Feeling The Fendissime — Fendi at Villa Medici
With the help of the Mobilier National, Fendi and the French Academy in Rome — Villa Medici announce their most recent partnership to renovate six welcome Salons at Villa Medici, including the magnificent Grand Salon, with a new aesthetic that will foster innovation and modern design.
The creative vision of Silvia Venturini Fendi, Artistic Director of Accessories and Menswear at Fendi, and Kim Jones, Artistic Director of Couture and Womenswear at Fendi, has resulted in a transformation that highlights the fusion of modern design and tradition, transforming Villa Medici into a location that preserves exceptional know-how while fostering tomorrow’s heritage.
Since the 17th century, the French organisation known as the Mobilier National has funded the arts and crafts. Its goal is to maintain and transmit the extraordinary craftsmanship of its 130,000 pieces, including tapestries, carpets, furniture, clocks, chandeliers, pottery, historical textiles, etc., while also ensuring their conservation and repair.
The Villa Medici is the result of a historical stratification that gives it a distinct architectural and decorative identity. This historical stratification began with the Renaissance and continued through the centuries, right up to the work of the artist Balthus in the 1960s and 1970s and the designer and scenographer Richard Peduzzi in the early 2000s, both of whom took on the task of managing the institution.
With the assistance of the Fendi Architecture department, Kim Jones and Silvia Venturini Fendi designed their proposal for Villa Medici with a focus on colour as its main component. The new interpretation of the Salons combines a variety of design, interior fitting, and conservation-restoration skills. The original tones of the wall painting served as a starting point for choosing the palette for each room, which is especially evident in three specially designed hand-knotted carpets with graduated shading and wholly made from recycled French wool.
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The concept was also influenced by the intention to establish a relationship between the past and the present through recent creations bearing the Fendi Casa and artistic directors’ signatures as well as those produced in unique collaborations with designers. The salons get a new look from a collection of pieces by French, Italian, and Italian-French designers, including Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, and Toan Nguyen. The distinctive shapes and materials of Rome served as a source of inspiration for Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance. His Borghese table, which he modified for the Salon des Pensionnaires, features the outline of umbrella pines, and the tables he made specifically for the Salon de Lecture and the Salon Bleu were inspired by the Via Appia Antica’s paving.
The Salon Bleu and Salon de Lecture both include Chiara Andreatti’s Virgola chairs, and the Salon des Pensionnaires feature her Welcome sofa and armchairs for Fendi Casa. The Sandia couch, created by Toan Nguyen and made by Fendi Casa, is the focal point of the Petit Salon and is coloured in a warm orange-rusty tone to match the wall painting. The Belleville Armchairs, created by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec and manufactured by Vitra, are displayed prominently in the Villa Medici’s Grand Salon.
This selection of contemporary pieces of furniture will interact with antique furniture that Balthus has chosen or altered, Richard Peduzzi’s geometric lighting designs, and prints by past Academy Fellows of classical sculptures from the 18th century.
The connection between traditional and modern art is continued on the walls, where Villa Medici is now home to several tapestries, largely created by women artists, in a remarkable collaboration with the Mobilier National. The rooms also feature tapestries from the Academy’s collections, including works by Louise Bourgeois, Sheila Hicks, Aurelie Nemours, Alicia Penalba, and Sonia Delaunay, as well as Raoul Ubac, Edoardo Chillida, and Patrick Corillon. These tapestries are from the so-called “Indes” series and the cycle of the Quattro Stagioni on preparatory cartoons by The Grand Salon, where historical and black and white tapestries coexist, is the culmination of the intelligent mixing of tapestries. This room has the air of a modern gallery.
The Quattro Stagioni cycle tapestries were restored by the Bobin Tradition workshop over a two-year period, and the decorations in the Grand Salon at Villa Medici were restored under the supervision of Pierre-Antoine Gatier, Chief Architect of historic monuments, during this remarkable introduction of contemporary design to the historic Salons of Villa Medici, which had not undergone any significant changes for 20 years.
Last but not least, this renovation provided an opportunity to improve the sound of the Villa Medici’s Salons. Devialet, a partner in the project, used its knowledge of cutting-edge acoustic engineering to design custom acoustic panels installed behind the tapestries of the Grand Salon to improve the space’s sound experience without changing it.
Through this unique cooperation and patronage, Fendi affirms its dedication to preserving the creative inheritance, igniting the Maison’s enduring relationship with the Eternal City, which serves as a key source of inspiration for the entire endeavour.
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