Conversation with Gaetano Pesce

Daniella Ohad
May 12, 2013 1:33AM

Last night, at Collective Design Fair, I was honored to host and converse with one of the most innovative, provocative, and daring thinkers of the design world, whose work always intrigues, amazes, and enchants.

The disciplines that Gaetano Pesce has mastered during nearly five decades of a rich and accomplished career are multiple. He is a designer, an architect, an urban planner, a citizen of the world, a political thinker, a poet, a storyteller, a therapist, an anthropologist, a tastemaker, and one of the most creative people I have ever met. Today, we cannot tell the story of modern design without including his revolutionary Feltri Chair, colorful Sansone table, or the Donna Chair, which reminds us of the ever challenged place of women in our society.

In elevating the beauty of imperfection, he has initiated a campaign against serial production. In his search for an alternative to the rigid philosophy of modernism, he has proposed design that is flexible, elastic, sensual, and full of freedom. His objects, whether furniture, jewelry, vases, or entire buildings, are always poetic, affectionate, stimulate the imagination, and radiate the spirit of his own personality. They make you smile, but they also make you think. They make you feel and experience design in a very different way.  

Objects, we have learnt from him, are not just about beauty, aesthetics, or the function they fulfill. But they have an important mission. They ought to express political, social, and even religious ideas. In Gaetano Pesce's world, design formulates cultural statements. In his hands, resin, rubber, and polyurethane are transformed into wonder materials, tools to express the zeitgeist. Because to him, only experimental materials allow the discovery of new languages.

Daniella Ohad