ISSN 2612-2553


Irene De Guttry – Gli arredi in vimini e in giunco nelle verande dei transatlantici italiani

The essay illustrates a particular aspect of furniture on board ships, that of the use of vegetable fiber furniture. The author briefly illustrates the events that have seen, at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the spread of wicker and rattan furniture following the interest in oriental countries. Rattan furniture are widely used in the verandas of the upper classes of ocean liners, where they are used to reconstruct the appearance of the winter gardens of residences and large continental hotels. The author offers some examples, among many possible, of Italian ships, steamships and ocean liners, from the beginning of the century to the 1930s. The events that link the spread of this particular type of furniture to the success of specialized Italian producers are also illustrated.

Paolo Piccione – Piero Zuffi, grandi decorazioni negli interni navali degli anni Cinquanta

The essay presents some unpublished works of ship decoration created by the scenographer Piero Zuffi, recently returned to the attention of critics after two decades of oblivion. In the fifties, having settled in Milan, Zuffi met Gio Ponti who invited him to produce a large panel for the ballroom of the liner Andrea Doria, the occasion was a harbinger of other assignments for naval works and the meeting with Nino Zoncada. The interior designer specialized in naval interiors - Zoncada collaborated with Ponti in the projects for ship outfitting - finds in Zuffi the ideal interpreter for the creation of decorations on board two ships, Ausonia in 1957 and Federico C. in 1958. Zuffi’s works are illustrated here with reference to their integration into Zoncada’s architecture. The latest naval decorative intervention is that for the Achille Lauro ship in 1966, which concludes this particular field of application of Piero Zuffi’s art.

Ilaria Morcia – Paolo De Poli. Opere per le navi, 1937-1965

The essay presents for the first time the works of the artist Paolo De Poli created for the decoration of ships through the collaboration with architects Gio Ponti, Nino Zoncada, Gustavo Pulitzer, Matteo Longoni and others. The author conducted the research in the papers of the De Poli archive kept at the IUAV (University of Architecture of Venice), reconstructing the events that led to the orders of the works and their destination on board. Divided into eight thematic paragraphs, the essay examines Paolo De Poli’s activity under different aspects, determined by the destination and function of the on-board rooms, the integration with the architecture of the interiors and the experiences related to the creation of furnitures and individual items for on-board shops. The result is a complete reconstruction of Paolo De Poli’s activity linked to Italian ships.

Paolo Piccione – Un incrociatore Art Déco. Gli interni di Tomaso Buzzi per la Regia Nave Bolzano

The essay presents an unpublished work by the architect Tomaso Buzzi (Sondrio 1900 - Rapallo 1981): the interiors of the cruiser Bolzano for the Italian Royal Navy. The author illustrates the circumstances that led, in the early 1930s, to this unusual order for the Lombard designer and the result obtained: an original naval interior in the taste and style of Art Déco. The Bolzano’s furniture, made by the Marenco company of Cuneo, see the participation of artisan workshops with which Tomaso Buzzi has a long tradition and artistic collaboration in the previous decade: lamps by the Venini glassworks in Venice and by Italo Carlotti in Milan, metal furniture by SIAM of Turin, engraved stained glass windows and other decorative elements by Fontana Arte and Pietro Chiesa. Buzzi designs, selects and checks every component and material of the outfitting, furniture, chairs, armchairs, lamps, doors, handles up to ornaments and decorative elements. The interiors of the Bolzano are a rare example of Gesamtkunstwerk applied to the interior of a warship.

Antonio David Fiore – Giulio Rosso, decorazioni murali sulle navi italiane

During the interwar period, the renowned Italian decorator Giulio Rosso is involved in projects of interior decoration of two important ships: the Aurora, which was the private yacht of the Head of Government, and the Conte di Savoia, which was the first Italian ocean liner to boast a prevalently modern interior design. Thanks to the collaboration with architects such as Melchiorre Bega and Gustavo Pulitzer Finali, who championed a functional design that did not exclude decoration, Rosso contributed to the renewal of naval design. In the final part of this essay, I advance the attribution to Rosso, once again in collaboration with Bega, of some interior decoration of the Diana, the yacht that was supposed to replace the Aurora.

Rosa Chiesa, Ali Filippini – Pietro Chiesa, vetrate per le navi. L’opera di una bottega d’arte milanese per gli interni di Gustavo Pulitzer

Pietro Chiesa opened his Milanese stained glass workshop Bottega. in 1921, beginning to exhibit, always with greater success, in the most important decorative art exhibitions of the period. The Biennali di Monza are a privileged occasion of exchange with other artists and architects, among them Gio Ponti and Gustavo Pulitzer Finali, of Studio Stuard, with whom he collaborated from 1927 to 1932 in the interior design of six ships. The contribution reconsiders these works, paying attention to the development of the artist’s taste, from the initial neoclassical references, mediated by the twentieth-century current of Il Labirinto to which he was referring, towards a more modern “rationalist” design. In 1933 the Chiesa’s Bottega became part of the Fontana Arte company, of which Chiesa together with Ponti was art director, and with which he continues to collaborate in the interior design of ships. The impossibility of access to the Pietro Chiesa and Fontana Arte archives, as well as the fact that the Pulitzer archive kept in Parma, contains documentation that can be dated from 1938 onwards, has been made up for through the use of bibliographic sources, mostly from magazines, precise chronicles of the time, and iconographic sources that best illustrate the substance of Pietro Chiesa’s interventions.

Sergio Vatta – Un capolavoro dell’architettura navale. Grafica pubblicitaria, arte e decorazione per la motonave Victoria

This essay aims to present in an organic form the work of interior design, enriched by an important nucleus of artistic creations, on board the Lloyd Triestino’s motorship Victoria, entered in service 27 July 1931 from Trieste to Alexandria. After an introduction that summarizes the history of the maritime connection between the two Mediterranean cities and the commercial reasons that led to the building of the ship, the main technical and aesthetic characteristics of its construction project are described. The collaboration between the naval engineer Nicolò Costanzi and the architect Gustavo Pulitzer Finali is also emphasized: the two protagonists of the construction of one of the most beautiful and innovative Italian ships between the two wars. The text continues by analyzing the advertising campaign for the promotion of the new motorship, where emerges the work of Giuseppe Riccobaldi, an important Genoese advertising graphic designer. This is followed by the description and analysis of the first and second class lounges, designed mainly by Gustavo Pulitzer and by the Ducrot Company from Palermo. The article points out the formal and aesthetic balance achieved by the innovative architectural project and the numerous works of decorative art created by various artists such as the sculptors Libero Andreotti and Maryla Lednicka, the architect Gio Ponti’s for the ceramic lining, Pietro Chiesa for the stained glass windows and the painters August Cernigoj and Elena Fondra for the mural decorations.

Matteo Fochessati – Anselmo Bucci, tre navi. Arte e allestimento navale di un pittore del Novecento

The essay introduces the work of the painter Anselmo Bucci for the outfitting of three ships of the Navigazione Libera Triestina company, Timavo, Duchessa d’Aosta and California, built between the second and third decade of the 20th century. In the first part, the author presents, through unpublished documents from the painter’s archive, the controversial acceptance, the debate of the critics and the relations with the client of Bucci’s work. In fact, the interiors designed by the painter are placed in the climate of the renewal of the decorative practice but are rich in historical and vernacular formal references. The second part analyzes the furnishings of the three ships, in relation to the complexity of the pictorial, plastic and architectural work. The author summarizes the spatial integration of the decorative elements of this interesting and little-known episode of ship furnishings, between modernity and traditionalism.

Paolo Piccione – La ceramica decorativa a bordo delle navi italiane. Un percorso dagli anni Venti agli anni Settanta

The author offers a concise review of ceramic works of art on Italian passenger ships. Starting from the first applications, due to the collaboration between Gio Ponti and Gustavo Pulitzer, on the liner Saturnia of 1927, it continues with post-war ships up to the 1960s. The reconstruction of the Italian merchant navy sees the construction of many passenger ships for the fleets of Finmare group with the participation of architects, artists and decorators. The use of ceramics prevailed in the 1950s promoted by Gio Ponti who employs artists and artisans with the aim of advertise the Italian craftsmanship and art. Large use of ceramics is made on board the liners Conte Grande, Conte Biancamano and Andrea Doria and on other units of the Italian fleet with works by Lucio Fontana, Fausto Melotti, Guido Gambone, Pietro Melandri, Afro Basaldella, Leoncillo Leonardi and others. An opportunity to re-examine the languages and creations of Italian artists of a season in which ceramic was the protagonist of architectural decoration.

Anna Maria Ruta – Paolo Bevilacqua designer e artista nella Palermo degli anni Venti-Trenta

Through the biographical process of this palermitan artist-designer, we can certainly highlight his ecletism in researching different variations, in both types of iconographic implants, now high incisive, now sophisticated and delicate. In the decorative art years of Sicily, what comes out of this profile is not only a new and interesting protagonist, but also a slowly evolving period that was in the first decade of the XX century dominated by Ernesto Basile.

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