b. 1939, La Spezia, Italy
Gaetano Pesce studied Architecture at the University of Venice 1958 to 1963 and participated in Gruppo N, which focused on Bauhaus-inspired programmed art. In all of his work, he embodies the guiding principle that rather than being a style, modernism is a method for preserving and celebrating individuality both in the present and in the future. Pesce routinely – and successfully – ignores boundaries between art, design and industry, stating that “in the future we will not want one object done a million times, but a lot of different things produced in small series.” Indeed, one can see the inextricability linked aspects of both modern industrial technology and individualized craft production in all of his work. His designs recall traditional objects and the idiosyncrasy of hand-crafted pieces, yet they each employ cutting-edge use of materials and industrial processes which makes them replicable, a combination which has come to be one of Pesce’s trademarks.
During a career that spans four decades, Pesce has completed commissions in architecture, urban planning, interior, exhibition and industrial design throughout the world. He taught architecture at the Institut d’Architecture et d’Etudes Urbaines (Strasbourg, France), Carnegie Mellon (Pittsburgh), the Domus Academy (Milan), Polytechnic of Hong Kong, the Architectural School of Sao Paulo, and at Cooper Union in New York City. Outside of academia, his international collaborations have been with the likes of B&B Italia, Vitra, and Cassina. Pesce’s work is featured in over 30 permanent collections of the most important museums in the world, such as MoMa (New York and San Francisco), Metropolitan Museum (New York), Vitra Museum (Germany), Victoria and Albert Museum (London), as well as both the Pompidou Center and Musee des Arts Décoratifs (Paris).
His designs have earned him international acclaim, and his awards include the prestigious Chrysler Award for Innovation and Design (1993), the Design Excellence Award of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2005), the Architektur and Wohnen Designer of the Year (2006), the Lawrence J. Israel Prize from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York (2009), and the IIC Lifetime Achievement Awards (2010).