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Milan 2023: LABÒ, the laboratory of design and art

On the occasion of Milan Design Week, the LABÒ project, dedicated to research on design and art, exhibited the work of 40 professionals: a very successful first edition, especially for the synergies proposed on experimentation as a source of inspiration.

It’s a fact, it’s far, but the trip was well worth it: it’s in the Barona district, in the SPA building – Società Prodotti Antibiotici – that the creations of 40 designers, companies and international art galleries were exhibited in the LABÒ project. An event promoted by the Rodolfo Ferrari Foundation, under the commission of The Design Blender composed by Elsa Lemarignier and François Leblanc of Cicilia, and Alisée Matta, president of SPA and of the foundation.

A design laboratory


In full synergy with the place, until then dedicated to research in the medical field since its foundation in 1947, the LABÒ project is a laboratory of creative ideas and research: a process of experimentation that starts from an idea or a concept to become a product or a work of art. “The otherness of forms and the sensations transmitted by this exceptional place were the main sources of inspiration for this project. Research becomes a source of creation in a journey of innovation between yesterday and tomorrow, between art and know-how, where the designer is at the center of the process.” explained the curators Elsa Lemarignier and François Leblanc of Cicilia.

Claudio Rimaroli

A place of transmission and exhibitions


The LABÒ experience proposed to discover the work and the know-how of designers, art craftsmen, companies and art galleries. A series of successive exhibitions that revealed different fields of design. The visit opened with the “Studio of Colors” exhibition, which explored the theme of color through the work of fifteen designers and artisans, and then, in the spaces that previously housed pharmaceutical research, research on the transformation of raw materials with a view to eco-responsibility and energy use. This included pieces of furniture, glass, jewelry and everyday objects. Around the research of materials or techniques, we discovered in particular the specific research of Caroline Besse on the color, laureate of the Great Prizes of Creation of the city of Paris, the experiments around the wood of Steven Leprizé, and the transfer of heliogravure technique of Marie Levoyet.

Jonathan Ausseresse, glassmaker, Labò © Elena Rosignoli

Further on, the Relax and Elettrico areas, originally intended for the company’s employees’ leisure club and the storage of raw materials and pharmaceutical production, now house a selection of high-end creations and collections, as well as limited editions and one-off pieces. Among the exhibitors, as a good example of the synergies between art and design, the publishing house ColAAb offered an interesting proposal of its work with contemporary artists, including Mounir Fatmi, Morgane Tschiember and Nicolas Momein.

Dechem, research on glass © Vojtech Veskrna
Marie Levoyet, rotogravure printer © DR
Labo project, ColAAb, Everybody gets lighter, Shibari bench, Morgane Tschiember creations © ND

L’Elettrico also presented an exhibition dedicated to the design work of the surrealist artist Roberto Matta. Finally, the visit ended with a space dedicated to the design of collection. Here, many companies specializing in the design and production of furniture and accessories were on display. There were also pieces recently acquired by the Mobilier National in its support for young creation. For this first edition, they were numerous to answer present. We can mention for example the presence of Carbone 14, Matière Grise, Samuel Accoceberry Studio, Reda Amalou, Sollen or Veronese.

Caroline Besse at Labo Project © DR
Aktis, new collection by Samuel Accoceberry for Veronese