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Rich at the beginning and poor at the end, the magazine Stile dealt with two burning themes in its pages: Italy and art, architects and the war.
At the outset Stile was mentally akin to Aria d'ltalia, the Italian version of Verve, but with far more verve. Verve opened its pages, with solemnity, to the great French artists. Aria d'ltalia a magazine founded by Daria Guarnati, a talented Parisian in Italy did the same for the great Italian artists, but in a less solemn fashion. And so did Stile, focusing on the writings of de Chirico, the poems of a painter De Pisis, the painting of a sculptor Martini, the writings of an engineer Nervi, and films by architects BBPR, while poets and columnists (Gatto, Bontempelli, De Libera, Sinisgalli, and Irene Brin) wrote on colored paper. But in Stile there was also the innovation (a true one) of bringing out (with Carlo Pagani and Lina Bo) a monthly art magazine with a publisher and a readership who did not belong to the art world. Gio Ponti addressed everyone, not even making a distinction between art and the crafts. His aim was to make kinships visible, the kinships between the many things that express, adorn, or serve our lives -and homes. At the beginning there was in Stile the magical and motionless atmosphere of a war over art, for the sake of Italy. But the Pavilion of Italian Civilization at the E42 in 1942 already looked like a funereal manikin of architecture to Ponti. And soon his enthusiasm for the perfect and total simultaneity of ancient and modern art, and for architects as artists (Mollino, principally an artist, Libera an extremely architectural artist), and poets as artists reading Ungaretti, reading Emilio Villa, in short his determination to indicate and preserve the isolated units, seemed to isolate him from history. It was from 1943 to 1945, with the magazine operating under straitened circumstances, that his sorrow over the evils of war changed into hope, hope about what an architect could do.
Whole issues of Stile were brought out on reconstruction, unification, city planning, homes for everyone, with contributions by Michelucci, Mollino, Pica, Vaccaro, Libera, Vietti, Bottoni, Sartoris, and Banfi. And plans for small houses and standard furniture were presented- to help in the construction of those «over twenty million rooms» that «are needed by Italy.
Even if the assembly of architects to whom Ponti addressed his appeal Politica dell'Architettura the title of a pamphlet was an imaginary one, his magazine was real. Printed on cheap paper with the minimum of means, its graphics relied on the use of black-red-black, positive-negative, and a lot of boldface type for its many slogans. Stile held out with style for as long as Ponti made it his obsessive diary, writing under twenty-two different pseudonyms, commenting on everything. He saw the war as bringing the world into the world, and yet he did not foresee that new world. In the end Ponti himself grew tired of his own solitude. He emerged from Stile (even before he left the magazine) through the covers: from 1945 to 1947 the covers he designed were his real message.