Portrait of Italian modernist and art deco designer Pietro Chiesa holding a star in front of his eye and wearing a bow tie

Pietro Chiesa

Italian modernist designer best known for his glass furnishing pieces


Pietro Chiesa (born 1892, Milan–died 1948, Paris) was a leading Italian Modernist and Art Deco designer best known for his artistic glass furnishing pieces. He belonged to the Swiss Ticino family of artists. He studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera and then trained as an apprentice at the studio of furniture designer Giovanni Battista Gianotti. In 1921, he opened his own studio in Milan, the Bottega di Pietro Chiesa, and showcased his work at the seminal 1925 Paris Exposition. While running the Bottega di Pietro Chiesa, he also completed some major projects, such as designing and crafting the windows for the Trieste Stock Exchange and those for the ocean liner Conte di Savoia. read more

In 1925, he exhibited his work for the first time at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris. In 1927, Chiesa partnered with a number of prominent Milanese architects and designers, including Michele Marelli, Gio Ponti, Tomaso Buzzi, Emilio Lancia, and Paolo Venini, to cofound Il Labirinto, a collaborative effort that produced highly creative furnishings in a style that came to be known as the Novecento.

In 1932, Gio Ponti approached Pietro Chiesa to join him and Luigi Fontana—who were partners of Luigi Fontana SA, one of the largest manufacturers artistic stained-glass products in Italy–to become the company’s artistic director. In 1933, Pietro Chiesa merged the Bottega di Pietro Chiesa with Luigi Fontana SA, and together, Chiesa, Luigi Fontana, and Gio Ponti formed Fontana Arte which specialized in furniture, lighting, glass windows, and furnishing accessories.

It was during Chiesa’s tenure as artistic director of Fontana Arte that he created hundreds of extremely creative pieces—all bearing his imprimatur of the highest excellence in glass craftsmanship and the techniques he applied to modern materials. His most well-known pieces include the Fontana table, which was made from a single band of bent clear glass; the Cartoccio vase; and the lacquered brass Luminator floor lamp. Despite the obvious modernity of most of his pieces, one can see how Chiesa was influenced by the classical forms. He also created what would become Fontana Arte’s signature colors of the time, deep blue and green, which Chiesa integrated successfully into many of his creations.

Pietro Chiesa remained artistic director of Fontana Arte, until his unexpected death in Paris in 1948, and his artistic impact deeply influenced Max Ingrand, who became artistic director of Fontana Arte after his death.

For more information on Pietro Chiesa, please visit the following:
Pietro Chiesa at Fontanaarte
Pietro Chiesa at Pietrochiesa.com

Last updated: February 6, 2020

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Max Ingrand
Ceiling light, model 1462

Max Ingrand
Mirror, model 2045

Max Ingrand
Rare illuminated mirror, model 2044

Max Ingrand
Dalia chandelier, model 1563

Max Ingrand
Coffee table, model 1774

Gio Ponti
Set of 6 chairs model 110

Max Ingrand for Fontana Arte
Mirror, model 2273

Max Ingrand
Table lamp, model 2374

Max Ingrand
Blue Dalia chandelier model 1563

Max Ingrand
Omai - Table lamp with vase, model 2260

Gio Ponti
Coffee table no. 1101

Gio Ponti
Dining chairs model 111 - set of 6

Gio Ponti
Desk/vanity

Max Ingrand for Fontana Arte
Vase/candleholder, mod. 2329

Gio Ponti
Armchair, Hotel Parco dei Principi, Rome

Gio Ponti
Rare coffee table

Gio Ponti and Paolo de Poli
Blue vase

Gio Ponti and Piero Fornasetti
Chiavi e pistole - chair

Max Ingrand
Bar cart

Gio Ponti
Glass coffee table

Max Ingrand
Brass table lamp

Max Ingrand
Mirror made by Fontana Arte

Gio Ponti
Luna - lamps from Villa Arreaza, Caracas

Max Ingrand
Table lamp model 2206

Gio Ponti
Luna - pair of lamps, from Villa Arreaza

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Balletto Alla Scala fabric

Gio Ponti
Balletto Alla Scala fabric - burgundy

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Headboard and Daybed

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Gatto - (cat)

Gio Ponti
Cabinet and Sideboard for Singer & Sons

Maxi Ingrand
Oval mirror made by Fontana Arte

Gio Ponti
Rare chair for Vembi Burroughs

Gio Ponti
Pair of armchairs model 504

Gio Ponti and Paolo de Poli
Uccello - (bird)

Gio Ponti and Paolo de Poli
Cavallo - (horse)

Gio Ponti
Poesia del Mare–turquoise fabric pattern

Gio Ponti
Poesia del mare-black & white pattern

Gio Ponti
Diavolo - decorative objects

Max Ingrand
Arlecchino - mirror

Gio Ponti
Set of 6 dining chairs model 646/2

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Cristalli fabric pattern

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Estate - fabric pattern

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Legge Mediterranea fabric pattern

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Eclissi fabric pattern

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Mirror, model 2273

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bibliography


Franco Deboni

Fontana Arte. Giò Ponti, Pietro Chiesa, Max Ingrand

Umberto Allmandi

Turin, Italy (2013)

 

Pietro Chiesa

Custom Built: The Concepgt of Unique Italian Design

Charta

Padova, Italy (2003)

 

Mario Bettinotti

Vent’anni di movimento operaio genovese: Pietro Chiesa, Giuseppe Canepa, Lodovico Calda

Edizioni dell’A.N.S.

Milan, Italy (1932)