Fever Dream

Gaetano Pesce's Designs for TBWA\Chiat\Day

Window to the IT Department. Image: Audrey Moyer

TBWA\Chiat\Day was a leading force in advertising in the 1990s and had an important role in shaping popular culture. Designing the agency's office in Manhattan was Gaetano Pesce's focus from 1993 to 1996 when the 50,000 square foot project was completed. Founder Jay Chait charged Pesce with creating a "virtual office"—a creative, collaborative space where employees would enter the office, leave their belongings in a locker and check out a laptop and cordless phone for the day.

Every detail of the brightly colored space and all of the furnishings were designed by the artist including silicon conference tables, slightly off-kilter office chairs, and a window to the IT department framed by a giant pair of red lips. Most notably, there were no assigned desks, and employees were encouraged to work where they felt comfortable. The concept was controversial, with one employee recalling, "I can remember coming back from a presentation and being unable to find my creative department for two days". In 1998 the company relocated and the office was destroyed. Only a handful of pieces survived including these locker doors. Hand-painted for the space in 1995, each door is a unique, independent work.

The "Clubhouse" at TBWA\Chiat\Day. Image: Audrey Moyer

Gaetano Pesce b. 1939

Gaetano Pesce is one of the most progressive and visionary designers of the 20th century, building a diverse and avant-garde body of work from principles of anti-rationalism, a concern for the individual and the “human touch,” and an experimental approach to materials and means of production.

Pesce was born in 1939 in La Spezia, Italy and grew up between Florence and Padua. His father, a naval officer, died in WWII, leaving his mother to raise him and his brother alone, resulting in a difficult childhood. From a young age, Pesce exhibited a rebellious spirit, joining Gruppo N, a radical artist collective when he was still a teenager. In 1959, Pesce enrolled at the University of Venice to study architecture, because he considered it to be the most complex and challenging of the arts. He found the curriculum tedious and stifling with its insistence on historicism and the hyper-rationalist, mechanical, and abstracted ideals of modernist architecture, which he thought disregarded the individual and attempted to standardize the human spirit. He found his suspicions of modernism confirmed when he visited Dessau, Germany, the birthplace of the Bauhaus, to find that the first Bauhaus building, where Paul Klee and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe taught, had been turned into a coal room.

Learn More

Upcoming Lots Gaetano Pesce

Auction Results Gaetano Pesce

GAETANO PESCE, Sansone table | wright20.com

Gaetano Pesce

Sansone table

estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $36,000
GAETANO PESCE, set of lamps from Il Cestello, Florence | wright20.com

Gaetano Pesce

set of lamps from Il Cestello, Florence

estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $36,000
GAETANO PESCE, conference table for the American Ballet Theatre | wright20.com

Gaetano Pesce

conference table for the American Ballet Theatre

estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $33,800
GAETANO PESCE, Dalila chair | wright20.com

Gaetano Pesce

Dalila chair

estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $25,200
GAETANO PESCE, Golgotha chair | wright20.com

Gaetano Pesce

Golgotha chair

estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $25,000
GAETANO PESCE, Golgotha chair | wright20.com

Gaetano Pesce

Golgotha chair

estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $23,750
GAETANO PESCE, prototype dining table | wright20.com

Gaetano Pesce

prototype dining table

estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $18,750
GAETANO PESCE, Nobody's Perfect tables, set of two | wright20.com

Gaetano Pesce

Nobody's Perfect tables, set of two

estimate: $1,000–1,500
result: $16,250
GAETANO PESCE, Dalila 3 armchair | wright20.com

Gaetano Pesce

Dalila 3 armchair

estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $16,250
GAETANO PESCE, Nobody's Perfect cabinet | wright20.com

Gaetano Pesce

Nobody's Perfect cabinet

estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $12,500
GAETANO PESCE, UP3 chair | wright20.com

Gaetano Pesce

UP3 chair

estimate: $3,000–5,000
result: $11,400
GAETANO PESCE, ceiling light | wright20.com

Gaetano Pesce

ceiling light

estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $11,250
GAETANO PESCE, conference table from TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York | wright20.com

Gaetano Pesce

conference table from TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York

estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $10,200
GAETANO PESCE, vase | wright20.com

Gaetano Pesce

vase

estimate: $1,500–2,000
result: $10,000
GAETANO PESCE, Sansone II | wright20.com

Gaetano Pesce

Sansone II

estimate: $9,000–12,000
result: $9,440
GAETANO PESCE, set of lamps from Il Cestello, Florence | wright20.com

Gaetano Pesce

set of lamps from Il Cestello, Florence

estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $9,375
GAETANO PESCE, Osso lamp | wright20.com

Gaetano Pesce

Osso lamp

estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $8,890
GAETANO PESCE, Sansone II coffee table | wright20.com

Gaetano Pesce

Sansone II coffee table

estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $8,750
GAETANO PESCE, 543 Broadway chairs, set of six | wright20.com

Gaetano Pesce

543 Broadway chairs, set of six

estimate: $2,000–3,000
result: $8,750
GAETANO PESCE, conference table from TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York | wright20.com

Gaetano Pesce

conference table from TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York

estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $8,125
GAETANO PESCE, Sansone II dining table | wright20.com

Gaetano Pesce

Sansone II dining table

estimate: $6,000–8,000
result: $8,125
GAETANO PESCE, conference table from TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York | wright20.com

Gaetano Pesce

conference table from TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York

estimate: $4,000–6,000
result: $8,125
GAETANO PESCE, set of twelve 543 Broadway chairs from TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York | wright20.com

Gaetano Pesce

set of twelve 543 Broadway chairs from TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York

estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $7,800
GAETANO PESCE, UP7 (Il Piede) | wright20.com

Gaetano Pesce

UP7 (Il Piede)

estimate: $2,000–3,000
result: $7,800