked as an architect, multidisciplinary designer, and teacher, the Italian polymath is also known for his written work; he was also the founder of Domus magazine.
Of his many projects—numbering over a hundred during his lifetime—one piece of furniture can be spotted across projects frequently: the Round D.154.5 chair. Conceived in 1954, the design comprises of just eight parts; its iconic contoured seat and back are often referred to as ‘soap bars’ due to their rounded form and are connected by two arcs of plywood and supported by four metal legs. Ponti informally nicknamed the chair otto pezzi (Italian for eight pieces); a fitting moniker for its composition.
In 1957, the chair made its official debut at the 11th Milan Triennale, along with a selection of other Ponti furnishings. The chair was dresssed in Vipla, an economical plastic material made to resemble leather that was extremely innovative at that time. Notably, Ponti presented the chair in its disassembled form, allowing a peek at its deceptively simple design.
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