Art | Venezuela | 27.06.24

Visit Gio Ponti’s Villa Planchart in Caracas

Villa Planchart, also known as “El Cerrito”, is much more than a house on the hills of San Román, Caracas. It’s an architectural masterpiece built between 1953 and 1954 by Giovanni Ponti, one of the most important Italian architects of the 20th century.

Today, the villa is celebrated for its innovative design and harmonious blend of architecture and art.


Ponti first traveled to Caracas because Armando and Anala Planchart, prominent Venezuelan art patrons and collectors, had a vision for their ideal home that only one person could make a reality. Armando had achieved success as the exclusive importer of the Cadillac brand in Venezuela, dedicated himself to his greatest passions, orchids, hunting and art. Anala, who shared her husband’s interest in art, was very involved in the busy cultural life of modern and growing Caracas. Armando wanted a house outside the city and Anala could not be away from Caracas. Finally the ideal place appeared — a privileged plot of land on top of a hill (cerro) within the Caracas valley from which you can view the city in a marvelous perspective. The couple wanted a modern residence that reflected their cultural interests and affluent lifestyle, where they could have their collection of orchids and hunting trophies, and where it was possible to see every corner of the house from any point (which explains the almost absence of walls).


When the Plancharts discovered Ponti’s work through a classic architecture magazine, they traveled to Milan to personally ask him to build their dream home. The design process took place in a back and forth of plans, and in successive trips from Ponti to Caracas. Needless to say, Ponti was overwhelmed by the beauty of the tropics and amazed by Caracas. This emotional connection and deep respect for the place ended up materializing in the design of Vila Planchart.

The design process wasn’t easy. After several sketches and modifications, the final choice was a house with a simple façade, and a central focus on the main room. One of the villa’s distinctive features is its integration of interior and exterior spaces. The Tropical Dining Room, for instance, blurs the boundaries between indoors and outdoors with its open design and continuous diamond-patterned marble flooring. In addition, the repeating motifs of diamonds and butterflies provide rhythm to the villa.



But Ponti wasn’t satisfied with designing only the architecture of the house. He also created the furniture, lamps, textiles, cutlery, wallpaper and other elements, to make sure it all perfectly fit together.

Ponti achieves a sense of lightness and an organic flow by making the interior design and architecture almost unmistakably part of each other. Ponti manages, from a game of plans and lines on floors and ceilings, to lead the visitor directly to the main space of the house, the living room, from where the entire house can be seen, with a view of the studio, the main dining room, the patio, and then, the views of the imposing Ávila hill.


Villa Planchart is preserved by the Fundación Anala y Armando Planchart and remains a significant example of mid-20th-century modern architecture. It is a testament to the successful collaboration between the architect and his clients, resulting in a home that is both functional and a work of art​.


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