Gaetano Pesce

Gaetano Pesce is an italian designer and architect whose projects express a guiding principle: that modernism isn’t a style as much as it is a method for interpreting the present and hinting at the future in which individuality is preserved and celebrated.

Gaetano Pesce
Gaetano Pesce

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About his life

Gaetano Pesce was born in La Spezia in 1939. He studied architecture at the IUAV in Venice, and attended the Venice Institute of Industrial design. At this experimental school, he met Milena Vettore with whom he opened a studio in Padua, founding in 1959 the “N” Group which focused on studies in programmed art. He carries out research in the field of kinetic and serial art. He is in the theatre and the cinema, concerned with lighting, movement and sound as means of expression. Since 1962 he has worked in design, experimenting with new materials and unusual shapes. In 1971 he collaborated with BracciodiFerro (in the Cassina group) for the production of certain experimental objects (like Moloch, 1971, a table lamp blown up to the dimensions of an ironic and emblematic item). In 1972 he took part in the famous exhibition “Italy: The New Domestic Landscape” at MoMA in New York, with a dwelling module. Experimentation and irony are also exhibited in his projects for Cassina, amongst which the Tramonto a New York sofa (1980) and the Feltri armchair (1987). After a long period in Paris, he moved to New York in 1983 and now lives and works there. Examples of his work may be found in the most important design museums all over the world.

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What are Gaetano Pesce’s style main features ?

Since the 1960s, Gaetano Pesce has researched the function and form of utilitarian and decorative objects, including furniture, jewelry, and shoes, from the perspective of human emotion, environment, and production. Gaetano Pesce is known for innovative high-minded modern design with wit and style. He has challenged accepted standards of abstraction, uniformity, and homogeneity. Architecture and design critic Susan Slesin wrote, “For Gaetano Pesce, to be modern is to face the world squarely and use design as a means to comment on it. Gaetano Pesce has expanded established notions of Modernism through the creation functional, imperfect, and warm product design. He is known to connect art and society to design through organic forms. For him, the design and development of portable goods has always incorporated craft-specialization, history, humor, and the human need for connection. Gaetano Pesce’s industrial design techniques such asdiversified series production are processes by which he has experimented with materials using a craft manufacturing sensibility applied to mass production methodology. On the production line, for example, factory workers vary proportions to produce a series of objects with a “one of a kind” quality. Since 1987, he has experimented infusing ordinary materials with experimental additives, such as liquid plant resin, to simplify the manufacturing processes to adapt to limited industrial capabilities. Furthermore, socio-political messaging is sometimes found in the objects, such as the Nobody’s Perfect (2002) chair, and a 2010 series of 60 distinct, irregularly shaped tables, for Cassina, which together form the recognizable shape of a boot shape to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Unification of Italy.

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Gaetano Pesce’s studio in SoHo, New York City
Gaetano Pesce’s studio in SoHo, New York City.

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Architecture projects

Giant lighting -1997
Giant lighting -1997

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Organic building
Organic building – 1989

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Fontessa Melissa Shoes - 2009
Fontessa Melissa Shoes – 2009

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Tavolone - 2007
Tavolone – 2007

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Fish Design - rings and bracelets - 2004
Fish Design – rings and bracelets – 2004

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I Feltri - 1986
I Feltri – 1986

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Up Chair - 1969
Big Mama, Up Chair – 1969

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Gaetano Pesce’s drawings

Church of Solitude, 1974-77
Gaetano Pesce, Church of Solitude, 1974-77

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1998 Bahia House drawing, exhibition at Maxxi in Rome
Gaetano Pesce 1998 Bahia House drawing, exhibition at Maxxi in Rome

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Pugno All'Architecttura, exhibition at Maxxi in Rome, 1979
Gaetano Pesce 1979 Pugno All’Architecttura, exhibition at Maxxi in Rome

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