Design Masterpieces: a tribute to Gaetano Pesce

Maestro Gaetano Pesce, an authoritative voice of international design, turns 80 years old. A prolific creator of myriads of masterpieces amongst which monumental sculptures, vases, chairs, wardrobes and small resin objects that have defined the history of art and design of the 20th and 21st century.

Maestro Gaetano Pesce at work. Photo Courtesy of Olga Antipina.

Gaetano Pesce, who turns 80 years old on November 8th, is an unstoppable force of self-discipline, he works every day with stamina of steel and laser focus resolution to achieve his creative goals with the drive that only belongs to strong leaders, he leads by example and expects the best from his team, dedicating his time to creating daily, no matter what. Every day, weekends included, he visits his workshop in Brooklyn, where a team of assistants aid him to make his masterpieces come to life.

A fierce leader, he knows exactly the real meaning of creative expression, through the means of multidisciplinary approches, cannot exist without the diligence of the maximization of the use of time. As Pesce declared in a 2017 interview for Manintown, magnificent plans for 2019 exhibitions were in the works. These plans have been punctually delivered such as the ‘Maestà Soffrente’ displayed in Milan’s Piazza Duomo up to the exhibitions and shows that opened in the last week of October in New York.

At the new spaces of Salon 94 Design, in New York City, Gaetano’s legendary workshop, usually closed to public view is recreated, including assistants, machinery and works, opening hours and the Maestro himself included and available to direct the work and meet his admirers. A unique performance of excellence, in which art and design lovers are generously invited to experience the work of Gaetano Pesce in person, circulating between existing iconic works and able to observe the production of new works, witnessing the making of yet another chapter of history. Although the experience of the open laboratory ended on November 2, on the other side of the city, in Chelsea, Friedman Benda Gallery hosts until December 14 “Age of Contaminations” (catalog) a critical investigation into the work of Gaetano Pesce since 1968 to 1995. What a treat for NY and visitors! We welcome this gift and celebrate his creative genius and charismatic presence in the design ad art world throughout the decades with a little voyage through his work in pictures.  

On the occasion of this special anniversary celebration, we have met Gaetano Pesce to talk about his approach to design and future projects.

1) What was your success or the most satisfying result? Or a moment of particular satisfaction (among thousands) during these first 80 years?

Discover certain values ​​of our time still hidden, or almost. Feeling that men, in the so-called developed countries, are a little tired and that women have the energy necessary to help the world to be better… Finding out that most of what we call Architecture is actually Construction, suggested to me that it was necessary to find a way to overcome the formalism and the cosmetics that today most architects produce, and to indicate that the way out of this “cul de sac” is most likely the use of the” figure “, of recognizable representation and abandoning abstract and reactionary geometry too long in use… Identify the evolution of Design in enriching its traditional motifs by integrating them with political, religious, or personal-existential components … Also, to understand, for a long time, that expressing oneself with materials means, as it is correct to do, with the means of one’s time, including, very importantly, the materials. It’s a way to be honest and historically honest.

2) What would you like to do in the future?

 In the future, I would like to be more busy and active in the Architecture industry. I realize, however, that innovating with architectural projects is very difficult. It is because finding those who invest in innovation is difficult. This is demonstrated by the fact that what is seen built in the various countries of the world is repetitive and already seen.

Years ago I was lucky enough to realize the idea of ​​”vertical garden” with a building in Osaka. (“Organic Building”, Osaka, 1989). That work was much copied and trivialized. In particular from a designer from Milan who also copied the title, without bothering to evolve from the one I made.

3) Maestro, you are an undisputed leader of multidisciplinary. Which one do you consider your masterpiece, should you choose one.

I indeed express myself through different disciplines. I don’t have one that I prefer, but I choose the one that best suits the idea of ​​the moment. This way of using multiple disciplines also serves to avoid the tiredness and boredom that come from repetitive activity.

4) How is your relationship with the resin. Why does it create in resin?

I think I have already explained why I work with so-called synthetic materials: I express myself with the means of my time, so not with the materials of the past.

 5) Choose three words/adjectives that describe Gaetano Pesce. 

Curious, picky, easy to get bored

6) What inspires you above all: passion, a new challenge or curiosity?

What touches my attention.

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