Fendi knows talent when they see it. When it was time for the Italian fashion house to produce the installation for their fourth foray into Design Miami, they knew that they wanted to build a world that would both salute the past and welcome the future. That’s when they tapped designer Elisa Strozyk and artist Sebastian Neeb – two of Berlin’s top emerging names in the craft game – to tell their story for them. Using Fendi’s signature sewing, stitching, and leather, they converted antique furniture into avant-garde works of art that hung like marionettes in a space inspired by Palazzo Fendi, the grand neoclassical headquarters in Rome. This is "Craft Alchemy."
"It wasn’t about reproducing furniture from a particular era, but rather about producing pieces inspired by an era when the craft was at it’s peek," Neeb told us at the installation’s jam-packed vernissage yesterday. "The 18th century was interesting in that way because it was a change from doing one-off pieces to developing works at a very high level. That’s similar to Fendi’s history as well." As for working with the legendary fashion house, Strozyk couldn’t have been happier: "Everyone at Fendi was so nice during the entire process – they really believed in us. And the fact that they have preserved all of their old techniques and materials is amazing. They’ve kept the tradition of craft honest."
While the talented duo behind the award-winning Accordion Cabinet was certainly the best match for the challenge, that’s not to say that they didn’t encounter a few obstacles along the way. "It was the first project where we used leather, so we had to do extensive research on how to work with it," Neeb revealed. "And we went to Fendi’s workshop for a single afternoon before we started the project, but it was impossible to adapt all of their techniques in one day," added Strozyk. "That’s when we decided to mix their methods with our own." Behold the Fendi-approved results.
Check back tomorrow for an exclusive peek inside the official Design Miami Collector’s Lounge, also designed by Strozyk and Neeb.