Phillips announces 'Casa Fornaroli, A Unique Selection of Remarkable Art and Design'
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Phillips announces 'Casa Fornaroli, A Unique Selection of Remarkable Art and Design'
Gio Ponti, Unique large wardrobe with integrated door, circa 1955 Estimate: £5,000 - 7,000. Image courtesy of Phillips.

LONDON.- Phillips announced Casa Fornaroli, a unique standalone auction of 61 objects assembled during Antonio Fornaroli’s lifetime. An engineer, architect, and key figure in 20th century Italian design, Fornaroli was Gio Ponti’s closest collaborator. Fornaroli’s family were deeply immersed in an artistic environment with particular attention to design details in their home. This sale presents a broad variety of objects from Casa Fornaroli and offers us a window into the intimate day-to-day life of a mid-century Italian family with close artistic connections. Including pieces from iconic designers and manufacturers who stylistically defined the Italian design landscape, the objects in this sale span 6 decades and demonstrate a variety of forms, mediums, and production techniques, illustrating the deep-rooted artistic relationships cultivated by Fornaroli throughout his lifetime. The Casa Fornaroli auction will take place on 27 April.

Domenico Raimondo, Head of Design, Europe, Senior International Specialist, and Senior Director, said, “We are delighted to present Casa Fornaroli, a selection of remarkable art and design works assembled by Antonio Fornaroli. Featuring unique and unseen works of the highest craftsmanship, from delicate earrings created by Fausto Melotti for Giulia Fornaroli to toy furniture designed by Gio Ponti for Fornaroli’s daughter, this sale encompasses a broad selection of pieces. It is an honour to have been entrusted with these objects which demonstrate a lifetime of friendship and celebrate the spirit of artistic collaboration. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get a glimpse of Fornaroli’s unique approach to art and design through his partnership with artists, craftsmen, and designers alike. Through showcasing Casa Fornaroli, Phillips continues to lead the Italian Design market, presenting new and established collectors with the opportunity to acquire remarkable pieces. We look forward to welcoming visitors to the preview exhibition which will be open from 20 April ahead of the auction on 27 April at 1pm.”

Antonio Fornaroli began working with Gio Ponti in the 1930s, working on experimental and technological innovations such as the marble slab cladding on the monumental Montecatini building (1936), studies for the tapering structure of the Pirelli Tower (1956 -1960), and the original design of the Savoia Assicurazioni building (1971). Not only did the partners manage to execute extremely challenging architectural projects, but they were also culturally curious allies, ahead of their time in their pioneering work to produce cutting-edge projects in collaboration with young artists, designers, and architects of the period. Together, along with Alberto Rosselli, they setup one of the most prolific and commended Italian architecture and design studios of the 20th century: Ponti-Fornaroli-Rosselli (P-F- R). They designed important Milanese buildings such as the architecture faculty building at the Politecnico di Milano (1956), Gio Ponti’s residential building at no. 49 via Dezza (1957) and the Pirelli Skyscraper (1956-60). The studio designed Casa Fornaroli itself and frequently collaborated with designers, artists, and sculptors of the time, many of whom have works included in the Casa Fornaroli auction.

Gio Ponti highlights of this sale include a unique wardrobe, the ‘I Fantini’ toy furniture set, a prototype side table, and a striking bar cabinet with integrated oil paintings. Alongside these pieces are several works designed by Fausto Melotti, including ceramics, jewellery, and a bronze sculpture ‘L’abbraccio’. Additionally, among other works are a group of coasters by Paolo De Poli, lights by Venini, a Max Ingrand table lamp, Fulvio Bianconi glassware, bowls, and frames designed by Tobia Scarpa, Carlo Scarpa, and Tomaso Buzzi, and selection of Pablo Picasso ceramics.

This fantastic selection of art, glassware, ceramics, objects, and furnishings give an insight into how Casa Fornaroli was decorated. Everything, down to the glasses and light fittings, was made for the Fornaroli family by their close circle of artist, architect, and designer friends. The interior of the apartment and this selection of objects reflect the thriving and collaborative artistic Italian Design community of 20th century Milan and represents the legacy of a lifestyle.

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