Cone + sphere = Bilia, an extraordinary design of ‘the moment’, the table lamp by Gio Ponti

Bilia was destined to become immortal the minute its design left Gio Ponti’s drawing board in 1931. The lamp went into production a few years later but seeing it today who would guess it was designed way back then? Ponti’s concept uses two very basic, very familiar shapes: an upside-down cone which supports a ball of light. An unpretentious composition but the pure balance of its proportions and the stylish discretion of the non-reflective materials make it lavish and captivating. The brushed nickel-plated metal cone holds a diffuser in white frosted blown glass that bathes its surroundings in soft translucent light when switched on.

Still rolling off the production line, Ponti’s “Tavolino 1932” coffee table

A polished nickel-plated brass shaft pierces the centre of two thick concentric glass discs for Tavolino 1932, the coffee table named after the year of its design by Gio Ponti. The piece was a homage to construction industry float glass, which was still being made by Luigi Fontana at the time. Yet again, the 1932 table was a state-of-the-art design but it was also intended to be practical, with its two versatile tops. Gio Ponti had a tough remit but his solution was extremely simple. He eased the chunky impact of the tops and metal support by staggering the diameter of the two clear glass discs, simultaneously creating movement. The Tavolino 1932 coffee table has lost none of the timeless elegance that earned it contemporary design icon status.

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