Gio Ponti 1954

In his long and productive collaboration with Olivari, Ponti focused on two types of approach to the design of handles. One was more organic, where the lever is offered to the hand’s grip as a sinuously modelled element. The other was inspired by geometric clarity, according to which the hand naturally adapts to the shape. The former led to independent forms that are more expressive and influenced by ergonomic requirements.



LAMA, 1954

The latter led Ponti in the direction of linear and coordinated forms that seek harmony in unity with the setting and its logical legibility. He followed this approach when he was designing a handle for the Pirelli skyscraper in Milan.

— Bilia, lampada da tavolo, Fontana Arte 1931

The resulting model was Lama, a condensation of his vision in which classical symbolism prevails over functionalism.

— Grattacielo Pirelli, Milano 1958

— San Francesco al Fopponino, Milano 1964 (courtesy OSC)

The geometric simplicity of its shape, so thin as to resemble a blade (lama in Italian) offers a counterpoint to the carefully studied definition of the radii that soften the sharp-edged profile of its flat contours.