His prodigious and often radical body of work includes houses made of pink foam, chairs of extruded PVC noodles, and lamps of drooping resin. For Pesce, relying on traditional materials is just as silly as sticking to obsolete modes of transportation. “It’s the 21st century,” he adds, “you didn’t ride here on a horse.”
Pesce isn’t overly concerned with convention, boundaries, or even political correctness. When we meet in his SoHo studio, Pesce holds court from the Nocturne in New York sofa (2010), a night-time variation of his iconic Sunset in New York (1980) design, a soft throne in the shape of the moon rising over Manhattan.
The cozy space is brimming with his many contributions to design history, including an Up-5 Donna chair and ottoman, which resemble the curvaceous torso of a woman covered in stretch jersey and attached to a ball and chain. Released in 1969, during the tumult of the feminist movement in Italy, the Donna was his first statement of concern over the global plight of women.
“After 50 years, I thought the problem was disappearing, but it’s gotten worse,” Pesce laments.