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Interiors of the Conte Biancamano liner, Finmare Italia Group
Finmare Italia Group
Ponti had always been interested in interior design for ships; he was an admirer of Gustavo Pulitzer and the innovative interiors that he designed for the 1931 motor ship Victoria. At the end of the forties he was involved in the post war renovation of four Italian liners (the Conte Grande, Conte Biancamano, Giulio Cesare, and Andrea Doria, in collaboration with Nino Zoncada. It was still a question of dressing the liner, not designing it. Yet his ships -ships he loaded with art, as traveling heralds of Italy- had two innovations in their unalterable internal spaces: partitions and pillars lined with light sheets of aluminium (a new application of the material), and illuminating ceilings: the low ceilings of the ship were transformed into airy displays. As in Ponti's interiors of the time, his decoration of these ships tended toward excess. And again, as in his interior decorations and in the pages of Domus, the Italian art that Ponti put on board was mainly ceramics: ceramic sculpture by Fontana, Melotti, and Leoncillo, as well as vases by Gambone, Melandri, and Zortea, and enamels by De Poli, designed by Ponti himself. There were also paintings, like the ones by Salvatore Fiume, on a theatrical scale. They were beautiful ships, even if sailing a little late. Designs by Ponti, in collaboration with Nino Zoncada.