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Friedman Benda

Gaetano Pesce

Prototype no. 000-F for Moloch floor lamp, 1971

Price Upon Request

Gaetano Pesce

Designer

During his career, which spans four decades with commissions in architecture, urban planning, interior, exhibition, and industrial design, Gaetano Pesce, the architect, and designer, has conceived public and private projects in the United States, Europe, Latin America, and Asia. In all his work, he expresses his guiding principle: that modernism is less a style than a method for interpreting the present and hinting at the future in which individuality is preserved and celebrated. Born in La Spezia, Italy, in 1939, Pesce studied Architecture at the University of Venice between 1958 to 1963 and was a participant in Gruppo N, an early collective concerned with programmed art patterned after the Bauhaus.

Currently Exhibiting at DESIGN MIAMI.BASEL 2024 Pesce’s long-running collaboration with the visionary manufacturer Cesare Cassina reached its provocative peak with Bracciodiferro, an experimental project workshop which operated from 1969 to 1975. Though the name literally means “arm wrestling,” here it refers to a rude Italian gesture—meaning, essentially, up yours. This aptly captures the intention of the initiative, which Pesce proposed as a way of opening up a provocative space within the normative world of furniture manufacturing. Pesce realized several important works that took advantage of the complete freedom of the situation, including the Moloch floor lamp.  The Moloch floor lamp is an outlier in Pesce’s career, an unusual foray into the idiom of Pop design. As an idea, it could not be simpler: just a giant version of an Anglepoise desk lamp. By applying such a radical scale shift to a usually unobtrusive object, however, Pesce achieved a result that is actually quite frightening, hovering overhead like a cyclopean monster. (The original Moloch was a deity mentioned in the Bible as demanding human sacrifice.) One possible reading is that if we are to have industrially produced furniture, this is how it should appear—with all the sublime and intimidating power that actually exists in the factory system. The Moloch also works as a brilliant comment on Bracciodiferro itself—a sort of proof of concept. Pesce showed how very easy it is to shift everyday reality, thus critiquing the weakwilled conformity of most commercial design all the more effectively.  Materials: Anodized aluminum, painted aluminum, aluminum, steel, painted steel, wood.

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