Ermes Ponti and the German Pavillion @ the Venice Architecture Biennale 2014. The Design-Apart interview.

| Author

Biennale Venezia: Padiglione Germania con interni by ermes pontiOur partner ermes ponti has just finished the realization of a very important assignment: the interiors of the German Pavillion at the Venice Architecture Biennale.

It’s an ambitious project, as you can reliaze visiting the Pavillion in Venice: the faithful re-construction of the Bonn 1964 building known as the Chancellor’s Bungalow.

Ermes ponti, together with the large team who worked on the project, has been up to the difficult challenges the commissioners put in front of them.

Our partner has had a key-role in the success of the reconstruction, as the architects in charge of the assignment have publicly acknowledged.

And, last but not least, The Guardian judged the German Pavillion among the 10 best national pavillions of the whole Biennale.

We have exchanged some views with the company, on the project. 

Design-Apart: Italian quality and German quality: partners on a common project.

How have you been able to be chosen in the selection to work on such an extraordinary, international project?

Installazione ermes ponti alla Biennaleermes ponti: We’ve been able to be selected for both an Italian aspect and a German one.

The Italian is the undisputable quality of our work and portfolio; the German one is the absolute transparency of the selection process, based exclusively on quality: this is how the commissioners have chosen our small company among the others.

Then, when we met the commissioners Alex e Savvas, we immediately felt alike.

After shaking hands, we flew to Frankfurt, took the train for Bonn for the first on-site survey.

D-A: What exactly is the job you’re in charge of?

How were the works carried out?

ep: We have crafted five pieces: the entrance boiserie, the bookcase of the Chancellor’s studio, two doors and part of the living-room cabinet.

After a very precise survey, we have selected the most suitable woods for the reproduction of the various pieces, and presented our choice to the commissioners: they were of such a quality, even higher than the original!

We have then taken care of the executive drawings, down to the smallest detail, including original 60’s key locks.

All pieces have been taken care of by our Master Artisans, who pre-assembled them in our laboratory to verify that everything fit perfectly, in the way it was supposed to be.

Then, off to Venice for installation: one work day, with a team of four.

The German Pavillion has been the first to be completed, also thanks to our early involvement, together with the German firms who were completing the structure.

We were told that we’ve been… more on time than the Swiss!
Said by a German living in Zurich, we think it’s quite a compliment 😉

D-A: Do you think your collaboration has been considered in the right way, or do you feel you’ve been just used as contractors?

When we saw the sponsor panel outside the Bulngolow, we were astonished: our small firm was mentioned with the giants: Mercedes-Benz, Shuco, Zumthobel… and Ermes Ponti! Biennale Venezia 2014: ermes ponti al Padiglione Germania

Our small name has been quite recognized, in all commuication activities, to testify the Made in Italy excellent quality in crafting.

D-A: You are not new to international experiences… but in this particular case, have you felt a cultural gap with the Germans?

ep: The only difference with the Germans – which we appreciated – is the selection criteria applied by the architects in charge of the assignment, based exclusively  on merit, which led to the choice of the very best for every part of the project.

Too many times, during selection processes in Italy, merit does not get the attention it deserves.

Talking about cultural background, we have felt very close to Alex and Savvas: we think we had a deep understanding of the project.

We also feel the same cultural roots: what a satisfaction to talk with them about Adolf Loos’ Raumplan!

interni ermes ponti per padiglione germania alla biennaleD-A: Which other partners are involved in the project?

ep: They’re all market leaders of their respective industries: Schuco for doors and windows, Zumthobel for lighting, Saint-Gobain for glass.
Then Mercedes-Benz , Eternit, Ghroe…

The only two companies of smaller size are ermes ponti and Wand-Raum for couches.

D-A: The Guardian has jusged the German Pavillion to be among the 10 best national pavillions of the Biennale: what’s your opinion?

ep: Well, we may be biased, but we as architects see in the German Pavillion the only pavillion speaking the specific language of Architecture, that is the experience of the four dimensions of the architctonical space.

Anybody can see in the intersection between the two buildings the history of 19th century German architecture. It’s amazing!

You don’t need to read a brochure about it, as it happens in other pavillions: in the case of the Kanzler Bungalow anyone can feel the space, understanding immediately the history of the last hundred years.

This, in our opinion, is the strength of this incredible project.
We are also proud that the commissioners have acknolewdged our role in it, inasmuch even the smallest details – of which we took care in many ways – tell an important part of the story, in contrast with the Nazi German Pavillion building of the ’30s.

D-A: At last, a question that may help other artisan companies of Italy: which are the “best practices” to be able to emerge in these international scenarios, as Ermes Ponti does?

ep: We think you emerge just as you are.

First of all, you have to be reliable and transparent.

Then, show what you can do, and how you do it, always putting a heartfelt passion in your work.

The only way to be appreciated abroad – for the Italian small companies like us – is to prove the uniqueness of our excellence.

As far as ermes ponti is concerned, we show the end-to-end process of our company: from creativity to production, for a totally customized, turnkey service, which guarantees the client in terms of timing and costs, besides an absolute sartorial quality of the product.

Who tries the ermes ponti method sticks with it: the worldwide list of references of our company demonstrates it!

ermes ponti alla biennale di venezia