Gaetano Pesce

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Gaetano Pesce: the artist-designer conquering China.

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Gaetano Pesce is an Italian sculptor, designer and architect famous for his countercultural ideas and his unique and inimitable works. He studied architecture at the IUAV in Venice, where in the same period taught personalities such as Carlo Scarpa and Ernesto Nathan Rogers. He then attended the Institute of Industrial Design in Venice.

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Gaetano Pesce is one of the greatest exponents of Italian design, in particular of radical design. From 1962 he embarked on a career as a designer, collaborating with the company C&B (now B&B Italia) on the creation of the UP Series, a series of seven models of polyurethane foam armchairs that immediately became one of the icons of Italian industrial design. The most famous is the UP5, which takes the shapes of the votive statues of the goddesses of fertility to give life to a true manifesto of political expression on the condition of women: the society of the late sixties is not ready to recognize the many abilities of women and relegates them to the margins of the political and social scene. Well after the year 2000 Gaetano Pesce, talking about the concept of this creation of his, will argue how the theme is still relevant in some countries of the world. In 2000 B&B Italia decided to re-propose the entire series of armchairs in a modern key.

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Now Gaetano Pesce lands in China, and this too is a sign of the times. It will perhaps be one of the few exhibitions in attendance to close 2020, “Gaetano in China”, from November 21st to December 30th at Gallery Room 6×8 in Beijing, and online at salon94design.com. It will be that the motto chosen to sum it up, “May you live in interesting times”, announces itself as provocative and iconoclastic. Americans, indeed, have the idea that this is an ancient Chinese curse.

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The saying was probably invented in the 19th century by an Englishman, but it’s still a subversive idea. The implication is that we would like to live in boring times, but without trouble. History, in short, the more adventurous it is, the more it is open to the unexpected, even the negative. 2020 is a perfect example of this. A year to forget, perhaps. A year of change, terrible in some ways, incredible for the transformation of perspectives it imposes on us. Like Pesce, who, ever eccentric, has embraced volatility as a virtue.

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The deepest tragedy, for Gaetano Pesce, is the greatest of opportunities: the possibility of seeing things differently. Here he is, then, arriving in China with all the paraphernalia that counters common sense.

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Chairs and vases not functional at all, protagonists of the revolt against the standardization of the series, portraits of the female body that denounce the different condition of women…

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Gaetano Pesce said during an interview: “There was a new way for me to speak politically: not through posters or communications that are a bit obsolete, but doing it with an industrial object had a new potential for communication,”.

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His abstract objects that seem to be made of pure movement, energy transformed into matter. A variety of shapes and colors with a common point, the desire to infuse objects, images and messages with a profound emotion. That of suffering, certainly, as the year 2020 testifies, but also the possibility of change, and the joy that always follows a tragedy.

If you liked our blog post “Gaetano Pesce” have also a look at 100 Years of Vico Magistretti

 

 

100 Years of Vico Magistretti

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100 years of Vico Magistretti: architect, town planner and designer famous all over the world for his unforgettable works.

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This year, in October, we celebrate the centenary of the birth of this famous and esteemed architect who has contributed to make the made in Italy even more famous in the world by collaborating with prestigious furniture companies: Artemide, Campeggi, Cassina, De Padova, Flou, Fontana Arte…

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Nuvola Rossa bookshelf for Cassina

Ludovico Magistretti was born in Milan on October 6, 1920. He comes from a family of architects for many generations. In 1943 he moved to Switzerland where he was able to follow some academic courses at the Champ Universitaire Italien in Lausanne, established in the local university.

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During his stay in the Swiss city he met Ernesto Nathan Rogers, founder of the BBPR refugee studio in Switzerland because of racial laws. This will be a key meeting for the intellectual and professional training of Magistretti, who recognizes the architect from Trieste as his master.

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After many years dedicated to the world of architecture, Vico Magistretti will begin, more and more, to accompany his work with design. In this period, we are in the 70s, and the collaboration with the famous furniture company Cassina, becomes increasingly close and continuous.

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Maralunga sofa for Cassina (1973, Compasso d’oro award in 1979)

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Sindbad sofa for Cassina (1981)

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Veranda armchair for Cassina (1983)

Successful collaborations to remember are those with the Italian companies Artemide and Oluce, in which the company’s production has an unmistakable mark.

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Eclisse lamp for Artemide (1967, Compasso d’Oro award in the same year)

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Snow lamp for Oluce (1974)

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Atollo lamp for Oluce (1977, Compasso d’oro award 1979)

The beginning of Magistretti’s teaching activity at the Royal College of Art in London as a visiting professor dates back to the late 1970s, of which he became an honorary member in 1983.

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It is right here, at the Royal College of Art, that the minimalist school is formed, whose most refined exponents, Morrison and Grcic, not only were Magistretti’s students, but they recognize in him an absolute reference for the development of what can be considered one of the most interesting contemporary movements in the design field.

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A very long and rewarding career that has resulted in some of his design works being exhibited in the permanent collection of the MoMA in New York, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Die Neue Sammlung in Munich and numerous other museums in America and Europe.
Following his death in September 2006, the studio, home of the Vico Magistretti Foundation, was converted into a museum dedicated to the study and divulgation of his work.

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If you liked our blog post “100 years of Vico Magistretti”, have also a look at Homage to Carlo Mollino