In close correlation with the exhibition FontanaArte. House of Glass, this conference will explore the unique creative process bound up with the production and market success of the Milanese company by examining the policies and management of its artistic directors. The participants will analyse the trends and the most important figures who shaped the evolution of design in the various production sectors. Initially founded as manufacturers specialised in glass sheets for building purposes, the company then moved on to the production of unique pieces for glass furnishings. The undisputed qualitative growth of FontanaArte was reflected on the national and international scene with a multifaceted range of solutions and continuously developing areas of research. From 1932 onwards, under the direction of Gio Ponti, one of the most renowned architects and designers of the time, the FontanaArte brand was synonymous with creativity and avant-garde experimentation. Despite the fact that the limited production of the 1950s grew into mass production, the products never lost their uniqueness, so much so that a good number of models continue to be bestsellers for the company. The conference will focus therefore on the specific characteristics of FontanaArte throughout the crucial decades of production. The in-depth studies will primarily concentrate on the excellent glass processing with particularly significant examples (among the most celebrated names is architect Gae Aulenti), but also on the functional strategies concerning light in space and the interaction between user and designed environment. In such cases, lighting was often conceived to be adapted in an original way to personal needs by taking into account diversity of contexts.
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