Gaetano Pesce, Italian architect and designer, 1939–2024

Organic Building, Osaka, Japan. Photo: Hiromitsu Morimoto. Wikipedia Creative Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0

Italian architect and designer Gaetano Pesce, known for his surrealist architecture and furniture design, has died aged 84, his studio announced in an Instagram post.

‘It is with a heavy heart we announce the passing of visionary creator Gaetano Pesce,’ his studio said. ‘Over the course of six decades, Gaetano revolutionized the worlds of art, design, architecture, and the liminal spaces between these categories. His originality and nerve are matched by none.’

Born in La Spezia in 1939, Pesce studied architecture at the University of Venice under Carlo Scarpa and Ernesto Rogers. From 1958 to 1963, Pesce was associated with Gruppo N, which was concerned with exploring programmed patterns that create interactive optical illusions. He became renowned for his designs including the Organic Building in Osaka – a nine-story structure with a computer-controlled irrigation system that allows plants to grow on its facade – and his famous La Mamma armchair, made in the shape of a fertility icon with a spherical ottoman. 

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