A simple and extraordinary beauty
admin 18 February 2016
Auction 261 / Fine Design 14.06.2016

It is no coincidence that the world record of auction sale of a piece by Gio Ponti has occurred with a single piece, refined and important, such as the low table of the ancient collection of paintings of Palazzo Contini Bonacossi, proposed by Cambi during the last Design auction last December: the style and the cut of the Milanese architect are fully reflected in the richness and elegance of the line of an object which, by its nature, is to give personality to both large spaces and private lounges, completing in a harmonious and discrete way the style of the room, without distracting from the works on the walls.

“We quickly realized of having to do with an object with a unique taste, a design element that will give the room a simple and extraordinary beauty”, so Piermaria Scagliola Director of the Design Department of Cambi. And again, “The Contini Bonacossi were a large family of collectors and art dealers and they could not have relied on most capable hands than those of Gio Ponti for the furnishings of the picture gallery of their palace in Florence.”

The history of the Contini family goes back to Alexander and his wife Victoria, art dealers and philatelic experts who created an interesting collection between the nineteenth and twentieth century, gaining fortune even during the years of Fascism.

“We immediately realized that we were dealing with an object of unique taste, a design element capable to offer each and every space a simple and extraordinary beauty.”

Upon the death of Alessandro, the fate of the collection gets lost in hereditary struggles, sales and finally in state confiscations carried out by virtue of the desire of the spouses to keep the collection intact. Part of that therefore lies in a department of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, open by appointment. Even Villa Contini, in Florence, was sold and now houses the conference centre; with it furnishings were sold too, which were retraced in the eighties, with the first auctions in which they are proposed.


The low marble, wood and brass table , the two wall benches in light walnut and brass and the two consoles, all offered during the auction of Design last December, are an example of rationalism inspired to classical figures that well represents the style and taste of the thirties. As in the case of the Contini Bonacossi, so it often happens that, on the sidelines of the collections with timeless masterpieces in painting and sculpture, there are exceptional design elements, designed to maximize the experience of the enthusiast approaching to the exhibited works: the hope that we can have for the future is that, increasingly, these elements can be discovered, exploited and brought to the attention of an international audience to witness with strength the style and quality of Italian design in the world.

Even in this field the Cambi Auction House, first in Italy in the field of Design and among the top five in Europe, seeks to make its contribution with more and more effort to spread in the world the Italian creativity.

Umberto Morgagni