Skip to main content

Gaetano Pesce

Italian, b. 1937

Gaetano Pesce is of a generation of Italian architects who in the early 1960s rebelled against the industrial perfection of modernism by conceiving new furniture and objects that were at once expressive and eccentric in form; or you might say they were more like art than functionalist design.

Born in the picturesque coastal Italian city of La Spezia in 1939, Pesce was a precocious talent who could have forged a career as an artist but opted instead to go to Venice to study architecture because, as he has said, it was “the most complex of all the arts.” Rather than having new worlds opened to him at design school, however, he found the rationalist curriculum oppressive in its insistence on standardization and prescribed materials and technologies.

Pesce wanted to explore the latest of both materials and technologies to create objects and buildings never before imagined, with what he called “personalities” that spoke to the issues of the day. He was keen to examine ways to diversify mass production so that each manufactured work could be distinct. In 1964, he met Cesare Cassina, of the forward-looking furniture company C&B in Milan (now known as B&B), for whom he would create many important designs, beginning with a collection of what he called “transformational furniture” — two chairs and a loveseat — made entirely out of high-density polyurethane foam. To make the pieces easy to ship and cost-efficient, he proposed that after being covered in a stretch jersey, they be put in a vacuum, then heat-sealed flat between vinyl sheets. Once the foam was removed from its packaging, the piece returned to its original shape — hence, the name Up for the series, which debuted in 1969.

In addition to these pieces, Pesce proposed for the collection something he referred to as an “anti-armchair,” which took the shape of a reclining fertility goddess, the iconic Donna. Producing its complex form turned out to be a technical challenge. Bayer, the foam’s manufacturer, deemed it impossible to accomplish. Pesce persisted and came up with a new procedure, demonstrating not only the designer’s key role in researching the nature and potential of new materials but also his vital importance in “doubting rules.” The Up chair and accompanying ottoman were born, and they were revolutionary in more ways than one.

In the early 1970s, Pesce began exploring one of his key concepts, the idea of the industrial originals. Employing a mold without air holes, and adding a blood-red dye to the polyurethane, he cast a bookcase that resembled a demolished wall, the rough edges of the shelves and posts resulting from fissures in the material made by trapped air. Through his research into polyurethane, Pesce figured out a way to make a loveseat and armchair using only a simple wood frame and strong canvas covering as a mold. Since the fabric developed random folds during the injection process, the pieces were similar but not identical. Cassina named the suite of furnishings Sit Down and introduced it in 1975. By experimenting with felt soaked in polyurethane and resin, Pesce conceived I Feltri, another collection of armchairs introduced by Cassina in 1987.

Pesce has gone on to live a life that defies expectation and convention and along the way has become one of the most seminal figures in art and design. 

Find vintage Gaetano Pesce chairs, sofas, vases and more on 1stDibs.

Average Sold Price
$1,148
Styles
Materials
Iconic Designs from Gaetano Pesce
Explore timeless pieces that have earned their place in history.
Feltri Chair
Feltri Chair
Up 1 Chair
Up 1 Chair
Up 5 Lounge Chair
Up 5 Lounge Chair
Round the Clock, Large in Matt Acid Green and Fuchsia by Gaetano Pesce
By Gaetano Pesce, Corsi Design Factory
Located in barasso, IT
Round the clock - matt acid green and fuchsia Clock in hard resin designed by Gaetano Pesce for Fish Design collection. Additional information: Material: Hard resin Color: M...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Italian Gaetano Pesce

Materials

Resin

Try-Tray Medium Square Tray Clear Orange, Clear, Clear Yellow by Gaetano Pesce
By Gaetano Pesce, Corsi Design Factory
Located in barasso, IT
Try tray square - clear orange, clear, clear yellow Tray in hard resin designed by Gaetano Pesce in 1998 for Fish Design collection. Additional Info: Material: Hard resin Col...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Italian Gaetano Pesce

Materials

Resin

Watch Me XL Clock in Matt Red, Orange and Yellow by Gaetano Pesce
By Gaetano Pesce, Corsi Design Factory
Located in barasso, IT
Watch me - matt red, orange and yellow Clock in hard resin designed by Gaetano Pesce for Fish Design collection. Additional information: Material: Hard resin Color: Matt red...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Italian Gaetano Pesce

Materials

Resin

Tutti Frutti II XL Resin Basket in Matt White by Gaetano Pesce
By Corsi Design Factory, Gaetano Pesce
Located in barasso, IT
Tutti Frutti II basket - Matt white Basket in soft resin designed by Gaetano Pesce in 1995 for Fish Design collection. Additional Information: Material: Soft resin Colours: M...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Italian Gaetano Pesce

Materials

Resin

Try-Tray Medium Square Tray in Clear Yellow and Matt Turquoise by Gaetano Pesce
By Gaetano Pesce, Corsi Design Factory
Located in barasso, IT
Try tray square - Clear yellow and matt turquoise Tray in hard resin designed by Gaetano Pesce in 1998 for Fish Design collection. Additional info: Material: Hard resin Colou...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Italian Gaetano Pesce

Materials

Resin

Look at Me Medium Mirror in Clear Red, Matt Lime, Bronze by Gaetano Pesce
By Gaetano Pesce, Corsi Design Factory
Located in barasso, IT
Look At Me Mirror - Clear red, matt lime, bronze Mirror in hard resin designed by Gaetano Pesce for Fish Design collection. Additional Information: Material: Hard resin Color...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Italian Gaetano Pesce

Materials

Resin

Triple Play Side Table by Gaetano Pesce for Fish Design, Nr. 11/2019
By Gaetano Pesce
Located in Munster, NRW
In 1995 Gaetano Pesce designed the “triple play” series of resin tables. the table shows a cartoonish face with moustache on a yellow background, also on steel rod legs, here with bl...
Category

2010s Italian Modern Gaetano Pesce

Materials

Metal

Door from Tbwa Chiat Day New York by Gaetano Pesce
By Gaetano Pesce
Located in Hudson, NY
Specifically for the large office project, one of the doors created by Pesce for the New York advertising office. Made of resin, steel and aluminum, metal grid on one side. Very few ...
Category

1990s Italian Futurist Gaetano Pesce

Materials

Resin

Browse all Furniture from Gaetano Pesce
Shop Now

Gaetano Pesce Sellers

Corsi Design Factory Srl
No Reviews Yet
The Craftcode
4.8 / 5
Collage 20th Century Classics
4.9 / 5
More Timeless
5 / 5
Mass Modern Design
4.8 / 5

Creators Similar to Gaetano Pesce

Gaetano Pesce Furniture for sale on 1stDibs.

Gaetano Pesce Furniture is available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive items are often made from Resin and are designed with extraordinary care. There are many options in our Gaetano Pesce collection of furniture, although red editions of this piece are particularly popular. 42 vintage editions of these items are in stock, while there are 423 modern editions to choose from as well. Many of Gaetano Pesce's original furniture was created in modern style in Europe during the 21st century and Contemporary. If you are looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture by Luciano Gaspari, Enzo Mari and Carlo Moretti. The prices for Gaetano Pesce furniture can vary depending on size, time period and other attributes. Price for these items starts at $94 and tops out at $75,000, while pieces like these can sell for $504.