DESIGN & ARCHITECTURE

A DEFINING EVOLUTION

DESIGNER FRANK PONTERIO’S SKILL AND EXCELLENT DESIGN EYE ARE LASER-FOCUSED ON HIS NEWEST DIMENSION – AIRCRAFT INTERIORS.

REGINA RUSSO

 

What would have been a typical day, just before spring on the golf course turned out to be truly memorable for Chicago based interior designer Frank Ponterio. It was the day that he added private jet interior designer to his bio. Projects such as this dovetailed nicely from his already established Chicago-based architecture and design firm. From exclusive private country clubs to historic residences, boutique hotels to swanky penthouses, each case is an opportunity to expand his repertoire. So what’s the catch?

While Frank was figuring out how to lower his handicap, his longstanding client and golfing buddy proposed a challenge – and it wasn’t let’s play a skins game. He recently purchased a pre-owned Cessna Citation CJ2+, and it required some upgrades. It seemed straight forward, but it was anything but. The caveat was this: Cessna needed to be dressed to impress and ready to fly to the Masters in August in thirty days.

One look at the plan and Frank knew his client’s original request for a “clean up” would be a bit more intensive, adding more stress to the already pressing timeline. Despite the confined space restrictions, Frank employed the same design methodology as he does with residential interiors. “Passengers notice everything. Your audience in a private jet is a captive one, that’s why, as a designer, you have to pay attention to every detail.” With this concept in mind, Frank recalls, “Exactly thirty days before the practice rounds kicked off, we got to work and began to dismantle the interior completely, stripping it down to the fuselage.”

The initial spark for the cabin’s design and the color scheme came from a rug recently used in one of Frank’s interior projects. Scott Group Studio, known in the industry for their high-quality bespoke carpets, reinterpreted the customdye wool that furnished the foundation for the balance of the interior’s design. Seats were upholstered in high-performance soft, creamy white leather from Townsend and custom navy trim from Garrett Leather. Lower walls were outfitted with textured fabric from Holly Hunt and upper with leather from Tapis, another industry heavyweight. Custom gloss mahogany millwork, lined drawers, and Alicia Adams alpaca throws complete the clean and elegant overall look. It would only be fitting that all of the avionics and electronics were updated as well.

 

It wasn’t exactly the most relaxing month of Frank’s life. “30 days before the practice rounds kicked off at Augusta, we got to work. We had team calls every morning, reviewed photography from the aviation contractor, and kept on top of every detail. In the end, all the attention paid off. My client was able to arrive on time in style,” explained Frank.

Today, Frank and his team are celebrating the success of their new line of furniture and lighting for Arteriors Homes and spearheading the launch of a new collection for the esteemed Clarence House, which will officially launch worldwide in Paris at the upcoming Maison & Objet. As the firm’s first guest designer in history, an addition of over 100 fabulous new fabrics and trimmings was added to this already iconic design house. As for his aircraft interior design – he already has two projects waiting in the wings!

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