At a fashion show, it’s usually the clothes that get all the attention. But at Bottega Veneta’s spring 2023 outing in Milan, the spotlight was shared by the runway itself: designed by renowned artist and architect Gaetano Pesce, models streamed through what appeared to be a pastel river of melted crayons, lined with color-blocked, Rothko-on-acid resin chairs. “The idea was ‘the world in a small room.’ We went full on,” Bottega Veneta creative director Matthieu Blazy told Vogue’s Nicole Phelps of the commission at the time. “The idea was to represent different characters and put them in the landscape of Gaetano.”
Originally, the installation seemed to be a site-specific one, seen only by the fashion insiders and celebrities notable enough to score an invite from the storied Italian house. Yet Blazy has now chosen to make it globally accessible: from November 30 to December 4, Pesce’s chairs will be available for public viewing (and even purchase) at the annual Design Miami fair in Miami Beach. (They’re also available for purchase at Bottega Veneta).
Bottega Veneta x Gaetano Pesce Come Stai? 043
Each of the 400 furniture pieces is unique, whether in its color or the motifs it features: one has a smiley face, one a rising sun, another a question mark. It turns out this rejection of uniformity (an unusual choice for chairs, generally sold in uniform pairs or sets) is very much the point. “It is about the human being; we are all different,” says Pesce. “People who say we are all the same—fuck them! We are all originals, and this is one of the themes of my design.”
Indeed, the artist has been exploring this unique fusion of industrial design with the highly individualistic since he first began receiving attention as a designer in ’70s Italy. Just take his famous 1975 “Sit Down” collection for Cassina, in which he made loveseats and armchairs out of wooden frames and canvas. The fabric developed distinctive folds in the process, making the pieces aesthetically similar on the surface, but never quite the same. (One now belongs to the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.)
And if you don’t happen to be in Miami next week? The Come Stai? chairs are also available for sale on Bottega Veneta’s website. A dream for design collectors and high fashion fanatics alike.