MILAN — Fendi is bringing a touch of Rome to Miami.

Marking the brand’s partnership with Design Miami, now in its 11th year, the Rome-based company has asked design studio Kueng Caputo, formed by Lovis Caputo and Sarah Kueng, to create new pieces meant to decorate the exterior colonnade of the brand’s headquarters at the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana.

The 20th-century building, also referred to as the Square Colosseum, is characterized by imposing white travertine arched colonnades, which were a starting point for the Zurich-based duo. The resulting collection of 10 pieces is dubbed “Roman Molds.”

“We always look for something different and surprising that will represent the brand and we only work with people who will be able to express elements of Rome and of the brand,” said Fendi chairman and chief executive officer Serge Brunschwig. “After last year’s fountains created by Sabine Marcelis, we are back to emphasizing the Palazzo della Civiltà this edition.”

Inspired by the fur technique developed in the Fifties by Fendi, in which grosgrain and velvet ribbons were combined with fur, the designers combined the brand’s supple Selleria leather with the terracotta brick. They developed the soft leather into a structural, more solid material. “The brick is another link to antique Rome, and Selleria is one of the Fendi pillars,” Brunschwig said.

The bricks have been carved and shaped to represent the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana arches in many of the pieces of furniture in the collection. Specially developed ceramic glazes are then applied to the bricks, in sync with Fendi’s history of colorblocking. “The designers were inspired by the materials in a different way, resulting in unusual furniture and taking the brand in unexpected directions,” Brunschwig said.

Caputo and Kueng were also drawn to Fendi’s saturated colors, such as its staple yellow or red, pink and orange, which have all been incorporated into the collection.

The pieces are meant to be multiplied to create a series of intimate areas for socializing or working on the loggias of the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana.


A Roman Molds piece by Kueng Caputo at the Palazzo della Civiltà.  Omar Sartos

“The collection reflects Fendi’s creativity and innovation,” Brunschwig said. “I am proud and excited to be able to present always new projects at Design Miami and continue this partnership. It’s an additional opportunity for us to be avant-garde.”

The executive underscored that not every endeavor needs to have “a monetary value,” emphasizing the value of the contribution to an artistic project. “It makes me super happy that artists find inspiring elements at Fendi that can help them express their creativity. It’s very rewarding for Fendi to see that what we have is inspiring and that artists find new ways to express this. It points to the richness of the brand, which is seen as up-to-date and relevant. No artist could be inspired if that were not the case.”

Among the pieces, there is a bench that combines dark green and blue leather arches or stools made with undulating leather in bright tones. A long table with a yellow top rests on upturned arches, while another bow table is seen in delicate bright pink over an arched base with an orange underbelly. This is a reference to Fendi’s customized canvas Peekaboo bags and their contrasting colors and textures. Abstract mauve arched room dividers are flanked by a structure shaped as a palm tree. The designers played with opposites, juxtaposing soft and hard elements, incorporating both serious and playful undertones.

The designers have also created unique and customized Peekaboo bags that will be displayed at Design Miami, which runs Dec. 4 to 8.


A Peekaboo bag customized by Kueng Caputo.  Daniele La Malfa