written by:
July 14, 2010

“Pieces from a Larger Puzzle,” an exhibition at the Istituto Italiano di Cultura—a 1950s building in Westwood designed by Robert Alexander, Richard Neutra’s partner—of Italian artist, architect and designer Gaetano Pesce’s work, on display through August 31, spans more than 40 years and covers his myriad designs, from his jiggly poured polyurethane resin vases to his famous womblike La Mamma chairs of expanded polyurethane foam with a self-inflating core. The student of architect Carlo Scarpa, Pesce, who was born in Italy and is based in New York, is known for his innovative and extensive use of resin and plastic, about which he has said, “The materials of the future for me are flexible, translucent, elastic and colorful.” Among the mix of joyfully presented objects of these materials, inscribed on the back wall of the gallery space, was another Pesce allusion to things to come: “The future is a very beautiful creature…the past is not.”

Two vases from Gaetano’s studio, Fish Design, open the exhibition, which was curated by Francesca Valente, the Istituto director and coordinator; John Geresi, banker and design devotee; and Peter Loughrey, director of <a href="http://www.lamodern.com/">Lo
Two vases from Gaetano’s studio, Fish Design, open the exhibition, which was curated by Francesca Valente, the Istituto director and coordinator; John Geresi, banker and design devotee; and Peter Loughrey, director of Los Angeles Modern Auctions.
1 / 15
The Up 5 and Up 6 chair and ottoman, of expanded polyurethane foam, synthetic jersey and a self-inflating core, are tethered together by a small rope. The main chair is otherwise known as La Donna or La Mamma, which Pesce says is open to interpretation bu
The Up 5 and Up 6 chair and ottoman, of expanded polyurethane foam, synthetic jersey and a self-inflating core, are tethered together by a small rope. The main chair is otherwise known as La Donna or La Mamma, which Pesce says is open to interpretation but for him relates to the ball and chain of burdens placed upon women. “I believe the future is feminine,” he told exhibition visitors in reference to this design. The set has a cameo in Diamonds Are Forever as the starting point for a hot pants–clad gymnast henchwoman in her battle against James Bond in the living room of John Lautner’s Elrod House in Palm Springs.
2 / 15
Nobody’s Chair, otherwise known as the Nobody’s Perfect chair, was designed in 2002 and created from poured polyurethane and plastic fasteners.
Nobody’s Chair, otherwise known as the Nobody’s Perfect chair, was designed in 2002 and created from poured polyurethane and plastic fasteners.
3 / 15
Pesce’s vases, like his poured polyurethane and resin Monumental Experimental vase from 1997, are the core of the Fish Design studio.
Pesce’s vases, like his poured polyurethane and resin Monumental Experimental vase from 1997, are the core of the Fish Design studio.
4 / 15
The Up 7 was designed in 1969 of self-skinning molded polyurethane foam.
The Up 7 was designed in 1969 of self-skinning molded polyurethane foam.
5 / 15
The folding Umbrella chair, a highly idealistic and still-functional design from 1994.
The folding Umbrella chair, a highly idealistic and still-functional design from 1994.
6 / 15
Dalila Tre chair, 1980, of molded polyurethane with epoxy resin.
Dalila Tre chair, 1980, of molded polyurethane with epoxy resin.
7 / 15
The current production model of the I Feltri chair, a 1985 design evoking both the artist Joseph Beuys’ use of felt, and Japanese origami.
The current production model of the I Feltri chair, a 1985 design evoking both the artist Joseph Beuys’ use of felt, and Japanese origami.
8 / 15
One of ten Pratt Chair prototypes conceived in 1982, when Pesce was teaching at the Brooklyn-based Pratt Institute. Each was made in the same mold, yet came out slightly different due to Pesce’s request that each worker manipulate the material mixes in di
Pratt student Jonathan Gillen spent over 70 hours weaving together laminate chips to create the seating sling of Wilson Primitive, his submission for Wilsonart's 2010 student design competition.
9 / 15
A ladder and delicately balanced ply became the setting for an array of Pesce’s vase designs, mostly from the 1990s.
A ladder and delicately balanced ply became the setting for an array of Pesce’s vase designs, mostly from the 1990s.
10 / 15
Pesce’s sketches for this Greene Street chair prototype, from 1984, reveal a self-portrait behind the “face” of the chair design.
Pesce’s sketches for this Greene Street chair prototype, from 1984, reveal a self-portrait behind the “face” of the chair design.
11 / 15
Amazonia vase, 1996, in gold.
Amazonia vase, 1996, in gold.
12 / 15
With permission from the lender, visitors were invited to “please touch” this polyurethane resin vase.
With permission from the lender, visitors were invited to “please touch” this polyurethane resin vase.
13 / 15
Pesce with visitors at the opening. When once told he was thought to be a revolutionary for his industrial designs that straddle the categories of functional and artistic, he said, “I do not consider myself a revolutionary. I consider myself innovative.”
Pesce with visitors at the opening. When once told he was thought to be a revolutionary for his industrial designs that straddle the categories of functional and artistic, he said, “I do not consider myself a revolutionary. I consider myself innovative.”
14 / 15
The Istituto Italiano di Cultura, near UCLA in Westwood, was designed in the 1950s by Robert Alexander, Richard Neutra’s partner.
The Istituto Italiano di Cultura, near UCLA in Westwood, was designed in the 1950s by Robert Alexander, Richard Neutra’s partner.
15 / 15
Two vases from Gaetano’s studio, Fish Design, open the exhibition, which was curated by Francesca Valente, the Istituto director and coordinator; John Geresi, banker and design devotee; and Peter Loughrey, director of <a href="http://www.lamodern.com/">Lo
Two vases from Gaetano’s studio, Fish Design, open the exhibition, which was curated by Francesca Valente, the Istituto director and coordinator; John Geresi, banker and design devotee; and Peter Loughrey, director of Los Angeles Modern Auctions.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

45 dva 2270 persp1 cmyk 0
The prospect of retirement doesn’t just signal the end of a career; it offers the chance to recalibrate and re-prioritize in life.
July 25, 2016
18
You don’t have to choose between sustainable energy and curb appeal.
July 19, 2016
jakemagnus queensland 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
July 06, 2016
content delzresidence 013 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 29, 2016
abc malacari marwick stair 01 0
A simple set of stairs is a remodel’s backbone.
June 28, 2016
Design Award of Excellence winner Mellon Square.
Docomomo US announces the winners of this year's Modernism in America Awards. Each project showcases exemplary modern restoration techniques, practices, and ideas.
June 27, 2016
monogram dwell sf 039 1
After last year’s collaboration, we were excited to team up with Monogram again for the 2016 Monogram Modern Home Tour.
June 27, 2016
switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Compact Aglol 11 television plastic brionvega.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
Exterior of Huneeus/Sugar Bowl Home.
San Francisco–based designer Maca Huneeus created her family’s weekend retreat near Lake Tahoe with a relaxed, sophisticated sensibility.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016