Gaetano Pesce, the Italian designer based in New York, provided the most vivid answer in his room for Moscow decked out with his signature resin furniture and cutout profiles of human heads, rendered in passion reds and slimy greens. The room captured something essential about Moscow today, a clamorous place in transition between the gold-plated icons of old and the energy of post-Soviet commerce.
Maybe it was the green and gold silk pillows shaped like onions ( Pesce's play on Russian Orthodox church domes) or the glass floor painted with tiny red hammers and sickles. ("Once the Communists were on top," he said. "Now they are underfoot.") Somehow the architect managed to address both function and fantasy.
But there was innovation, too, in a sink made of a disposable sheet of plastic folded and pinned at the corners as delicately as a butterfly's wings. A bedspread printed with a map of Moscow, with popular spots highlighted for convenience, made for an elegant way to dream, blanketed by the city.
Pesce assembled his room on the theory that design no longer has to be about function. "What we have to give people now," he said, "are feelings."