Giò Ponti, Domus Julia, Milano, Italy, 1933
Giò Ponti, Domus Julia, Milano, Italy, 1933 (view from google)
These consist often in apartment houses, each of which has a name: Domus Julia, Domus Carola, Domus Fausta, Domus Serena, Domus Aurelia, Domus Onoria, Domus Livia, Domus Flavia, Domus Adele, and Domus Alba. The Domuses of Via De Togni (Julia, Carola, Fausta), like the Domuses of Via Letizia (Livia, Serena, Onoria, Aurelia) were designed to create, when lined up, a unitary road scene, a stretch of street, colored in the Italian manner (ocher, green, yellow and red facades). And the apartments have innovative layouts, as concentration of service areas to increase living space; built-in closets and facilities, to free the space from furniture. These innovations were intended for use in ordinary housing: elements to be adopted in the building of a happy city of the future. This was the whole point. Ponti indicated other elements to be adopted in other Milanese houses that he designed the Rasini, Marmont and Laporte houses: roof terraces, loggias on the facade, and, above all, an out-of scale room in every apartment: a man wants to have, in at least one room of the house, a wall five or six meters away from him and, if possible, a ceiling at least four meters high. Gio Ponti always thought in terms of repeatability; in his designs for housing he never envisaged a scale for others that he would not have desired for himself. His Existenz-minimum demanded space, even if only visual, rather than objects.
The apartments he was going to design in the future became always smaller but increasingly spacious in visual terms: apartments with sliding partitions, opening up perspectives, with furniture on castors, that rolled away out of sight, and with more books than pieces of furniture, in any case. The true luxury in the home, the one for which it is worth making the greatest sacrifices, and the one that is a true measure of our sensitivity and intelligence, is the work of art. Those who don’t have the feeling for it, should leave their walls blank.
Alexandra Niedermayr, Alexandre Maurel, Martin Charachon, Sonja Schneider (March 2017)