Because of his belief, that materials are important witness of the time, during the second half of the 70’s Gaetano Pesce turned to new materials study and research. Pesce stated that what comes new is an inevitable condition of life, therefore, there is future only if there is innovation.

To accept an innovation takes time, because unmistakably an innovation upsets the cultural heritage. Pesce created new forms with materials unknown before, materials which were a discovery of the twentieth century, therefore witness of the twentieth century innovative progress in the Art and Design field.

The traditional materials did not satisfy the artist curiosity. So he went on to discover the polyurethane resin, an element that was much more responsive to the artistic expression he was looking for. He thought that the same differences which characterize people should be transferred to the objects in order to give an intrinsic personality to the work itself, unique in its value, as are the moods and the character of a person. Those qualities would enrich the object with a new dimension, able to satisfy the most different needs, at the same time elevating the object to witness, as reflection of the society it represented. On this light, the imperfections of the work became the reflection of an imperfect time, with problems that are to be witnessed not hidden.

The artist great intuition leads him to understand how to utilize “ill-shaped” objects, which were highly expressive of the society he lived in, using them for its practical aspect. Pesce began a realistic production of such objects by starting a small company. The workshop was consequently moved to New York. There immigrants, unemployed, and even taxi drivers were called to help on the production of “ill-shaped” objects. The production procedure was based on the defects, therefore, also, on the inexperience of the worker for the realization of the work itself, which gave a particular imprint to the final product recognized and loved by most viewers. This meant to have found an expression that reached and touched the public.

Gaetano Pesce’s decision to take abroad his workshop was very important because, after his first artistic education achieved in Italy, his thought evolved during his permanence around the world.

Between the 60’s and 70’s , Pesce lived in Helsinki ( his interest at the time was Architecture), later he went on to London, then Paris, where he lived fifteen years, last he went to New York where he is presently resident. He believed New York to be the capital of the twentieth Century; it helped him to find a freedom of expression that would have been difficult to find in any other country.

He tells of New York “….. is a generous city, a book open on the future, this is why I want to be present there to take advantage of a city that offers, easy information, and everything runs in front of your eyes, you only have to observe to understand where the world is going.”

The Design solutions found by Pesce were already part of a global vision that aimed to underline the flimsiness and difficulties of making Art and Design even today, by turning the attention to everyday objects and its importance, in order to capsize the vision of what Art is. So a useful object became a means to convey the artistic message. With a strong and istinctive interpretation Pesce made his objects more Art and less geometric Design. The “unfinished” and “unexpected” of Gaetano pesce’s work is opposite to the Design and Architecture formal canons. His finished work is an intimate bond between form and matter, with structural features arisen out of color and plasticity.

Pesce’s objects have a high communicative value given by new elements away from the classic canons of harmony and proportion, elements which in their esthetical presence are not always pleasing or reassuring to the eyes of the spectator. But the visual experience offered by Gaetano Pesce’s objects goes beyond the visual to create new perceptions. Contrary to the pressure of the economic market, that compels most production of art objects to conform to a certain academism and to the sterilization of cultural content, Fish Design does not accepts compromises, the message is true to the idea, because the contents and the motivation are strong and authentic.

The humanity and philosophy of a defect

Gaetano Pesce grew up during the years preceding the second world war, in a time when the language of human standardization was promoted by the ideals of the Nazi movement. Because of it, Gaetano Pesce’s philosophy is very confrontational since he exalts humanity in its differences and flaws. The essence of what Human is, Pesce sees it in a context of power, strength and vitality, as in primitive illustrations, or archaic shapes, or graffiti. Pesce’s man is clunky (awkward) but strong and powerful. The imperfections and deformities become the characteristics of the artist objects as well as of his body of work. “ I believe that only death succeeds in rendering all men alike, but life makes us different, and because of it, it is our right to defend those differences, I believe that the same objects we keep around during the short span of our life, should have the same prerogative.”

His objects, because of the flaws, are singled out, the uniqueness becomes expression thanks to the typology of the material by which is executed. During the 60’s Pesce’s name associated with diversified production, was playing an important role in Design history. The goal of the production was to obtain similar but not identical products, working over the creative process in a free and casual way, never calculated, telling apart the content from the finished appearance.

The variables Gaetano Pesce found after many years of research and experimentation, were singled out by the acceptance of the flaws, no longer a waste element but an element of distinction.

Fish Design remains a unique experience within the landscape of Design. In fact Pesce’s idea of a collection is of auto-production, what is creative becomes auto-productive. He sells the opportunity to make culture, the language of the bought object is assimilated by the buyer in his everyday life routine. To get close to those objects is always a new experience, and a choice. The designer, not only is the person who creates the object, most importantly, he is the one who conveys the cultural thought process through new and provocative shapes.

All of Pesce’s objects have a halo of imprecision, due to the fact that unforeseen elements become part of the creative process, which tend to emphasize the imprecision in opposition to the rule that a finished object has to be precise and faultless. Pesce’s production has an intrinsic poetry, free and unpredictable, points out the uniqueness of every piece. The message that one perceives once in contact with the objects is of destabilization; the balance between shape and material is twisted in all different direction, even unpleasant and incomprehensible ones. At the same time this experience is an invitation to search one’s own perception of the organic shapes which are in constant evolution.

Accidental and ill-shaped are the conditions set forth in a creative play for the use of new materials defined by an appearance of manual art. The artist maintains that it is necessary to leave the creative process to labor and to the material to suggest the final shape of the object. The unpredictable shape will be viewed as a characteristic of the object and not a defect.

The artist states “..... there is an ulterior aspect I am trying to reason out: I am trying to achieve what others call” beautiful shape” with something “ badly made”, to which we should give poetic life….. I find useless to follow an ideal of beauty that no one knows how to produce, or no one would purchase.”

To accept an art rule which includes faults, brings the idea of beauty closer to what is human, because it implies the possibility of making mistakes, setting free the mind and the capacity of the material for expression. The aesthetic principle of the “ill-shaped” becomes the central theme of Pesce’s planning research. He emphasizes every man’s creativity, questioning the concept of technical limits, entering at this point the importance of collective art work. Pesce believes that often, in today’s society, the artist planning can be interpreted and made different from the way it was conceived, so it is important to make aware and involve in the workforce.

“ if the planner looks to the “ill-shaped” aspect, it is important to give a correct interpretation into a spontaneous change to achieve highly expressive results, less oriented toward the traditional abstract beauty of the past and more representative of the present, and on my opinion, representative of the future.”

The philosophy is called “ aleatory production” , in other words, the object planning does not follow the typical mass production, but each time leaves the chance to obtain a different object created by different hands. The creativity of whoever is working the material, the unpredictability of mixing the fluids, the choice to work in variables, as the choice of color and material distribution, those are some of the solutions that give uniqueness to an object.

The idea of what is modern for Geatano Pesce, is expressed by the choice of fluid dynamics of colored resins, which embody the future of research.

“ Fish Design puts forward uniqueness as an evolution from mass production", remarks the Architect Pesce, "the humanity of a defect is its beauty, the tactile aspect, the sensuality, the warmth through its elasticity, color and feminine characteristic, as well as the originality. Fish Design is not pleased by the uniformity of traditional Design, but means to offer warmth and good humor, by renewing an affective interaction with the living spaces of our daily life.”

The collection comes out of this idea, in fact, in New York and in Mexico, Gaetano Pesce employs workers who are stranger to the artistic environment, with no previous experience, leaving to each individual the freedom to create something new. Unique objects come in this way into existence, far from the mass produced stereotypes, this objects are much closer to the common sensitivity.

Gaetano Pesce encourages the workers to have a personal and direct contact with the material, in order to escape the alienation of which the contemporary workforce is suffering. This concept opens a new path to understand the project design, until then tied to specific rules of proportion of the technical drawings and to the rigid materials, simple and measurable.

The “ill shaped” object finds its expression with a new material that plays out the results. The object takes shape, no longer through rules and numbers, but by independently defining its form and space.

The beginning

By the middle of the 90’s, after several years of testing plastic material, Gaetano Pesce created the brand, Fish Design, while working on furnishings objects. During the first few years Pesce’s production was sold only as collector’s items, tied to a market that favored galleries speculation and limited the access of the general public. The collection was made of 18 objects, mostly vases, of 3 different sizes, for which were chosen names and general characteristics. The original production resulted to be at random and in disarray, because was executed by workers who did not have technical experience neither knew the art world. The choice of workers with no previous experience, was consistent with Gaetano Pesce’s philosophy that anyone who is given the means should be able to express his artistic creativity. In those years, even if sold as collector’s items, the objects were nevertheless created as testing pieces. After so many years and because of lack of documentation, today it is impossible to precisely piece together all the events which defined the first production. It is however clear that those objects have very high commercial value today, and can be found only trough collectors and modern art galleries thanks to a certification that reports the inscription of “ Fish Design, 543 Broadway, New York, NY 10012”.

The 1995 transfer documents read that Fish Design collection pieces were the results of research and development of an innovative technique, without the need of major investments in the infrastructures. The objective was to create a limited series made out of colored and translucent resin, mixed at different times so that each object was defined by unique characteristics. Manual work was used to find an assortment of new colors so that each object would result unique and original. The organic shape, the color variation, as well as the bubbles and the flaws were part of a creative process which reflected the thought of “diversified production” turning away from the mass scale production typical of the society we live in. This is the reason way every object is numbered and authenticated. Fish Design made forward a collection dedicated to new and functional objects. In 1997 the production consisted of 18 objects selected from the first collection of 1995, with added new experiments, among which were four vases, five lamps, two types of trays and baskets, mirrors, watches and bracelets.

Since 2004 Fish Design workshop has been moved to Milan. Even today every object is made by craftsmen.