Gaetano Pesce once said that an “object must not be an expression of itself”. In doing so, he broke a beloved taboo, one that has shaped design thinking ever since the 1920s. According to Pesce, form should not follow function, indeed it should reach for something much loftier — revolution.
His search for a deeper meaning through design is best evidenced by his notorious UP Lounge Chair for B&B Italia. First released in 1969, it is open to a wide range of interpretations. Visually, its buxom figure resembles the curvaceous forms of ancient fertility goddesses, providing a comfortable womb-like seat. However, this image is complicated by the fact that the chair is shackled to the floor by a spherical ottoman, read by many as a ball and chain. At the time, it posited a powerful contribution to the debate being waged over the position and treatment of women, with both camps pausing to examine this powerful symbol.