Gaetano Pesce [Italian, b. 1939]
Prototype for Seaweed Chair, 1991
31 x 41 x 31 inches
78.7 x 104.1 x 78.7 cm
Edition of 6
Conversation Pieces: Contemporary Furniture in Dialogue. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA. August 20, 2022 – June 25, 2023. (an example of this work)
Gaetano Pesce: Age of Contaminations. Friedman Benda, New York, NY. October 24 – December 14, 2019.
When Attitudes Become Chairs. Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, OH. September 8, 2018 – January 20, 2019.
Gaetano Pesce, Le Temps des Questions. Centre Pompidou, Paris, France. August 3, 1996 – October 3, 1996. (an example of this work)
Mutant Materials in Contemporary Design. Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY. May 25 – August 27, 1995. (an example of this work)
Gaetano Pesce: Age of Contaminations, exh. cat. New York: Friedman Benda, 2019, p. 47, p. 48.
Emily Evans Eerdmans, Glenn Adamson, Jane Adlin and Dave Barry, Wendell Castle: A Catalogue Raisonné, 1958-2012, New York: The Artist Book Foundation, 2012, p. 26. (an example of this work)
Gaetano Pesce, Gaetano Pesce: le Temps des Questions, exh. cat. Paris: Centre Georges Pompidou, 1996, p. 88. (an example of this work)
Paola Antonelli, Mutant Materials in Contemporary Design, exh. cat. New York, N.Y.: Museum of Modern Art, 1995, p. 43.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
Of the founding generation of radical designers, Gaetano Pesce’s influence remains unparalleled. By refusing to adhere to traditional boundaries between architecture, sculpture, and conceptual art, his cross-contamination between genres consequentially altered the landscape of design and was a catalyst for the establishment of the contemporary studio practice.
Born in 1939 in La Spezia, Italy, Pesce graduated with a degree in architecture from the University of Venice in 1965. Contemporaneous to the investigations of the Italian Arte Povera movement, he inserted himself into serial production situations, attempting to humanize manufacturing through variation and expression for B&B Italia, Cassina and Bracciodiferro. His radical experimentation with industrial and everyday materials such as polyurethanes and poured resins broke the mold of standardization. Inventing techniques that would produce variable results that invited flaws and mistakes, Pesce refused to follow the modernist ideology of regularity and perfection dominant at the time.
His architectural projects include the Organic Building of Osaka in Japan (1990), a precursor to the ‘living wall,’ “in which the “co-existence of greenery, architecture, and human beings,” is the concept. Perhaps his best known project is the design for the advertising agency TBWA\Chiat\Day’s offices in New York (1994), a radical experimental layout that is considered the first mobile office.
Pesce has taught at several institutions including Cooper Union in New York, and the Institut d’Architecture et d’Etudes Urbaines in Strasbourg. His work is included in the permanent collections of museums worldwide such as the Centre Pompidou, Paris; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Montreal; Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Paris; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY and Museum of Modern Art, Turin. Pesce lives and works in New York, NY.