Jaw-dropping Ajax and Fiorentina concept kits inspired by van Gogh and da Vinci

Residency Week 4 – Europe Pt. 1

Who’s ready for a big finish?

As we begin week 4 of Residency, we have a lot to look back on. 

Our concept kits journey began in Africa, as we took in wonderful concepts from clubs like Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates. Week 2 featured giants of football like Boca Juniors and River Plate, and most recently, we journeyed to Japan and China and Iran in Week 3.

Of course, there’s one continent Cenk has yet to cover, and so for the home straight of the series we’re focusing in on Europe. There are simply too many big clubs to cover in one article, so we’re splitting Week 4 into 3 parts.

Ajax City Edition concept kit

Cenk Unal Ajax concept kit

First up we have Dutch masters Ajax. Their 1991/93 away shirt featured a memorable teal and yellow colour scheme, and it’s a great choice of inspiration for Cenk’s City Edition concept here. This kit is so much more than a decent colour scheme though; this design is an artistic delight.

The patterns throughout nod to one of the Netherland’s most famous sons, the legendary Vincent van Gogh. It’s a (brush) stroke of genius in terms of a source of inspiration, as the changing patterns force you to stop for a minute and take it all in, like any good painting does. 

Tasteful details are found across the shirt, with classic Umbro diamond detailing on the shoulders and side and yellow trim on cuffs and collar. But it’s the pattern that takes centre stage (quite literally with a central-stripe effect comprised of several large brush strokes), and I could stare at it for ages.

Benfica City Edition concept kit

Cenk Unal Benfica concept kit

This was not what I was expecting, in a very good way.

Throughout Residency, Cenk has subverted my expectations multiple times with designs that go in a completely different direction to what you’d expect for a particular club. It’s a real strength of his, and this Benfica concept kit is a prime example. 

The half-and-half white and yellow look, which splits horizontally just below the chest, is an unusual aesthetic unlike most other shirts I’ve seen, let alone other Benfica shirts. The look mirrors the trams of the city of Lisbon, and it’s a striking direction to go down. 

There is further inspiration drawn from the city in the form of a subtle checkerboard pattern, referencing the floor of the iconic Torre de Belem. Trams and towers, it’s all here and it works.

Fiorentina City Edition concept kit

Cenk Unal Fiorentina concept kit

In this Fiorentina concept kit, we have elements of the Ajax and Benfica concept kits above.

Firstly, this design is heavily influenced by a major figure from history. For Ajax we had van Gogh, and for Fiorentina we have Florence’s most famous of sons: Leonardo da Vinci. To be more specific, we have a colour scheme that nods to the famous Vitruvian Man drawing; an inspired choice which gives the concept a wonderful golden glow. Like the Benfica kit, it’s an unexpected but welcome colour decision.

The da Vinci connection runs further with a pattern nodding to the statue in front of the Leonardo da Vinci museum, and whether Cenk intended it or not, it’s a pattern which feels completely at home with brand Kappa. Tell me this doesn’t remind you of Napoli’s recent geometric panther kits?

A subtle script of da Vinci’s name can also be found inside the neck, and we haven’t even had a chance to talk about the beautiful cuffs, the Kappa logo running down the side, the simplified Fiorentina crest, the “Florence” across the chest. There are more highlights than you can shake a stick at.

Sparta Prague City Edition concept kit

Cenk Unal Sparta Prague concept kit

Rounding off Week 4 is Sparta Prague. We’ve talked a lot about art today, and this shirt is very much a work of art in many ways.

A wonderful, marble-like wave texture is found throughout the kit, in tribute to the Vltava River which runs through the city of Prague. Speaking of Prague, the look of the kit also refers to the famous Dancing House in the city. In combination, these two sources of inspiration make for a gorgeous design, and all the applications and the city name across the front fold in perfectly to top things off.

If you like these 4 concept kits, we’ve got good news for you. We have EIGHT more kits to bring you over the rest of the week. Yep, 8 more bespoke designs for European clubs from the talented Cenk Ünal.

There are some huge names to come, and designs to match.

Follow us on Twitter and Insta to keep up to date with the designs as they drop.

Phil Delves

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