Fendi and Cristina Celestino's The Happy Booth rendering.


MILAN — Realizing trunk shows and personal appointments with clients around the world required a setting in tune with the brand, Fendi turned to architect Cristina Celestino to create sophisticated furniture pieces for the label’s first traveling VIP room. Called “The Happy Room,” it will be unveiled at Design Miami next month.

Pietro Beccari, the luxury brand’s chairman and chief executive officer, praised Celestino’s designs, saying that “she has perfectly translated our Fendi codes into a truly sophisticated and feminine collection of design pieces that show a unique personality and a whispered luxury, expressed through the skillful use of materials and new techniques, like the fur under resin, geometrical shapes, chromatic play, marble and glass inlays, all elements very much in common with us.”

The pieces have an Art Deco-meets-the-Fifties theme. There are several references to Fendi staple elements, such as the distinctive arch of the company’s new headquarters, the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana in Rome, also called the Square Colosseum. For example, the arch is seen in the marble inlays that characterize the low tables. The base of these items is reminiscent of the closing of an earring. In satin brass, this is also a recurring motif in both a large sofa in a Rubelli mustard-colored velvet and in a mint-green armchair, both finished by a gray fox fur trim made at Fendi’s fur atelier.

The inlays recur within the collection through the play of contrasts of various types of marbles, including Roman travertine, green Saint Denis, Rosso Lepanto marble and onyx, characterized by graphic dissimilar veins, inspired by Fendi’s fur tablets.

This was the first time Celestino worked with a fashion brand, but she said she had “total freedom,” expressing Fendi’s concepts with her “own language.”

“We share the use of color, a sense of irony and images evocative of the past yet made contemporary, artisanal craftsmanship and luxury materials,” said Celestino, who caught Fendi’s attention with her innovative Plumage design in April at Milan’s international furniture and design show Salone del Mobile, winning the special jury prize of the first edition at the Salone del Mobile Milano Award. Plumage is an innovative ceramic and porcelain mosaic made by hand, which the architect and designer re-elaborated for Fendi.

For the brand, Celestino also created a new special fur treatment under resin called Etere. This is seen in fur panels realized with the let-out technique, reminiscent of Karl Lagerfeld’s 1971 Astuccio fur, found in the tones of dark blue with light gray details in the big screen with a mirror. Alternating and contrasting materials, as well as the fur, which looks almost frosted, create a 3-D impression. Celestino visited Fendi’s fur atelier in Rome and was “fascinated” by it, expressing amazement at the workmanship it boasted.

“The frosting of fur is almost a way to make it eternal, yet it adds a touch of lightness,” said Celestino.

She also remarked on the fact that each piece is conceptual but functional at the same time, as the module can be replicated in Fendi boutiques worldwide. The collection includes an Art Deco vanity table with the addition of hidden glass vases and a screen with a mirror.

Fendi has partnered with Design Miami since 2008. Previous projects include furniture originally designed by Milanese architect Guglielmo Ulrich; teaming with Dimore Studio, and designs by Maarten De Ceulaer.

 

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