Now back in Mantova

At the same time, in Ermesponti, our technician Mattia prepares all the production drawings and easily the making process starts according with them.


Each master carpenter is in charge of a specific item: Silvio of the media cabinet, Giuseppe of the hall- kitchen boiserie, Roberto of the main tv corner cabinet, Marco of the Sintagma’s bookshelves and finally Alberto, the cherry on the cake, taking charge of the small console table that goes in front of the entrance.

Measurement and atmosphere

Although we have plenty information about the loft, we can’t go on with the actual drawings of bespoke interiors until we have made our special and specific survey.
Paolo goes for a one-day-trip in NY. He meets Chris and Bill and makes an accurate survey of the loft. It’s not only a question of precise measurements. In our team, he alone has the experience to catch certain details about “before”, and with a natural problem-solving attitude, he understands how structural details interfere with the project (see our “Mondrian” media cabinet). Moreover, he can predict the transformation of the worksite, so that, by the end, everything perfectly matches.


It is not only about technical skills: an educated and sensitive architect like Paolo is able to feel the ” genius loci”, the distinctive atmosphere of a specific location, so that the final result will be that of a home with character, not that of an anonymous house.

Gio Ponti’s cultural heritage: our tribute.

For Ermes Ponti, Gio Ponti was a master, almost a grandfather.

Not only a rare coincidence of names and neither a simply business relation between them; a friendship that still exists between the two families- the Pontis from Milan and the Pontis from Mantua.

Gio Ponti was “four-times-twenty” and Ermes was not 25 yet; Gio was one of the most famous architects of the last century and Ermes was simply a young carpenter with a great passion for his job.

From their joint work emerged some beautiful projects and, as Gio put it, we feel they represent a beautiful story of our past and- at the same time- a legacy, a heritage for the present and for the future.

So we feel we have this heritage to be shared. Gio Ponti designed for our company an interior concept (“la casa adatta”) and a full furniture collection dedicated to it- the Apta line.

Both of them were truly revolutionary in the early 70’s as they are absolutely up-to-date now. Continue reading

Lots of mail

3D Rendering of the media cabinet, kitchen cabinet and "Mondrian" wall paneling

3D Rendering of the media cabinet, kitchen cabinet and “Mondrian” wall paneling

As a good tailor, we always start from a deepened dialogue with the client and a meticulous survey of the location.
We start to plan only after receiving from Chis, the loft’s owner, the basic requirements for it. We make the 3D drawings to let him visualize our first proposal and we develop it until we get what he needs. We establish a good relationship with him during this short period, we exchange lots of mail with him and with his local architect, Bill.

It’s a team job

Now we have the first Design-Apart showroom! The location it’s amazing; a huge second floor loft on the west side of the 25th Street, just a few steps from Madison Square Garden.


Diego gives to Paolo and me the task to do the project. Actually, we are the only ones in this newborn team to have the professional experience (more than ten years, all over the world) for planning a whole project and bespoke interior like this and in such a short time!
We are proud to become the project HUB of Design-Apart! After Paolo’s survey, we are to complete the actual drawings for the works on site coordinated by Bill, the local architect and by Enrico, one of the founders of Design-Apart, especially in the last phase, before receiving the bathrooms and the furniture.


Podda Ponti Architetti design the new Corneliani’s brand pattern.

Sometimes design an architectural facade for a fashion brand means something more and it implies some background questions: What’s the brand identity? What’s the meaning of the facade of its new flagship in the most important fashion street of Shanghai?


We knew that one of the key brand value of Corneliani was the excellence of its bespoke production in the factory of Mantua, one of the  most  beautiful cities of the italian Renaissance. We live in Mantua, we studied for years the historic buildings of Leon Battista Alberti, Giulio Romano and Andrea Mantegna here. All those things are part of our own architectural background ( Continue reading

The perfect showroom

After receiving the layouts of each location, I suggest Diego to send each client an easy questionnaire to fill in, so to get almost the basic requirements from each candidate (for us it’s impossible to start planning a bespoke interior without knowing nothing of the client!). As soon as we receive the answers, we begin to plan.


We haven’t enough time to develop the 3 D drawing for each of them: its the middle of May, Diego and Enrico are in NY for the ICFF and have to meet the clients in the following week. But I can make easily by hand a lots of sketches, to show them how the single loft can be designed and furnished. Incredible: they like my sketches so much! One of them is so impressed that the week after, June the 6th, he decides to sign the contract!

NYC Crossroads by Christian Schuster

Searching for a loft in NY

Design-Apart needs to find the right location for the first “living” showroom in New York. Diego and his family are supposed to move in and live there for a year. They will share their new home with American guests. Visitors will be regularly invited to enjoy the experience of top quality Italian craftsmanship and family life.

Diego has the great idea to engage the whole city offering to remodel and refurnish an empty loft with all the top quality furniture of the Design-Apart artisans and exchanging that with a 12-months free-rent hospitality. In a few weeks they receives so many great candidates! They select four of them: one on the 5th avenue, one in Flatiron District, one in Soho, one in Chelsea.

The Legacy of Steve Jobs.



He was brilliant. He had his own style. He had his own approach,” Gates said. “Mine is, I guess…a little geekier than his was”.


While Bill Gates admits to being less cool than Steve Jobs, Jobs made ​​a more profound distinction. He recognized in Bill a “businessman” who “has excelled on the financial side of things.” Steve instead saw things differently, though, saying that for him: “The motivation was in the products, not the profits.”

My passion has been to build an enduring company where people were motivated to make great products.” This was Job’s creed. His goal was the excellence of a product that would meet the needs of the people, even before they expressed that need; “ Our job is to figure out what they‘re going to want before they do.”

The last few pages of Steve Jobs’ famous biography sum up to perfection his identity and his legacy. Reading and rereading these pages I note the deep affinity between our tiny company, ermesponti, and the giant, Apple: from the mission to create quality products to the lack of interest in profit, combined with an almost Socratic problem-solving attitude towards customer’s needs.

But the thing that strikes me most is the similarity of approach; Jobs called it the ‘end-to-end process’. It was the integrated control of hardware, software and content in a single system that allowed Apple to reach product perfection, intuitive use, beauty of design and, finally, device synchronization.

This is what we have been seeking to do at ermesponti for years, by combining architectural design with good site management and high quality artisanal production and by focusing on the specific needs of the customer and solving their problems in terms of space, time and cost.

It is the economic crisis itself that demands it. The logic of interior design and traditional contract jobs are no longer applicable; there are too many players, over-fragmented processes, unbridgeable gaps between aesthetic, technical and practical demands; long waits, inefficiency, errors and costs that are disproportionate to the results. Excellence and simplicity come at a price; not only lean production but especially an integrated, uninterrupted process which ensures quality and customization optimization along with time-cost factor containment.

The comparison is daring, we know, yet even Jobs seems to confirm it when he refers to Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci as authoritative examples of seamless integration between the humanities and science, art and technology. Do these two worlds not meet here today in the workshop of a contemporary carpenter-architect such as Paolo Ponti, or in the Apple product development labs? Richard Sennett in The Craftsman teaches us that the term ‘artisan’ should be newly defined to involve everything that man thinks and produces directly; from ice cream to furniture and products of the new technologies. Then ‘the end-to-end process’ could be a starting point for defining our new identity as regards future challenges; not just for a specific industry but for all those areas where the process requires a new organizational structure, including, for example, the current need for market competitiveness.

For us at ermesponti the end-to-end process is Steve Jobs’ greatest legacy and what links us most closely to him. A seamless process from the first ideas for the design to the finished product, guaranteed and highly personalized. A key-in-hand service that unites the design phase with the executive one (head and hand, as Michelangelo or even Richard Sennett might say) ensures an optimum result and a highly competitive time/cost ratio. Don’t believe us? Take a look at our case histories


Daniela Podda and Paolo Ponti (Podda Ponti Architetti) bring Andrea Mantegna in Shanghai

We are proud to announce that Mantua is not so far from Shanghai from today.

We have found an invisible link from one of our world-known frescos of the “Camera Picta” in the oldest part of the Mantua city centre and the new Corneliani flagship store in Nanjing road, the main fashion street in Shanghai.

Corneliani, one of our most important business client, asked us to design its new Chinese flagship store in Shanghai and its external and internal facades, for one of the most famous luxury mall: the Citic Square.

For the interiors we followed the design and the materials of the Montenapoleone’s flagship store in Milan (designed and produced in 2010). But for the facade we felt that the italian brand should need a special sign that could express his identity as a Mantua-based fashion-man-brand and its values of  made-in-italy-quality and customer-made tailoring.

As usual, when we have to create something new, we invent (“invenire” in latin means “to find”) it from our background history. It was like our pencil went by itself, designing on a white sheet of paper one of the most recognizable decorative pattern of the Italian Renaissance: Mantegna created it for the wall of the Camera Picta’s frescos (that represents the Gonzaga family) and soon it became one of the favorite decorative pattern painted on the facades of the aristocratic building of the period.

Of course Mantegna painted a marble motif; we transformed this decoration in a micro-perforated metal back-lit with a special ring of warm-led lights that reflects on a marble surface, patterned like a chessboard on the back side. Reminds a marble facade of an Italian renaissance church and its own decorated bronze gate.

The effect is very sculptural, elegant but masculine; like Corneliani brands values.

You can see it by yourself, if you have a walk on Nanjing road, or see some picture  of the work on the new Poddaponti website:

Or you can read the whole story of the flagship on: