Renzo Piano has designed a limited-edition bag for Italian fashion house Max Mara modelled after his latest project: New York’s Whitney Museum, which opened to the public last week.
The Whitney Bag features a boxy, structured appearance with ribbing that mimics the museum’s facade — a central idea behind the tote’s design. “Our aim was to apply one of the most characteristic elements of the museum project — the facade – to the bag: hence the idea of the modular strips enveloping the exterior,” said Piano in an interview on Max Mara’s website. “We tried to maintain a simple, pure design,” Piano added, “working only on the details by applying a creative use of technology and placing the accent on respect for the materials.”
The calfskin, top-handle bag is offered in black, bordeaux and tan, along with a collector’s edition in light-blue grey that refers to the metallic sheen of the museum facade. Only 250 collector’s bags are available. Metal components are reminiscent of the stanchions securing the building’s tension cables. The interior is lined with red suede and stamped with “Designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop.”
Piano’s studio worked closely with Max Mara during the design process, the architect said, noting that this was his first time creating a handbag prototype. “This is our first such experience, and I believe it will remain the only one,” he said. The architect said profits from the sale of the purse will be donated to the Renzo Piano Foundation, to finance its cultural and educational projects. Founded in 2004, the Genoa-based nonprofit organisation aims to promote research activities.