Venezuela

Giò Ponti’s Butterfly

The Italian villa dominating Caracas

Imagine the 50s of the last century, in Caracas. The town is rich, and it’s going to become a landmark of the best architecture around. Carlos Raúl Villanueva is building the innovative Ciudad Universitaria, and a wealthy cars importer, Armando Planchart, calls the Italian famous architect Giò Ponti in Venezuela.
Planchart met Ponti in Milan in 1953, and he instantly wanted to commission him a modern, Italian-style villa on a hill dominating Caracas. “Your home will be as graceful as a butterfly on the top of that hill”, will write Ponti to Planchart and to his wife Anala, a woman passionate with art and a voracious reader of Domus magazine.
The house counts a single volume, with a huge, bright opening, very few doors, tenuous colours and Italian art all over: paintings by Morandi, ceramics by Melotti, other works of art by Cassina and Fornasetti. What about this villa now, the only one by Giò Pionti still existing in Latin America (the other one, Villa Arreaza, doesn’t exist anymore)? It’s an elderly butterfly, still observing Caracas from that hill. A foundation works to keep it in perfect shape, ready to be visited by all the architecture lovers knocking at its door.

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