GAETANO PESCE: A Design Pioneer of the 20th Century

Gaetano Pesce - photo by CIVILIAN Global

Gaetano Pesce was born on November 8, 1939, in La Spezia and spent his early life in Padua and Florence. He was known to be a leading architect in Italy and a design pioneer of the 20th century. Pesce worked as an industrial designer, urban planner, and architect in his 50 years career.

He was broad and humanistic in his attitude, while his work was distinguished by a creative utilisation of colour and materials, emphasizing links between a person and the society, through design, architecture, and art to reappraise the modern life of the mid 20th century.

Architectural Career of Gaetano Pesce

Chiat Day, 1995 – photo by Indonesia Design

Mr Pesce was educated and graduated as an architect at Venice University with notable lecturers like Ernesto Rogers and Carlo Scarpa. Mr Pesce took part in a near the beginning collective between 1958 and 1963. This collective was concerned with programmed art which was patterned after Bauhaus.

Since the 1960s, Gaetano Pesce was however recognised to have related art to the design of architecture, products and interiors from the 1960s. Muschamp Herbert who was known as the New York columnist portrayed Mr Pesce as ”the architectural equivalent of a brainstorm”. Some of the popular works of Pesce are the interior architecture of Chiat and Day offices, the computer-controlled hydrated system for the sustenance of plant growth, and the Osaka Japan Organic Building, which is a Landmark vertical garden building particularly designed to covering a complex.

The 1985 complex of forms having a shape like a running kid, located in Parc de la Villette, and the 1979 Les Halles ACIH are among the architectural accomplishments of Mr Pesce.

The architectural drawings and archetypal three-dimensional models of Gaetano Pesce were held in the permanent museum gatherings of the New York City Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum, the Museum of Art in San Francisco, Albert and Victoria Museum in London, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, among others.

Mr Pesce Industrial Design

Up chair – photo by MOHD

In the 1960s, Gaetano Pesce delved into the purpose and variety of utilitarian and ornamental objects like shoes, jewellery, and furniture, from the point of view of production, environment, and human feeling. Mr Pesce was celebrated for his ground-breaking moralising up to date design with wit and style. He also challenged the usual standards of homogeneity, uniformity, and abstraction. On the architect designer, Critic Slesin Susan wrote concerning this architect designer that for him, to modern is to face the world with all seriousness and use design as a means to remark on it.

Mr Pesce created the purposeful, imperfect, and warm production design to expand the well-known notions of Modernism. With this development, he linked society to design through the organic form, for production and fabric design.

The iconic feminist armchair of Pesce also known as the Up chair, Donna, Big Mama, and La Mamma keeps inspiring interpretation almost 50 years after it was created. His intention then was to create something concerning women situation in the world. The chair can be referred to as the mother, and the stool the baby. On the other hand, it could represent a ball and chain signifying a woman and the prison she was supposed to live.

Big Mama, La Mamma or Donna by Gaetano Pesce – photo by It’s Nice That

Pesce was popular for his work with moulds, resin, and casting techniques used to make different objects, such as lamps, chairs, vases, and the two-dimensional reliefs called the industrial skins by this designer. Since the year 1987, this designer has introduced the normal materials with experimental additives like the liquid plant resin and toiled with urethane and foam, make the manufacturing processes simpler and get used to restricted industrial capabilities. Pesce has even used urethane resin to produce rings, brooches, bracelets, and necklaces.

For Mr Pesce, the design and improvement of portable goods have always included humour, history, the human need for connection, and craft-specialisation for Pesce. Another thing about this man is that socio-political messaging was discovered in his collections.

The eccentric mixed-media industrial design and organic forms gathered in major museums all over the universe by Gaetano Pesce attributed his achievements to the dominion of art. Different creations and works of Gaetano Pesce expanded his history of public dedication to the arts.

Pesce uncovered the Majesty Betrayed in the year 2016. It was a site-specific sculpture and a gigantic female figure enfolded in a long cloak. This work of art by Pesce was stimulated by Christian Maestà who was an iconography of the Madonna on the Throne.

Unique Pratt Chair by Gaetano Pesce – photo by Artnet

The Ambitious Installation

This is a chair measuring more than 4 meters or 13 feet high and it was meant to symbolise 20 human faces. Pesce said that it is a Trojan horse that pierces the Rocca dell’Arte. This work was described as another undeniable mark of respect to cultural diversity in society.

Pesce Museum and Gallery Exhibitions

The design and architectural works of Mr Pesce have been internationally published, exhibited, and collected and added in the permanent collections of museums across the world.

The Academic Know-how of Mr Pesce

Mr Pesce taught architectural design for 28 years in many institutions of higher learning. Some of the schools he served are:

  • The Cooper Union in New York City
  • The Ohio State University in Columbus
  • Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburg
  • The Architectural School of São Paulo in Brazil
  • Hong Kong City University in China
  • Domus Academy in Milan, Italy
  • National Institute of Applied Sciences in Strasbourg, France

Some Selected Architecture Projects

Gaetano Pesce, Organic building, Osaka, 1989 – photo by BMIAA

Among the notable architecture projects of Mr Pesce include;

  • The late entries to Chicago Tower Contest, II of 1980
  • Project for the rehabilitation of the Lingotto for the Fiat Group in Turin, Italy of 1983
  • The La Maison des enfants au parc de la Villette, Paris Project of 1984
  • The Hubin Apartment Paris Project of 1986
  • The New York City Chiat/TBWA/Day Offices Project of 1991
  • The Osaka, Japan, Organic Building Project of 1993
  •  New York City Shuman Residence Project 1994
  • The Belgium Knokke-le-Zoute Art Gallery Project 1994
  • Brazil Bahia House Project 1994

Professional Recognition and Award

To crown his career as a qualified architect, Gaetano Pesce was honoured with so many professional awards from 1975 to 2010, in recognition of his hard work as an expert of his time.