Fendi’s world for its immersive Design Miami 2023
An immersive design experience Backfrontal offers viewers a unique behind-the-scenes look into Fendi’s operations.
Designed by creative duo Desiree Heiss and Ines Kaag of Bless, the exhibition acts as the fashion house’s Design Miami presentation, with double-sided screens featuring lifesize wallscapes of Fendi interiors that invite guests to step into the iconic fashion house – literally – and take a seat behind the screen in alcoves that incorporate seating, table and storage elements.
Known for their eccentric creativity, the team’s first question upon receiving the invitation to collaborate from Fendi was “Why us?” Says Kaag.
“‘But maybe because it was so abstract, and so not what we would have expected, we became hooked on finding out more.”
It’s the sense of mystery “what to expect” that also drew Fendi, explains Simon Parris. “My visibility of what Bless has been doing has always ebbed and flowed,” he says.
“I wasn’t sure what kind of response I would get, but I was excited by the fact that I wasn’t sure. That it wasn’t a done deal.”
“We were not familiar with Fendi, apart from our on-the-surface understanding of a post-Karl Lagerfeld era,” says Heiss.
“We were totally disconnected. The fact that the brief was for Design Miami, which is another institution we’re not interested in necessarily, was also a challenge for us. We couldn’t see why we were being approached, but then we didn’t expect to feel the connections we did upon entering the Fendi world.”
Luckily, for us they did.
Backfrontal is an intimate look into the quiet (mostly) female power that drives Fendi with four double-sided screens, fabricated by Fendi Casa, including wallscapes of the marble entrance of the brand’s headquarters and the private showroom atop the label’s flagship boutique.
“Each and every encounter, no matter if it was a young person or someone who had worked for Fendi for many, many years, was pure pleasure,” says Heiss.
“It was not just a stupid 15-minute chat, we came out of these encounters totally mesmerised. What fascinated us most about Fendi is the complexity of a former family company that has kept its spirit and magic after having joined a big group. All of its operations are anchored in an Italian way of being.”
“We appreciate creativity, and like to show the human touch in it,’ says Silvia Venturini Fendi, the brand’s current creative director and a third-generation member of the Fendi dynasty.
“Design – with considerations on functionality, durability and endurance – is the closest form of art to what I do. It’s increasingly important to engage in conversation with talents who can contribute to the evolution of the Fendi aesthetic beyond commercial boundaries.
“We’re in cycles ourselves and things tend to be quite predictable. Often, we know what the result of a collaboration is going to be. But here, the conversation and the process became so important. It was the actual project.”