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The woman behind Fendi’s new art collaboration
The designer magnifies the delicate beauty of water.
News 02 Apr 2019

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Sabine Marcelis in her apartment via Het Financieele Dagblad

If you were in Hong Kong for Art Basel last week and needed to do some last-minute shopping you probably noticed the beautiful installations in Pacific Place mall.


The atrium of Pacific Place is the new home to The Shapes of Water, an exhibition for Fendi by Dutch designer Sabine Marcelis. An exhibition that pays tribute to the beauty of nature through a study of water, the element that Fendi cherishes most.
“Using water as a design tool, the designer magnifies its delicate beauty by realising 10 fountains inspired by 10 of the most iconic symbols of the historical Roman house,” said a description of the collaboration.
Examples of inspiration include the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana fountain, based on Fendi’s headquarters in Rome, within sculptures that re-imagine the arched colonnades of the 1943 Mussolini-commissioned building. Fendi‘s  famous “double F” logo , created by Karl Lagerfeld in 1965  are replicated into a horizontal slab of yellow resin, with water flowing through the carved logo.  Fur and leather patterns, for which the brand is are most famous for were refashioned as textured motifs in fountains named Labirinto, Astuccio and Tegole.  The dramatic Rome sunsets, were also a source of inspiration in a high structure fountain with a water-wall overflowing down. Marcelis also payed homage to  the 10th anniversary of the Peekaboo Bag. For this sculpture Marcelis cast moulds from the bag to create a reproduction in resin. The sculpture sits on a bed of water surrounding it.
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Image of the Peekaboo Bag sculpture, via the Fendi website
All the sculptures are displayed in different forms in warm-hues of cast-resin with bubbling water pumping through them using hidden mechanisms.


“Marcelis has realised a similar structure adding an evanescent aspect, descending from the grandeur of the original construction,” said the project description. “It is through clean and soft lines and the use of ethereal materials such as polished resin and water in contrast with the historical travertine stone, and warm colours reminiscent of the Roman skies, that the fountains of Sabine Marcelis represent the perfect fusion between the historical, creative and aesthetic legacy of Fendi and its courage to provoke,” the brand’s statement said.
This is not the first time Marcelis has used her signature resin pieces with a fashion brand. Marcelis previously cast the material to recreate Burberry’s signature tartan pattern for a set of displays at Opening Ceremony stores in New York and Los Angeles. She also worked on a project with Salle Privee’s House no. 8 in Milan Italy, to transform the concept fashion store.
The Shape of Water exhibit will be on display at the atrium until April 14. Hong Kong is the first country to feature the exhibition after its debut at Design Miami last December.
You can find more of Sabine Marcelis’s work via her website here.
Text by Peigi Mackillop

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