Roman Molds/Kueng Caputo, 2019/ Courtesy of FENDI/ Photo: Paola Caputo

FENDI presents Roman Molds by Kueng Caputo

FENDI has commissioned the Zurich-based design studio Kueng Caputo (Lovis Caputo and Sarah Kueng) to create ten design pieces intended to decorate the exterior colonnade of its iconic headquarters, the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, on the Roman outskirts. This architectural icon serves as the starting point for Kueng Caputo’s exploration of the ways in which the building and FENDI DNA interact. The resulting collection, Roman Molds, captures the tension that has historically informed much of the house’s best output—traditional craft disrupted by innovation. The collection of ten pieces are meant to be building blocks that in multiplication would create a series of intimate “rooms” for socializing, escaping, and working on the grand loggias of the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana.

For almost a century FENDI has been committed to redefi ning luxury through the development of new materials and techniques. From its foundation through Silvia Venturini Fendi’s vision today, the Roman Luxury House has been pushing traditional methodologies and handcraft in new directions. FENDI has always represented the soul of “Made in Italy”: the union of craft, technology, and innovation. The designers have endeavored to make their commission reflect this same approach to originality in materiality and form, researching in the FENDI archives to understand the house’s history of innovation. The Swiss designers were driven by this spirit to
find a new expression of FENDI.

Kueng Caputo have combined two of the most divergent materials possible, FENDI’s iconic, supple Selleria Roman leather and the versatile, yet unpretentious terracotta brick. The natural, delicately pebbled surface of the leather has a unique depth of color and feel and inspired the duo to explore its many possibilities. The designers worked to transform the house’s eponymous soft leather into a structural material, giving it solidity and strength. Their aim is to push the material to look and feel different than usual expectations of leather by molding and forming it into seemingly weightbearing materiality. The leather is combined with artisanal bricks that have been carved and shaped in a manner that is more akin to cutting a garment pattern than the traditional techniques used in brick construction.

In this way, bricks are cut to represent the iconic arches of the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana in many of the pieces of furniture in the Roman Molds collection. The technically innovative bricks are then further elevated by the application of specially developed ceramic glazes that vibrate intensely alongside the richly hued Selleria leathers, creating blocks of color that further iterate the color blocking tendency that is so ingrained in FENDI DNA.