Fendi and the Mabeo design studio present the Kompa furniture collection
During Design Miami/ 2021, Fendi unveiled its collaboration with Botswana design studio Mabeo. Kompa is a furniture collection that fuses traditional African craftsmanship with luxury design, reports Nafeesa Saini.
The 17th edition of Design Miami/ returned in December of last year, when artists, creative talent and collectors converged on the year’s theme “visions for a more equitable and interconnected future”. One of the standout exhibitors at the fair was a collaboration between Italian luxury house Fendi and Botswana furniture and accessories brand Mabeo, and its associated design studio.
Creative encounters in Rome between Mabeo founder Peter Mabeo, Kim Jones, Silvia Venturini Fendi and Delfina Delettrez Fendi gave birth to the idea of a collection that highlights interrelated techniques. With this in mind, Mabeo has strived to achieve a holistic approach through close consultation and collaboration with various artisans across Botswana.
The result is a 10-piece furniture range named Kompa, named after the oldest craftsman of the project, and refers to something complete. The objects are a combination of individually crafted pieces and the joint efforts of artisans, using ancient materials and techniques unique to their local environments. The boundaries of design and tradition have been pushed imaginatively, as these guardians of specialized craftsmanship have embraced more fluid perspectives in the pursuit of innovation.
An exceptional creation is the three-in-one Loma stool which can serve as two storage containers, two stools or a side table when put together. Presented as two material iterations, the stool embodies the holistic theme of the project as it is the brainchild of woodcarvers, potters and painters from the desert region of the country.
Two additional models in the collection are subtle nods to Fendi heritage. The efo stool channels the house’s double F motif with a fusion of Panga Panga clay and wood. Both are independent structures that integrate perfectly.
The Maduo chair is inspired by an O’Lock jewel designed by Delfina for the Italian house. The construction of the chair pays homage to the original through geometry and joinery, highlighting the expert craftsmanship that combines Fendi’s luxurious aesthetics with functionality.
Other items in the range include the wavy, basket-woven Chichira cabinet and the Foro chair created from clay and Panga Panga wood. The largest work is the Gabi Gabi sculpture, with wooden drawers, made from hand-beaten galvanized sheets. The Gabinyana table lamp sports a similar albeit smaller shape to the first, while the Shiya seat is handcrafted from plywood and hardwood. Mabeo has also reinterpreted the signature Fendi Peekaboo bag, working with desert artisans to harness traditional tanning, processing and stitching techniques, and using metallic accents and hand-carved wood.
Accompanying the release of the collection, a limited edition visual publication details the process of assembling the range, including its journeys between artisans, encounters, schematic drawings of the objects and works in progress.
This story first appeared in the February issue of Prestige Singapore.