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Gaetano Pesce Chairs

Italian, 1939-2024

Gaetano Pesce was 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, Pesce 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, Pesce met Cesare Cassina, of the forward-looking furniture company C&B Italia in Milan (now known as B&B Italia), 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 the piece's 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 went on to live a life that defied expectation and convention and along the way became one of the most seminal figures in art and design.

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

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Creator: Gaetano Pesce
Gaetano Pesce "Nobody's Perfect" Chair, Zerodisegno, 2003
By Gaetano Pesce
Located in PARIS, FR
Nobody's perfect chair Gaetano Pesce, Zerodisegno / Italy, 2003. Mark: Zerodisegno / Gaetano Pesce, 2003 Signed and dated: 22 01 03 UNIQUE PIECE. Excellent condition
Category

Early 2000s Italian Gaetano Pesce Chairs

Materials

Epoxy Resin

Gaetano Pesce "Nobody's Perfect" Chair, Zerodisegno, 2002
By Gaetano Pesce
Located in PARIS, FR
Nobody's perfect chair Gaetano Pesce, Zerodisegno / Italy, 2002. Mark: Zerodisegno / Gaetano Pesce, 2002 Signed and dated: 03 06 2002 . UNIQUE PIECE. Excellent condition
Category

Early 2000s Italian Gaetano Pesce Chairs

Materials

Epoxy Resin

Nobody's Perfect chair by Gaetano Pesce for Zerodisegno
By Zerodisegno, Gaetano Pesce
Located in Rivoli, IT
Beautiful small chair made by Gaetano Pesce for Zerodiegno in 2003. Decorated in shades of white, red and silver, it lends a touch of elegance to the room in which it is placed. Usab...
Category

Early 2000s Gaetano Pesce Chairs

Materials

Resin

1980s Dalila Due pair of chairs by Gaetano Pesce
By Gaetano Pesce
Located in Paris, FR
Gaetano Pesce "Dalila Due" pair of chairs, 1980 Polyurethane foam, epoxy resin finish H. 75 x 57 x 52 cm H. 85 x 49 x 50 cm
Category

1980s Italian Expressionist Vintage Gaetano Pesce Chairs

Materials

Foam

Gaetano Pesce Broadway Chairs 543 Made in Italy by Bernini 1993 Green
By Gaetano Pesce
Located in Vancouver, BC
A set of 4 extremely uncommon Broadway Chairs produced by Bernini. Each chair is unique and both seat and back are casted in a green/yellow resin. A frozen fluidity - portrait of a...
Category

1990s Italian Post-Modern Gaetano Pesce Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

Umbrella chair, Gaetano Pesce, Zerodisegno, 1995's
By Gaetano Pesce
Located in PARIS, FR
"Umbrella " chair in epoxy metal and plastic, with seating system following the operating principle of an umbrella. Edited by Zerodesigno
Category

1990s Italian Gaetano Pesce Chairs

Materials

Metal

Umbrella chair, Gaetano Pesce, Zerodisegno, 1995's
By Gaetano Pesce
Located in PARIS, FR
"Umbrella " chair in epoxy metal and plastic, with seating system following the operating principle of an umbrella. Edited by Zerodesigno
Category

1990s Italian Gaetano Pesce Chairs

Materials

Metal

Umbrella chair, Gaetano Pesce, Zerodisegno, 1995's
By Gaetano Pesce
Located in PARIS, FR
Umbrella model chair in epoxy metal and plastic, with seating system following the operating principle of an umbrella. Edited by Zerodesigno
Category

1990s Italian Gaetano Pesce Chairs

Materials

Metal

Gaetano Pesce La Smorfia Chair Meritalia, 2003
By Gaetano Pesce
Located in Roosendaal, Noord Brabant
Postmodern chair designed by Gaetano Pesce and manufactured by Meritalia, Italy 2003. This unique shaped chair is more of a sculpture and fits perfectly in the oeuvre from Pesce, wit...
Category

Early 2000s Italian Post-Modern Gaetano Pesce Chairs

Materials

Metal

20th Century Gaetano Pesce Umbrella Chair Folding and Transportable Green
By Gaetano Pesce, Zerodisegno
Located in Turin, Turin
Gaetano Pesce's works are generally eccentric, modern and carry a concept of "happening", which is the transformation of the object. Experimenter of different forms and materials, his ideas seem to carry with them the concept of error, of defect, this comes from Pesce's poetics: we are all full of defects, which we should enhance in order to become original. In 1995 for Zero Disegno...
Category

1990s Italian Modern Gaetano Pesce Chairs

Materials

Aluminum

20th Century Gaetano Pesce Umbrella Chair Folding and Transportable Yellow
By Gaetano Pesce, Zerodisegno
Located in Turin, Turin
Gaetano Pesce's works are generally eccentric, modern and carry a concept of "happening", which is the transformation of the object. Experimenter of different forms and materials, his ideas seem to carry with them the concept of error, of defect, this comes from Pesce's poetics: we are all full of defects, which we should enhance in order to become original. In 1995 for Zero Disegno...
Category

1990s Italian Modern Gaetano Pesce Chairs

Materials

Aluminum

Spectacular Early Version of Sofa Foot by Gaetano Pesce for B&B Italy 1969.
By Gaetano Pesce
Located in Brussels, BE
Spectacular iconic polyuretane Piede UP-7 inspired by the foot of Emperor Constantin in Capitole Museum in Roma. Early version around 1970. Designed by Gaetano Pesce for B&B Italy. S...
Category

1970s Italian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Gaetano Pesce Chairs

Materials

Foam, Polystyrene

Gaetano Pesce Chair - Nobody's Perfect - Collection , Zerodisegno, 2003
By Gaetano Pesce
Located in PARIS, FR
Nobody's perfect chair by Gaetano Pesce, Zerodisegno / Italy, 2003 Mark: Zerodisegno / Gaetano Pesce, 2003 Signed and dated UNIQUE PIECE.
Category

Early 2000s Italian Gaetano Pesce Chairs

Materials

Resin

Gaetano Pesce Chair - Nobody's Perfect - Collection , Zerodisegno, 2003
By Gaetano Pesce
Located in PARIS, FR
Nobody's perfect chair by Gaetano Pesce, Zerodisegno / Italy, 2003 Mark: Zerodisegno / Gaetano Pesce, 2003 Signed and dated UNIQUE PIECE.
Category

Early 2000s Italian Gaetano Pesce Chairs

Materials

Resin

Broadway chair, Gaetano Pesce, Bernini, 1993
By Gaetano Pesce
Located in PARIS, FR
Broadway chair, Gaetano Pesce, Bernini, 1993 Gaetano Pesce ‘Broadway’ chair produced by Bernini with four rubber-capped feet standing on springs. Model 543, created in 1993 for Ber...
Category

1990s Italian Gaetano Pesce Chairs

Materials

Metal

Gaetano Pesce x Bottega Veneta, Come Stai ? Chair
By Gaetano Pesce, Bottega Veneta
Located in Untersiggenthal, AG
Come Stai? A chair by Gaetano Pesce with Matthieu Blazy for Bottega Veneta. Featured in the Summer 23 show, each chair is alike in material but unique in colour and form...
Category

2010s Gaetano Pesce Chairs

Materials

Resin

Gaetano Pesce Broadway Chair
By Gaetano Pesce, Bernini
Located in TOURS, FR
Broadway chair by Gaetano Pesce Model 543, created in 1993 for Bernini Epoxy resin back and seat Stainless steel structure
Category

1990s Italian Gaetano Pesce Chairs

Materials

Metal

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Gaetano Pesce Feltri Armchair by Cassina
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Previously Available Items
Spectacular Early Version of Sofa Foot by Gaetano Pesce for B&B Italy 1969.
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Broadway chair, Gaetano Pesce, Bernini, 1993
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gaetano pesce, set of 4 ‚broadway‘ chairs for italian company bernini, 1993. multicoloured cast epoxy resin, brushed steel legs, spring and rubber-capped feet. all chairs signed with cast manufacturer’s mark under the seat: ‚des gaetano pesce bernini italy‘. 55 × 42 × 75 cm (21½ w × 16½ d × 29½ h in.). in good vintage condition, shows signs of use. how to turn a new idea for a chair’s suspension into a pop art piece: gaetano pesce’s „broadway chair“, designed in 1993. pesce, a visionary designer, artist and architect, always searched for an „anti-rationalism“ way of design. through his innovative and playful use of unusual materials and manufacturing processes he tries to add a human touch to industrial objects: „it’s a good attitude to doubt rules. creativity doesn’t follow rules.“ pesce was born 1939 in la spezia, italy, enrolled to study architecture in venice in 1959. unsatisfied with the modernist, rational approach, he began auditing classes at the progressive venice college of industrial design. in 1964 pesce had a career-changing encounter with cesare cassina, founder of the cassina furniture company. excited by the young designer’s ideas, cassina gave pesce a monthly stipend to travel and research new materials for cassina designs. after graduating in 1965 he settled in paris to open his own studio. throughout his career, pesce has been committed to the idea of “mass-produced originals,” that contain the human touch and fall under the designation of “counter-design.“  in 1969, he created the now-famous „up“-series made from high-density polyurethane foam, with no interior structure. this revolutionary idea meant it could be vacuum-packed and stored and shipped flat; the pieces were also organic and pliable in form. the most famous work from this series is the ‚la mamma‘ chair...
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Broadway Chair by Gaetano Pesce
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By Gaetano Pesce
Located in PARIS, FR
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Materials

Epoxy Resin

Gaetano Pesce "Nobody's Perfect" Chair
Gaetano Pesce "Nobody's Perfect" Chair
H 22.45 in W 15.75 in D 13.39 in
Gaetano Pesce First Edition 'Il Piede' Postmodern Lounge Chair, Black, 1969
By Gaetano Pesce, C&B Italia
Located in Brescia , Brescia
Gaetano Pesce First Edition 'Il Piede' Postmodern Lounge Chair, Black, 1969. Created back in 1969, this black beauty still captivates the attention of design lovers and collectors w...
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Green Street Chair by Gaetano Pesce for Vitra
By Gaetano Pesce, Vitra
Located in Saarbrücken, SL
Collectors chair designed Gaetano Pesco and produced by Vitra. Modell: Green Street Chair Each chair was produced is one of a kind. The red stri...
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1990s Belgian Post-Modern Gaetano Pesce Chairs

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Gaetano Pesce chairs for sale on 1stDibs.

Gaetano Pesce chairs are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive items are frequently made of resin and are designed with extraordinary care. There are many options to choose from in our collection of Gaetano Pesce chairs, although yellow editions of this piece are particularly popular. Many of the original chairs by Gaetano Pesce were created in the modern style in italy during the late 20th century. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider chairs by Paolo Pallucco, Mario Botta, and Michele de Lucchi. Prices for Gaetano Pesce chairs can differ depending upon size, time period and other attributes — on 1stDibs, these items begin at $3,004 and can go as high as $45,000, while a piece like these, on average, fetch $7,136.

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