Furniture is David Pesso’s passion and professional specialty. And with 18 patents and licenses for 300 designs, he’s left his thumbprint on the industry. Since 1989 he has worked from his New Studio office, now located in Boca Raton, Florida.
His work is clean and unfussy. “I focus on economies of scale, and my goal is to attain more with less,” he says. Case in point: the Celeste chair and the new Geiger Levels casegoods collection, which debuted at NeoCon in 2009. With a less-is-more aesthetic and attractively concealed outlets for every conceivable electronic gadget, Levels is meant to appeal to the mobile and tech-savvy Milennial generation.
Since he is clearly not risk-averse, when Pesso isn’t designing furniture from his home-based studio, he’s out climbing the “14ers” in Colorado or some other scary foolishness.
Here are 7 questions for David Pesso:
1. What are you working on right now?
I am currently in the midst of what I like to call a learning curve “sabbatical” with some new 3D modeling and rendering software, which is something I’ve wanted to do for some time now.
I just started on the design and development of a new healthcare seating program for Herman Miller Healthcare as well as a seating and table collection for a new start-up company here in North America with provenance in Italy.
2. Which of your projects are you most proud of?
I find that whatever I am currently working on tends to take precedent and pride over what has come before. However, one of my recent efforts, which I am currently out promoting, is Geiger Levels casegoods, introduced at NeoCon 2009. Along with some other furniture projects, Levels represents the culmination of my 20 years of design and development experience. The Levels program represents a unique vocabulary which provides solutions that address the paradigm shifts taking place within the work environment.
3. What inspires you? Where do you go for inspiration?
I find inspiration to be enigmatic and serendipitous as it often rears its head in the most unlikely places. I often find geometry, details, and relationships and juxtapositions between materials and processes to be intriguing and inspiring. I do like to have a plan or direction that I can use as a reference point throughout the design process. Something of a touchstone, which could be anything from a metaphor to an aesthetic. Looking at things or concepts with a child-like curiosity also doesn’t hurt…what you don’t know can’t hold you back.
4. What work do you most admire by another designer or artist?
In general, I find myself attracted to design that embraces that the principals of Twentieth Century Modernism. Objects and architecture that are well-scaled and proportioned and that possess a reductionist aesthetic, devoid of gimmicks and ornament. For this reason, I tend to lean towards the works of Mies Van der Rohe, Donald Judd, Constantin Brancusi, and Philip Johnson’s Glass House and the surrounding forty-nine exploratory acres in New Canaan, Connecticut.
5. What would be your dream project?
Since I’ve spent the past 20 years working in a strategic capacity with manufacturing partners on specific and defined opportunities, a project that was free from any constraints, criteria or objectives. Perhaps something more in line with a large-scale sculptural commission for a public space, where the patron was only slightly interested or involved in the end result…true creative license without having to answer to the man.
6. What place in the world would you most like to visit?
I am fortunate that my work and interests have taken me to some of the most spectacular corners of the world. Through my travels, I have learned that I am not a great passive tourist. I am finding that I typically seek out travel that either involves my work interests or elevates my adrenaline.
The past several years I have been taking an annual off-road dirt bike excursion with a group of guys that takes us out of our comfort zone. My son, Benjamin, has recently joined in, but at 14 he is not quite old enough to handle the endurance of some of the more remote destinations. I am really looking forward to getting off the grid in Central America and Europe with my son in the next several years, while I can still keep up with him.
7. What one thing do you want to accomplish before you die?
From a design perspective it would be nice to have a product or collection of products that transcend time and are meaningful and coveted by multiple generations…not unlike a Dylan song.