Fendi commissioned Zurich-based design firm, Kueng Caputo, to make some new pieces for its headquarters, the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana and showcased them during last December’s edition of Design Miami. Sustainability played a role in this furniture collection — the designers used upcycled Selleria Roman leather, the buttery material used in many of their products—and transformed it into a stiff, structural element.
Kueng and Caputo approached the prestigious brief with their characteristic mix of calmness and conversation.
“It’s never like we ‘design’,” explains Caputo. “It’s really just a dialogue between us – while talking we are designing. We like exploring materiality and have an archive of materials that we love.”
The resulting furniture collection, entitled Roman Molds, captures the tension that has historically informed Fendi’s best output – traditional craft paired with modern design, which also happens to be Kueng Caputo’s forte. The 10-piece furniture collection riffs on opposites (soft/hard, delicate/solid, serious/playful) and continually confounds expectations. Kueng and Caputo have combined two contrasting materials – Fendi’s soft Selleria leather and terracotta brick – into tables and seating.
There’s a long table with a Fendi yellow top resting on upturned arches, and a bright pink ‘bow’ table, whose arched base has a zingy orange underside.
“We just love colours and try to find combinations that squeeze a little bit and make us nervous because they are not matching too much. Often it’s a bit ugly, but we like this tension.” – Kueng and Caputo
Roman Molds also offers up several variations on seating such as jewel-bright stools in undulating shapes. Abstracted arched mauve room dividers and a playful palm tree with a tiled trunk and leather fronds add scale and drama to the set.
On several pieces of this furniture collection, the design firm has have used suede on the underside and smooth hide on the top surface of corrugated metal sheets to create a sculptural leather sandwich.
“The whole story of the material interests us,” says Kueng. “If you look closely you can see how the cow has moved because there are different textures to the leather.”
Bricks too have been carved and shaped to represent the iconic arches of the palazzo, and finished with ceramic glazes that echo the richly hued leathers.
“The bricks and the corrugated metal are two of the most common building materials,” says Kueng. “We like to take a standard product and elevate it. Our focus was on making mass-production high-end.”
Source: AD Middle East
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