Unpacking the Everlasting Appeal of Gio Ponti’s Undulating Wicker Armchair

“It highlights the characteristic of the material that allows soft folds without interruptions, joints, or welding,” explains Salvatore Licitra, Ponti’s grandson and the founder of Gio Ponti Archives. “He kept it on display at the entrance to his studio surrounded by ceramics and other handmade objects.”

Like so many of Ponti’s historic designs, rare early examples have emerged on the secondary market fetching gobsmacking sums—one pair went for more than $40,000 at a Piasa auction in 2020. But for more than 60 years since its debut, Bonacina has continued to produce the seat to the architect’s specifications. This year, it joins the heritage catalog of 90-year-old Italian brand Molteni&C, which has worked with Gio Ponti Archives since 2012 and will reintroduce the icon in a deep, chocolate brown finish (from $9,600).

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Molteni&C’s Sleek reissue.

Photo: Courtesy of Molteni&C.

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Charles de Lisle placed an early example of Continuum in this San Francisco home. \

Photo: William Abranowicz.

The new colorway will lend graphic punch to the piece that has long punctuated the projects of AD100 designers like Jamie Bush and Charles de Lisle, fans of its organic, free-form curves. “It has the animated quality of a panda, all done in these loops of hand-bent rattan,” says de Lisle, who snagged an early production model for a client in San Francisco. (Its sister was supposedly acquired for the Gio Ponti exhibition at Paris’s Musée des Arts Décoratifs, which opened in 2018.) “I love its twist on traditional form and subtle cinematic character.” molteni.it

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