Renzo Piano designs handbag to match new Whitney Museum
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Renzo Piano designs handbag to match new Whitney Museum

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 (+ slideshow).

The Whitney bag by Renzo Piano

The Whitney Bag features a boxy, structured appearance with ribbing that mimics the museum's facade — a central idea behind the tote's design.

The Whitney bag by Renzo Piano

"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.

The Whitney bag by Renzo Piano

"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 Whitney bag by Renzo Piano

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.

The Whitney bag by Renzo Piano

Metal components are reminiscent of the stanchions securing the building's tension cables.

The Whitney bag by Renzo Piano

The interior is lined with red suede and stamped with "Designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop."

The Whitney bag by Renzo Piano

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 Whitney bag by Renzo Piano

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.

The Whitney bag by Renzo Piano