Gaetano Pesce implores young designers to consider how to address social issues through their work, which he says has a greater capacity to communicate with people than art, in the latest talk in our collaboration with Friedman Benda for VDF.
“Design is a tool, not just to make nice things in a very decorative way,” the Italian architect and designer told curator Glenn Adamson in the latest of New York gallery Friedman Benda’s Design in Dialogue interviews that we are publishing as part of Virtual Design Festival.
“Design is much more complex than that. Design is a very powerful form of communication, a very important form of expression. In my opinion, it is an art.”
“Young designers have to understand they are practising something that is an art, and maybe better than art,” he continued.
“Because art goes to the gallery, goes to the museum. But design goes to families. Objects stay inside the family and people are in contact with them every minute of the day. That is very, very powerful.”
Pesce made the comments ahead of a presentation exploring some of his most influential design projects from the late 1960s through to the early 1990s.
Pesce imbued many of these projects with religious meaning or political commentary, such as his iconic 1969 Up series of chairs for Italian furniture brand B&B Italia, which was at the time called C&B Italia.
The most famous pieces in the series, which caused controversy at Milan design week last year when outsized versions were installed in front of the Duomo, are the Up5 chair and Up6 ottoman. The latter is attached to the former with a chain, which Pesce intended to represent the lack of freedom of women in society.
“It was, for me, one of my first figurative expressions,” Pesce said. “For me, what is most important is the representation of the woman without freedom, which is a very visible unfortunately in a lot of countries in the world.”
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