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Life and Education of Gaetano Pesce

 

Gaetano Pesce, a seminal figure in contemporary design, was deeply influenced by his childhood and upbringing.

Born in 1939 in La Spezia, Italy, Pesce was raised in a nation still healing from the ravages of war—a backdrop that honed his inclination towards reconstruction and innovation. His academic journey unfolded in the University of Venice’s lecture halls, where he assimilated the teachings of luminaries like Carlo Scarpa, shaping his own designer identity. Relocating to the United States marked another pivotal chapter, immersing him in fresh intellectual streams and an invigorating milieu for his creative pursuits.

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Architect and designer Gaetano Pesce in a photograph by Marco Anelli

Innovations in Design: Materials and Techniques

 

Pesce has revolutionised design through the use of materials such as resin and polyurethane, experimenting with innovative techniques that have allowed him to create objects with a strong visual and tactile impact. His research into materials has led to the creation of unique pieces in which variation and imperfection become distinctive and celebratory elements of individuality.

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"Caffè Florian" chair, realized in 2002

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Iconic Works and Significant Collaborations

 

Among Pesce’s most famous works, the ‘Up Series’ chair stands out for its anthropomorphic form and social message: the deities of mythology become symbols of the fight against discrimination and abuse of women’s bodies. The ‘Nobody’s Perfect’ chair embodies his philosophy of imperfect, organic and personalised design. Collaborations with design brands and cultural institutions have broadened the scope of her work, bringing her innovative vision into different contexts and to a wider audience

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Pesce’s Legacy and Influence in the World of Design

 

Pesce’s unconventional approach has left an indelible mark on the world of design, inspiring generations of designers and artists to explore new creative horizons. His legacy is manifested in the audacity of those who, following his example, continue to challenge convention and seek authentic expression through design.

Gaetano Pesce’s ‘Goto‘, dedicated to Venice, is a resin vase created for the ‘Temporanea’ exhibition at Caffè Florian on the occasion of the 1995 Venice Biennale. This work is both an object of industrial art and a manifesto of hope for the future of Venice. The curious shape of the ‘Goto’, reminiscent of a pink lion panther, and the message printed on its outer edges, reflect Pesce’s commitment to creating design with a message of social impact for the world.

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Art at Florian

Art has always been pivotal at Caffè Florian.

Nestled between a museum and a theater’s foyer, Caffè Florian has steadfastly been a vibrant part of a city transformed into an art stage, just as Mayor Riccardo Selvatico envisioned while in the Sala del Senato in 1893.

Hosting events like ‘Temporanea – Le Realtà Possibili del Caffè Florian’, the café welcomes famed contemporary artists, fostering a conversation between its historic legacy and contemporary artistic dialogue.

In 1995, Gaetano Pesce selected the “goto”, or glass in Venetian dialect, a hybrid between a jar and vase, embodying morphological evolution and semantic synthesis. Beginning with the Hellenistic lion, echoing the Lion of St Mark, transitioning through a woman’s silhouette, and culminating in a carnival mask, the piece serves as a conduit for conveying a message to Venice:

Let’s raise a glass to Venice, that it may remain a beacon of modern life, embodying contemporary behavior, progress, service, joy, optimism, discovery, and confidence in the future. May it be a city of courage, embracing the culture of today’s world, rather than a bastion of prejudice, overprotection, preservation, and stagnation. Let Venice not be a dormant place, entrenched in the cult of the past, nor an example of reactionary thought, nor a source of despair for the younger generations. Instead of inertia, provincialism, and foolishly nostalgic endeavors, let us discard the masks that are mere stand-ins for the present, which demands from Venice the space to thrive.

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A toast to Venice...' This is Gaetano Pesce's message in the "Goto".

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The colours and materials of these “Goti” are fascinating, surrounded by the words that lead the reader in a spiral of discovery.

They will remain an indelible testimony to the genius of this artist, and Caffè Florian is flattered to be able to preserve such a precious memento of the Maestro.

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