MILAN — Fendi has once again shown its love for Rome.
The Italian luxury house has partnered with the French Academy in Rome – Villa Medici and with the support of the Mobilier National, a French national service agency under the supervision of the French Ministry of Culture, to refurbish six reception salons at Villa Medici. The French Academy in Rome – Villa Medici is located on the Pincio hill, at the bottom of which there are the city’s world-famous Spanish Steps.
Kim Jones, Fendi’s artistic director of couture and womenswear, and Silvia Venturini Fendi, artistic director of accessories and menswear, developed the project, juxtaposing contemporary design and the venue’s heritage.
On Thursday night, the designers, flanked by Delfina Delettrez Fendi, artistic director of jewelry, will host a dinner and a book signing with an exhibition of photographs from “The Fendi Set.” The book, by Jones with photos by Nikolai von Bismarck, was launched earlier this year and pays homage to the Rome-based couture house and to the Bloomsbury Group. A number of photos in the tome were lensed at Villa Medici.
Villa Medici has a unique, layered architectural and decorative identity, with influences dating back to the Renaissance, to Polish French artist Balthus in the ’60s and ’70s and to the designer and scenographer Richard Peduzzi in the early Aughts.
Drawing on these legacies, color has become the central element for the conservation and restoration project. The original tones of the wall paintings have been a starting point in choosing the palette for each room, reflected in particular in three custom-designed hand-knotted carpets entirely crafted from recycled French wool.
A selection of pieces by Italian designer Chiara Andreatti and by the French designers Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec and Toan Nguyen contribute to a new image.
For example, Duchaufour-Lawrance drew his inspiration from Rome’s distinctive shapes and materials and the outline of the umbrella pines appears in his Borghese table, which he adapted for the Salon des Pensionnaires, while the paving of the Via Appia Antica inspired the tables he created for the Salon de Lecture and the Salon Bleu.
The Virgola chairs by Andreatti are present in the Salon Bleu and Salon de Lecture, while her Welcome sofa and armchairs for Fendi Casa decorate the Salon des Pensionnaires.
In sync with the colors of the walls, the Sandia sofa designed by Nguyen and produced by Fendi Casa appears in a warm orange-rusty tone and is a key element of the Petit Salon. The Belleville Armchairs, designed by the Bouroullecs and produced by Vitra, stand out in the Grand Salon.
Thanks to a partnership with the Mobilier National, several modern and contemporary tapestries, mostly by women artists, are being introduced to the villa. Works by Louise Bourgeois, Sheila Hicks, Aurelie Nemours, Alicia Penalba and Sonia Delaunay, as well as Raoul Ubac, Edoardo Chillida and Patrick Corillon, are exhibited in the rooms alongside tapestries from the academy’s collections, from the so-called “Indes” series and the cycle of the Quattro Stagioni [Four Seasons] on preparatory cartoons by Francesco Salviati.
The Salons of Villa Medici had not undergone any significant changes for 20 years.
The decorations in the Grand Salon were restored under the supervision of Pierre-Antoine Gatier, chief architect of historic monuments, and the tapestries of the Quattro stagioni cycle were restored by the Bobin Tradition workshop over a two-year period.
This refurbishment was also an opportunity to upgrade the sound of the Salons with acoustic engineering expert Devialet to create customized acoustic panels installed behind the tapestries of the Grand Salon in order to enhance the sound experience of the place without altering it.
The Salons will be exceptionally open for visits from Friday through Sunday.
This is the latest restoration project in Rome supported by Fendi. The completion of the restoration work of the Temple of Venus and Rome, one of the most iconic monuments of the Roman Empire, were completed last year thanks to the donation of 2.5 million euros by the fashion house, which first pledged to sponsor the works in 2019, when it also held its couture show at the site to further mark its commitment.
The company has previously shown its love for Rome through the restoration of the Trevi Fountain, which began in 2013 and was completed in 2015 — followed by a couture show held at the location in 2016.
The brand has been additionally investing in the Fendi for Fountains project, which includes the restoration of the complex of the “Four Fountains” and the preservation of the fountains del Gianicolo, del Mosè, del Ninfeo del Pincio and del Peschiera.
In 2015, Fendi gave back to the city the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana in the EUR district, which it chose as its new headquarters.