Gaetano Pesce’s Notturno a New York

Furniture inspired by the cityscape intrigues me. I like the pointillistic pixilation of Cristian Zuzunaga’s bed for Hastens, which is based on enlarged photographs of metropolitan architecture. The fact that the cityscape emerges as a complex configuration of blocks makes the designs seem both mechanistic and futuristic—as if the city itself is some miniaturized motherboard, and we inhabitants mere signals traveling on electronic pathways, our highways simple circuitry. And if you make the idea of the city more specific, by homing in on a particular capital, then I’m absolutely hooked. This is exactly what Gaetano Pesce has done with his 348 Notturno a New York, a new sofa designed for Cassina. Working from drawings of a Manhattan skyline at night, with the full moon nestled between the grid-like buildings, Pesce created an upholstered sofa that embodies this vision—a still life in steel.

348 Notturno a New York. Designed by Gaetano Pesce.

A Cityscape Becomea a Sofa

Not that the sofa is constructed of steel; it is not. Rather, Pesce and Cassina have employed “a special fabric processed to resemble a tapestry, a sophisticated weaving technique used to produce 14,000 warp and weft stitches, generating extremely high definition images.” This fabric, depicting a little city with hundreds of lighted skyscraper windows, gets stretched over a plywood and beech frame. The padding (polyurethane foam and polyester wadding) fills the sofa’s components, which get assembled together using joints. The mode of construction for Notturno a New York itself mimics the building of a city, with each structure acting like an autonomous building that works to create a greater whole: the cityscape.

Gaetano Pesce's Notturno a New York

The sofa thus becomes a reflection of the cumulative effect of metropolitan architecture; in this way, the furniture stresses building blocks: Notturno a New York is a “sofa that unites evocative and emotional power with precise structural functionality”—which is exactly what a city does. In the case of New York, Pesce has managed to soften the city’s edges with the introduction of an organic element: the large, full moon, pregnant with illumination, spills over the city—reminding us that even New York is more organic and natural than we might at first imagine.

Posted December 2, 2010 by Alicita Rodriguez

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