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Gaetano Pesce

Thursday, October 27, 6:00 pm7:30 pm
Art Institute of Chicago - Rubloff Auditorium
230 S Columbus Dr
Chicago, IL
United States

The title of “Architecture” is usually given, incorrectly, to buildings which have nothing in common with architecture. Nearly one hundred percent of what is produced by architects falls into the category of “buildings”, or at most, as a part of a long list of urban decorations. In the Italian language there is a word “edilizia” which expresses this exactly, a construction which has no cultural pretense, but is simply characterized by products which are needed for living, working, etc.  Architecture instead is very “rare” and occasionally shows up, every century or so, it is characterized by radical innovation due to innovative language of the creator, a new construction process and the use of new materials. When we see each other we’ll discuss it more in depth.

Gaetano Pesce was born in 1939, in La Spezia. After living in Venice, London, Helsinki and Paris, he moved to New York in 1980, where he still resides.

Beginning from his first manifesto drafted at the age of seventeen, through his studies, travels, experimentations, and teaching, Pesce has acquired worldwide experience introducing ever pioneering innovations. He taught for 28 years at the Institut d’Architecture et d’Etudes Urbaines of Strasbourg and holds lectures at the most prominent cultural institutes and most renowned universities in the world. His multidisciplinary designs have been included, among others, in the permanent collections of MoMa and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Vitra Design Museum in Germany, and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, as well as other museums in Japan, Portugal and Finland. His architectural, urban planning, interior design works for exhibits or industrial spaces, are characterized by the unlimited use of color and revolutionary materials, developed thanks to new technologies. Pesce’s constant search and trust placed in advanced materials led him to continuous innovations of language, formal results and production modes. For example, the iconic Up5, La Mamma of the Up series (1969), has been the first industrial design product bearing a political message, denouncing women’s status in the world, portraying a female body tied or chained to a foot rest pouf, just like a prisoner.

Pesce has received many awards including the prestigious "Chrysler Award for Innovation and Design" in 1993, the "Architektur & Wohnen Designer of the Year" in 2006 and the "Lawrence J. Israel Prize" awarded by the Fashion Institute of Technology of New York, in 2009.