Dis-cycling and Circular Creativity: Bootcamp with Sarah Coleman and FENDI

Four days of intensive experimentation at school, a visual artist from New York supporting the students, and luxury materials supplied by one of the world’s most renowned Italian fashion brands.

These are the three ingredients to the success of the project DIS-CYCLING. The seductive allure of creativity in sustainability, which brings together the mentorship of artist Sarah Coleman, the partnership with FENDI and Pardgroup, and the curiosity of Istituto Marangoni Firenze students and Alumni. In this article, the insider view of one of the participating students will sum up the different phases of the Bootcamp that recently took place at the School’s Via Tornabuoni venue.

Written by Giulia Piceni. Cover image: Sarah Coleman at DIS-CYCLING Bootcamp, Istituto Marangoni Firenze. Photo: Virginia Vannucci.


Among the mixed emotions that come with the beginning of every new adventure, the students from multiple courses1 at Istituto Marangoni Firenze walked inside the classroom on a sunny Tuesday morning, having no real clue of what would happen the following days.

The waste materials given by Fendi were there: little samples of precious and colourful leathers, soft pink and light blue lambskin, small metallic elements from bags, crystals from the Roman boutique’s windows and much more.
However, a textile in multiple colour variations caught the young creatives’ attention in the room: an interlaced motif with a white base, occasionally paired with orange, tan and black. The fabric consisted of contrasting leather threads woven to mimic the double F logo pattern.

That textile owned such a strong evocative power that it instantly became the highlight of the Bootcamp, appearing in almost every student’s creations.
The interlace can be now considered the real starting point of DIS-CYCLING.

The seductive allure of creativity in sustainability, the research towards the conceptual and material construction of a multi-sensory installation for the upcoming October event of the Journées Particulières,2 in the new Fendi factory in Capannuccia (FI).


With the exceptional support of school’s tutors and the I’M Mentor Sarah Coleman, the students were guided in discovering the materials and experimenting freely with them, unfolding all the inventiveness they could provide. Four days is not a long time, but it was enough to synchronise their drastically different approaches to the project, to find the flow and follow it.

The first day, the students received paper sheets and multicoloured markers; the first step was to awaken their inner child by drawing. As they physically traced ideas on a blank page, there were no more labels as students, mentors or tutors but just a small crowd of imaginative people sharing a common goal.
The deadline for producing both the physical and the digital side of the installation is in mid-September. By that time, students from the Bootcamp will need to create elements (such as crochet quilts, woven tapestry and patchworks) using the supplied materials – scraps from Fendi factories.

During the initial brainstorming process, the students explored the concept and investigated the materials’ possibilities in terms of malleability and use. Sarah Coleman provided critical advice: “You [students] should rethink the house [Fendi] codes such as fur and warm colours in a subconscious way, out of the logo”.

During the second day of Bootcamp, the school had the pleasure to host some people from the world of FENDI, such as Marco Trabassi, Worldwide Project Design and Pop-Up Manager, Séverine Pinault, Worldwide Supply Chain, Logistic & Sustainability Director, and Sofia Arena, Sustainability Operations Coordinator.

DIS-CYCLING Bootcamp guests Marco Trabassi, Bianca Viano and Asha Salim at Istituto Marangoni Firenze. Photos: Virginia Vannucci.

Having them come from Rome for an overview of what was going on at Istituto Marangoni Firenze surely created a lot of excitement and emotional strain among the students. The tension in the room was palpable and affected how people were working on the materials; at that moment, it seemed more than ever that nobody was working in the same direction.
But from chaos comes beauty, and on the third day, Vogue Italia contributor Asha Salim arrived at school to collect information for an article. By answering her questions, the students dug into the critical points of the project, and in doing so, they harmoniously found the answers they were looking for.

Salim’s invitation to rethink the whole process acted as a regulative force that rebalanced the roles within the group, allowing them to keep on creating.

“There was such a positive energy in the room, full of hope,” said Multimedia Arts student Francesco Agazio. “We realised for the first time that the project was feasible. The anxiety, pressure and responsibility became the engine for our work.”

After meeting Istituto Marangoni Firenze alumnae Chiara Muracciole and Léa Colombier, the plan seemed even more clear on the last day of the laboratory. The structure’s shapes and dimensions were defined while the work behind a video production was still underway.

The results of this upcycling process will have to cover a more than two-meter high hexagonal cocoon: the heart of the installation, which a third party company will construct. A nature-themed video accompanied by immersive sounds will be displayed on the ceiling inside the structure. The final aim of the whole installation is to give a relaxing feeling to the visitors.


Supported by passion, dedication, and a strong sense of responsibility that came with working with top-notch professionals, Istituto Marangoni Firenze students will work on every element of the final installation during the summer. They will do so autonomously from different places worldwide while still sharing their outcomes through online calls.

Sometimes the shortest experiences have the longest-lasting effects on people’s minds; looking at the students’ teary eyes during the last day of Bootcamp, this was indeed a life-changing experience for them. It wasn’t only a matter of having the privilege to collaborate with such an important brand and artist but something deeper and more personal.

Like the interlaced textile mentioned at the beginning of this article, different backgrounds, points of view, and ways of working and interpreting creativity came together, abstractly woven in one single work-in-progress installation. Thanks to this project, the multiple threads that each student represented got to show their uniqueness and skills during this condensed Bootcamp, a challenge that will forever enhance their wealth of experience.

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