Fendi x Kengo Kuma = architectural accessories
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Fendi x Kengo Kuma = architectural accessories

The iconic Fendi Baguette reimagined using Japanese paper

Fendi x Kengo Kuma = architectural accessories

Fendi has launched an exclusive series of accessories designed with noted Japanese architect Kengo Kuma.

Celebrated for his naturalist approach to built environments and the movement of “negative architecture”, Kuma’s rigorous design principles, experimental approach to natural materials and dedication to craftsmanship align with Fendi’s approach to material innovation, research and development. 

Silvia Venturini Fendi, the artistic director of accessories and menswear, introduced the partnership at the newly-inaugurated Fendi Factory in Tuscany, Italy, expressing her admiration for Kuma's mastery of naturalist architecture. "He was one of the first to understand the importance of building nature into architecture both inside and outside," she said. 

With a concise focus on the Fendi Peekaboo bag, the Fendi Baguette Soft Trunk and the Fendi Flow Sneakers, Kuma has applied ancient Japanese craftsmanship and raw natural materials to create subtly radical new iterations of these Fendi icons. Invoking the age-old art of paper-making by hand, Kuma has worked with waranshi — a hybrid style of washi paper made from cotton and tree bark fibres — as the principal intervention across each design. 

Traditionally made for origami, lantern-making and even kimono details, this dry, soft, textural fabric forms a strong structural base with a mottled, imperfect facade for the Peekaboo, Baguette Soft Trunk and Fendi Flow sneakers, echoing Kuma’s philosophy of integrating man-made objects into nature. A second Peekaboo design is constructed from fine skeins of pale birch bark, in a subtle nod to the Fendi Pequin stripe, with an internal frame sculpted from Tuscan olivewood. 

“Nature and craft have always been at the centre of my work as an architect and a designer. When Fendi asked me to reflect on their bags and shoes, I thought of them like small architectural projects on a human scale. I have transformed some of Silvia Venturini Fendi’s signature men’s designs with traditional Japanese techniques and materials, showing our shared passion for nature, lightness, and innovative design,” says Kuma. 

Elsewhere, Kuma invokes the practice of yatara ami weaving — an “irregular plaiting” technique using fine bamboo strands to create a strong woven lattice work. This Japanese tradition is applied to the internal frame of the waranshi Peekaboo and inspires a 3D-printed sole on the Fendi Flow sneaker with a recycled poly-cotton knit or waranshi upper. The Fendi Flow is also re-imagined with a laced and zipped upper, a cork insole, and a moulded FF sole in undyed, bio-based EVA.

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