CAPANNUCCIA, Italy — Beauty can only lead to beauty. This is according to Serge Brunschwig, chairman and CEO of Fendi who, with Antoine Arnault, head of image and environment at parent company LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, unveiled the sprawling new factory on Wednesday. of the brand in Tuscany, Italy.
Indeed, the site is magnificent, perfectly nestled in the countryside of the region and designed with the aim of allowing its artisans and employees to benefit from the natural sunlight and the impressive landscape outside.
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The factory, which produces some of Fendi’s most emblematic bags, from the Baguette to the Peekaboo, and small leather goods, is inserted in the landscape where there is an abandoned oven, the Fornace Brunelleschi.
Based in Capannuccia, Bagno a Ripoli, a 30-minute drive from Florence, it telegraphs Fendi’s ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability and social responsibility, offering improved efficiency and a beautiful location to work. “Natural light is so important to the eyesight of artisans, who day after day carefully and meticulously cut, sew and create the products,” said Silvia Venturini Fendi, Artistic Director of Fendi Accessories and Men’s Fashion.
“At LVMH level, it is always a pleasure to work with Fendi and its teams because they have the best mindset in terms of sustainable development, they always see new objectives as opportunities, not as constraints”, said Arnault in a joint interview with Brunschwig. . “They bring us new ideas; they are always on top of what is being done by competitors also in other sectors and they challenge us and that is great.
Arnault said that even though Fendi does not share the same point of view on certain subjects with Stella McCartney, also under the aegis of LVMH, they agree “on this push for exemplarity and on the questions of sustainability. It’s obvious to them, while sometimes other teams need to be a little more convinced. Of course, we cannot deny that we are manufacturers, but we must be responsible.
The building is developed on a single main level, housing all functions, from the production of prototypes and laboratories to offices and services, with huge bay windows, a common element in each area. There is a basement for parking and a first floor with the canteen directly overlooking the roof garden.
The complex, which produces approximately 200,000 pieces per year, is surrounded by seven hectares of greenery, covering an area of 324,000 square feet.
An olive grove of 700 trees is visible in all areas of the park, allowing the production of oil from the factory itself up to 900 liters per year.
Inside the building, nine glazed courtyards illuminate the interior spaces. Each courtyard is characterized by species of Mediterranean scrub trees – fig, holm oak, pomegranate, osmanthus, acacia, oak and strawberry tree, among others.
“We are super happy and proud; we think this is the start of a new era,” a beaming Brunschwig said.
Marco de Vincenzo, who was named Etro’s creative director last May but continues to work on accessories as a consultant at Fendi and attended the factory’s official opening with regional dignitaries, agreed that “a place must be stimulating to foster creativity. Beauty must be generated by something that resembles it. A factory is a magical place, I chose this profession after seeing the production of handbags, it has completely changed my perspective. If only people knew what’s behind a product…”
Leonardo Simonti, global director of architecture Fendi, said the idea from the start was “to integrate the factory perfectly into the hills”, and to this end, the exterior walls are made with a natural mixture of clay and concrete in an earthy tone, reflecting the nuances of the Tuscan hillside. Fendi added 64,000 aromatic trees and shrubs to the location.
Inside, several walls are embellished with terracotta tiles with the double F graphic logo made by hand. Terracotta is also a reference to the pre-existing oven. A large spiral staircase connects the main ground floor to the upper floor of the canteen.
Desks and production furniture are in neutral shades of white, but Fendi-branded furniture dots some areas.
In addition, Fendi has created a public park nearby, opposite a kindergarten, with play areas and wide benches.
The initial concept of the factory was developed by the Milanese architecture firm Piuarch and was later advanced and coordinated by Fendi’s architecture department.
Brunschwig was pleased that the project was completed in two years, as planned, and created 350 new jobs, which will double over the next five years. In addition to helping Fendi increase its control over the pipeline, the executive stressed that the factory is part of an initiative to train new generations of artisans and communicate to future generations that it can be “a work for life”, which can provide much satisfaction.
“It’s important to talk about the value of being an artisan, not everything can be virtual and immaterial,” Venturini Fendi said, explaining that the company’s artisans are each capable of creating an entire bag, not just one. part of it, “otherwise the work can be very repetitive, whereas with us it’s very dynamic and we are proud to see the accessory take shape from start to finish. Fendi supports the “Adopt a school” project. in Scandicci for bags and in Fermo for shoes to train new artisans.
The factory is expected to be the first Fendi factory to achieve the prestigious LEED Platinum certification by 2023.
Brunschwig said the factory represents a milestone in Fendi’s work on biodiversity, circularity and eco-design. “We’re moving forward project by project, it’s not perfect 360 degrees. We still use energy but have added solar panels and stored rainwater for extra capacity. We do our best because we don’t believe in doing nothing, everything we do is improvement. We have done very important work with LVMH and we are motivating everyone because we have clear objectives.
Arnault agreed that “giant steps in this direction cannot happen, we have an agile organization but it cannot be shaken. You can’t rock a big ship too abruptly, but every day we take small steps in the right direction, with ambitious, long-term goals. Everyone understands how important sustainability is. It can’t just be a footnote on your website; it really is a priority for customers, partners and the people we work with. Our future depends on it.”
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