Gaetano Pesce, a Great Master of Italian Design, Dies at 84

Designer Gaetano Pesce has died in New York at the age of 84. “It is with a heavy heart we announce the passing of visionary creator Gaetano Pesce,” reads a post on his Instagram page this morning. Pesce is universally recognized for the UP series for C&B (now B&B Italia), a critical account of the often difficult experience for women in the world that is more relevant today than ever before. Created in 1962, the piece gave him not only entry into the design world, but entry into design history. Later, his “jelly” aesthetics and experimentations with resins and polymers matured with the Fish Design project, his sofa/opera “Tramonto a New York” for Cassina, exhibitions around the world, and awards and pieces in permanent collections, from MoMA in New York to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

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Gaetano Pesce in the front row at the Bottega Veneta spring/summer 2023 fashion show.

Photo: WWD/Getty Images

Born in La Spezia, Italy, in 1939, he was educated at IUAV in Venice, where he participated in the Gruppo N collective but soon flew to New York, which became his home. “Over the course of six decades Gaetano revolutionized the worlds of art, design, architecture and the liminal spaces between these categories. His originality and nerve are matched by none. Despite dealing with health related set backs, especially in the last year, Gaetano remained positive, playful and ever curious. He is survived by his children, family, and all who adored him. His uniqueness, creativity and special message live on through his art,” the creative’s staff wrote on social media.

Gaetano Pesce

The designer, pictured in Milan in 2011.

Photo: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

In recent years, Gaetano Pesce had shown an out-of-the-ordinary creative energy, with exhibitions from America to Japan and collaborations with brands such as Bottega Veneta. A few months ago, on the occasion of his solo show at Design Miami, I asked him—why is he still creating so much?

Gaetano Pesce was preparing a beautiful solo exhibition for Milan Design Week 2024, entitled Nice to See You. The Tired Man in the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, which we all hope to see to honor the master. The man is tired, but Gaetano Pesce will never be.

This story was originally published by AD Italia.

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