Everyone knows about the importance of seating at fashion shows and what the coveted front row represents. But not much care has been put into the actual seats. More often than not, the assorted celebrities, editors, and influencers-of-the-month are crammed onto a bench or industrial bleacher. But in September if this year, 83-year-old design maestro Gaetano Pesce easily destroyed all future contenders with the 400 one-of-a-kind chairs he made for Bottega Veneta’s Fall 2022 show. Now those chairs are taking over Miami.
“Each one is different!” Pesce said, “That’s political. Life is about diversity.” On Wednesday, Pesce was sitting on a lilac and blue iteration of one of those chairs before his Design Miami discussion with the fair’s curatorial director, Maria Cristina Didero, titled “We Are All Different, and This Is Our Defining Quality!”
The assembled chairs are on display at a pop-up exhibition in the Design District for the duration of Miami Art Week. They will be available for purchase, as well as the new limited-edition book that charts the entire chair project, commissioned by Bottega Veneta’s creative director, Matthieu Blazy. features an interview between Pesce and artist Hans Ulrich Obrist. Just like the chairs (which were constructed from canvas dipped in resin), each book is unique.
Pesce’s work is a study in contradictions. He merges a utopian worldview with off-kilter haphazard imperfection. His work looks both archaic and futuristic, liquid and solid. This was just one stop in a flurry of Miami activity.
“One day you have an idea good for an object,” Pesce mused. “A day after you have an idea for architecture, another day you have idea for a drawing or for a music, or for a poem. This is the message of Italian culture. In the Renaissance, Michelangelo [was] a sculptor, a painter, an architect, a poet. I work in the same way.”
It’s impossible to narrow down Pesce’s 50-year career to a best-of, so we’ve highlighted just a few of his standout furniture moments.