Door 21: Gaetano Pesce

Photography by © Dean Kaufman

As design and architecture are something that mainly serves a purpose, they are seen generally as part of the applied Arts. A person, who challenges that view, is the Italian architect and designer Gaetano Pesce.

Organic Building, 1993, Osaka

For him, every project, whether it is a house, a chair, a vase or a cabinet, it has to have a double function: one practical and one cultural. This then for him makes design and architecture as a form of Art.

Gaetano Pesce was born in 1939 in Italy. He studied architecture in Venice under the architects Carlo Scarpa and Ernesto Rogers, the cousin of the recently deceased Richard Rogers. Early on he was rejecting architectural norms of his time and inspired by the Bauhaus movement he was part of the collective Grupo N, who like their role model tried to combine art and design.

Interior of the Hubin apartment, 1986

This challenge lead to architectural results like the Maison des enfants in Parc de la Villette, the Hubin apartment, both in Paris or the organic house in Osaka. As all of them show his playfulness and the later also shows his interest in new materials and techniques. This also something attributed to his designs, which characterized by an immense curiosity.

Up-5 chair and Up-6 ottoman

He is well known for designs like the Up 5 chair, called Donna, and its accompanying ottoman up-6 from the early 70s, who pointed out the mistreatment of women at that time. Additionally he likes to use resin, out of which he creates among other things tables, chairs, vases in vibrant colors. He is still active today and lives since the early 1980s in New York.

Pratt Chair (No. 7), 1984