For nearly 25 years, Frank Ponterio has been driven by a singular mission to create environments that are the ultimate expression of his clients’ lifestyles. What sets the Chicago-based interior and product designer apart is his innate ability to read any room, and determine what the space and its inhabitants need. His work, rooted in a modern classic approach, balances elegance with ease, and artistry with approachability. His immersive approach combines vast architectural and design expertise, a knack for translating clients’ desires into environments, and an unwavering determination to not only meet but exceed their expectations with work that stands the test of time.
After years of developing custom furnishings for client projects, Ponterio joined forces with South Carolina–based Avrett in 1994 for a first foray into product design, introducing a line of custom, handcrafted furniture and fixtures that blend the company’s Old World manufacturing techniques with Ponterio’s refined, masculine aesthetic. Three years later, he was tapped by industry leader Lee Jofa for a collection of understated yet elegant upholstery pieces, complemented by tables and lighting, marking the brand’s first collaboration with a Midwestern designer. In 2019, Ponterio will launch a collection of furniture, lighting and accessories for Arteriors, as well as a comprehensive fabric and trimmings collection for Stroheim. Ponterio’s product designs are influenced by the architecture of Europe and his native Chicago, mens fashion, and his strong ties to Italy.
Among other accolades for both project and product design, Ponterio has received Design Excellence Awards in historic restoration, showhouse design, hospitality design, furniture design, and lighting design. Educated at Chicago’s Harrington Institute of Design, Ponterio is an accredited member of ASID as well as The Institute for Classical Architecture & Art, and holds an NCIDQ license. As a board member, he lends his time and expertise to The Design Leadership Network, and serves on the board of directors of the Children’s Brittle Bone Foundation. He is a longtime supporter of and designer for the prestigious Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens, benefiting the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago.
Ponterio resides in Lake Forest with his wife, daughter and beloved dogs.
- What’s your go-to classic color choice?
- A neutral palette offers the best foundation
- Is there a hotel that’s most inspired your work while traveling?
- Hotel Caruso in Ravello, Italy
- Which pieces of technology do you use to document design inspiration?
- The 27 bones of the human hand and 360 Panorama
- Where do you go to spot new style?
- Maison & Objet
- Do you have a favorite restaurant (for the design and the food, of course)?
- The Loggia Restaurant at Villa San Michele in Florence
- What’s your favorite small museum in the world?
- Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice
- How do you usually start your weekend?
- Entertaining family and friends with fine vino rosso
- Who or what is your biggest design influence?
- European travels
- How do you keep it all together?
- A great design team
- Design a garden: groomed or freestyle?
- Both. My home is groomed and our family farm is freestyle