Why did an Italian designer provocateur create a chair in the shape of a female body, and Why did he advocate "female thinking"
Why did an Italian designer provocateur create a chair in the shape of a female body, and Why did he advocate "female thinking"

The armchair in the shape of a woman's body, created by Italian designer Gaetano Pesce, has been reproduced and copied hundreds of times, without thinking about the meaning of the designer himself. Brawler and provocateur, Pesce always knew how to tell sad stories in the most extravagant way, declared that "masculine thinking" is unacceptable in modern design, and architecture should be pleasant … to touch.

Gaetano Pesce in a chair made of clownish caps

He once said: "If people smile at the sight of a chair, this is progress, because the chair stops being just a piece of furniture and becomes an object of design." It was he who turned design into a way to talk about social issues, and he also made designing things a fun, addictive game in which, it would seem, there is no place for serious thought. They started talking about Pesha back in the 60s, when he was in his twenties. Immediately after studying at the University of Architecture in Venice, he found loyal and interested customers - for example, the Cassina factory. These were the years of "good design", a rational and well-considered approach, and Pesce's stormy creative temperament favorably distinguished him from the background of others. He joined one of the rebellious design groups with the corresponding name - "Radical Design". In those same years, he became interested in cinema, conceived a movie about Italian cuisine, but made a sensational film about political violence. This avant-garde tape was considered a criticism of communism, but in reality the designer - or rather, the director at that moment - was carried away by the idea of ​​the red flag. Red has always been his favorite color …

Rubber boots designed by Gaetano Pesce. Not suitable for rainy weather

His first successful project was the Up5 series of furniture (which included the same armchair in the shape of a woman's body, Donna). Half a century later, this series continues to be reproduced in an almost unchanged form, from the same innovative materials - polyurethane, plastic, rubber. Pesce actively experimented with materials, introduced plastic and epoxy resin into the practice of designing. He believes that these materials are interesting to interact with, they are pleasant to touch, and modern people are so lacking in touch. His creations were hunted not only by lovers of unusual things, but also by museums. He has repeatedly become a participant in contemporary art exhibitions - today Gaetano Pesce is called the father of "art design".

Epoxy resin vases

Rejecting the very idea of ​​perfection, he produced collections of unsightly chairs made of synthetic resins, asymmetric, with paint stains, dropped epoxy vases from skyscrapers, demonstrating the unique properties of "unnatural" materials. He made armchairs out of flexible felt with backs that could be wrapped around like a blanket, and sofas out of jester's caps.

Chair models from Pesce

He calls himself an opponent of minimalism, because only sterile people, devoid of any characteristics, aspirations, sorrows and joys, can live in sterile interiors. And these are not his clients! Difference, self-expression, fantasy - that's what matters. In addition, he hates colorless interiors, because they are devoid of energy. True, his own home in Brazil has very little furniture - only a few key pieces of his own creation. But six dogs live there with him, which means that boredom is out of the question.The interior of his New York apartment is also empty - Pesce laughs that he is the same "shoemaker without boots."

A sofa in the shape of a mountain range Modular sofa

Gaetano Pesce also worked as an architect. Behind him - many projects around the world, including Russia - here he developed the Waves sports and entertainment complex in the shape of a wave, dedicated to the rainy and unpredictable Russian weather. Silicone huts? Why not. A pink exhibition pavilion covered in lichens? Fine!

Architectural projects by Gaetano Pesce

In 1972, he presented a conceptual project of an underground city, which, according to the designer's idea, could have appeared after an environmental disaster and would have been found by archaeologists in the three thousandth year.

Chair and bed by Gaetano Pesce

For many years he has been teaching at several architecture universities in Europe and the United States, teaching students to create the humanistic architecture of the future. Pesce has his own philosophical design concept. He believes - like many psychologists - that there are "feminine" and "masculine" ways of thinking and expressing feelings. These categories have nothing to do with real men and women, each person, regardless of gender, has this or that type of thinking prevails, and sometimes they are in perfect balance (here it is worth recalling Pesce's "matrimonial" beds and wardrobes, assembled from the silhouettes of a man and women merging into one). However, in design, the “masculine”, “masculine” approach has always been a priority - rationalism, a rigidly functional, engineering approach, the desire to “capture” space, curb nature, calculate the benefits … This gave rise to a world of things that are purely utilitarian and do not affect the emotional sphere of a person. However, Pesce believes that the future belongs to the "feminine", feminine way of creativity. The dogmatic, linear, militaristic approach to life has exhausted itself, the time has come for "women's values" - peace, love, kindness, imagination, comfort, flexibility and tolerance. But the "masculine" outlook on things dominated for many centuries, and this prompted Pesce to create that very chair, which, with its comfort, harmony of forms and provocative image, overshadowed the designer's idea.

An exhibition pavilion that follows the shape of the Donna armchair

So, a chair in the shape of a female body. Sinking into it, you find yourself in the arms of the Paleolithic Venus, the Universal Mother, the Great Goddess … and put your feet on a comfortable spherical ottoman, which is filled with air under the influence of your weight. However, if you take a closer look at this chair, it becomes clear that it depicts a captive woman with a weight that prevents her from moving. So Pesce reflected the invisibility of women in culture, their oppression, constraint by fears and prejudices. In the 80s, this chair became the visual manifestation of feminism, and the designer considers it to be the pinnacle of his creativity. The fact that not everyone understands his ideas does not bother Pesce - the main thing is that these ideas are expressed, and people like what he does.

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