Gaetano Pesce talks personal taste: Part One

Architect and designer Gaetano Pesce has created iconic work for B&B Italia, Vitra and Cassina. His fantastical resin-based furniture is in MoMA and the V&A









Gaetano Pesce at his SoHo studio, New York
Gaetano Pesce at his SoHo studio, New York | Image: Mark C O’Flaherty

My personal style signifier is, in winter, a hat by Yohji Yamamoto, and in summer my O’Malley sunglasses by Oliver Peoples. I have had the hat for years. It’s like a long, very elastic beret and it changes the shape of my face depending on how I wear it. Sunglasses, $450; www.oliverpeoples.com.www.yohjiyamamoto.co.jp.

The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was a Sleeping Bag coat by Norma Kamali. I buy one every year and have them in lots of different colours, including one in a reflective fabric. They’re very light, but you could wear them to the North Pole. $750; www.shop.normakamali.com.

Pesce's Oliver Peoples O’Malley sunglasses, $450
Pesce's Oliver Peoples O’Malley sunglasses, $450 | Image: Mark C O'Flaherty

The last music I downloaded was Rave on, John Donne by Van Morrison. The powerful lyrics are a real wake-up call. I listened to it maybe 40 times and it really helped me work. I also bought some music by Lucio Dalla, who sings about the nature of dual realities, and Galaxy, a beautiful track by Hippiehaus.

The best souvenir I’ve brought home is a cheese called Toma Piemontese, from Piedmont in Italy. I bought it in Beppe e I Suoi Formaggi, a trattoria in Rome. Via Santa Maria del Pianto 9A/11, 00186 Rome (+39066-819 2210; www.beppeeisuoiformaggi.it).

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A recent “find” is I Sodi, a small Tuscan restaurant in New York’s West Village. Chef and owner Rita Sodi cooks the simple dishes she was raised on in Florence, and the food is first class.105 Christopher Street, New York, NY 10014 (+1212-414 5774; www.isodinyc.com).

The site that inspires me is the Guggenheim in Bilbao. With that building, Frank Gehry was the first to say we can move on from modernism. It made a statement: “There’s the future, if you want it.”

The Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao
The Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao | Image: Getty Images/Robert Harding World Imagery

An object I would never part with is my shoes. One evening I went out to a restaurant in New York and had so much to drink that I went home barefoot. It was the middle of winter and that night I realised how important shoes are. I have many pairs of Tod’s driving shoes – even though I can’t drive – in lots of beautiful colours. From £200; www.tods.com.

The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Michelangelo. He was full of contradictions. He wasn’t linear, but he wasn’t classical, either. If anything, he was anti-classic.

Pesce’s Tod’s driving shoes, from £200
Pesce’s Tod’s driving shoes, from £200 | Image: Mark C O'Flaherty

The best gift I’ve given recently is a Dolce & Gabbana dress printed with tomatoes, which are part of Domenico Dolce’s Sicilian heritage. He and Stefano made a fantastic choice by deciding to express their identity through fashion and I have followed their work for a long time. I asked them to contribute to a show I was curating in Kyoto; it was their first exhibition outside Italy.

And the best one I’ve received is a bottle of Prodigieux by Nuxe fragrance that my daughter, Tata, sent from Paris. She gave it to me to take to hotels because often the bedrooms have a smell that I don’t like. I love the idea of using this scent to create my own atmosphere. £43 for 50ml; www.nuxe.com.

Michelangelo’s Pietà Firenze
Michelangelo’s Pietà Firenze | Image: Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images

My favourite room in my house is the bedroom. There is a school of thought within the Roman Catholic Church that the best position in which to pray is lying down, because you don’t have any heavy sensations from the body and you can dedicate yourself to prayer. When I need to concentrate, I lie down in my bedroom.

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Puglia. I stay at Masseria Bagnara, an old family home that’s been turned into a hotel. It’s about 3km from the sea, so you can cycle to the beach. The design is quite simple and the people who run it are very convivial. Plus, they make fantastic fresh food. Strada Provinciale 125, 74020 Lizzano Taranto (+39099-955 8337; www.masseriabagnara.it).

Nuxe Prodigieux Le Parfum, £43 for 50ml
Nuxe Prodigieux Le Parfum, £43 for 50ml

The last meal that truly impressed me was a dinner in an old bank in New York. René Redzepi from Noma in Copenhagen cooked and it was maybe the best, most innovative meal I’ve ever had. There was a dish presented on soil, which Redzepi warned us not to eat, and another on a plate made of ice. I was fascinated by his use of materials. www.noma.dk.



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