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Published by Sugar & Cream, Friday 05 May 2023

Images courtesy of LABÒ

Curated by Design Blender and Alisée Matta

From 17 to 20 April 2023, the creations of over forty designers, companies and international art galleries will be on display in an industrial setting with a strong expressive power. LABÒ  is the new cultural project promoted by the Rodolfo Ferrari Foundation within the SPA  – Società Prodotti Antibiotici –  building in via Biella 6 in Milan.

Elsa Lemarignier

In synergy with the essence of the place, called to research in the medical field since its foundation in 1947, LABÒ is a laboratory that expresses itself in its true essence: an experimentation process that starts from an idea or a concept to become a product or an artwork.

The workshop is the distinctive theme of the project: the physical space in which visitors will be welcomed along the exhibition path, and the intangible space of a creative investigation that materializes in the design editions presented. LABÒ  was born from the will of Alisée Matta, president of SPA and of the Rodolfo Ferrari Foundation, with the aim of making expressions of science, culture and art coexist in the same historic industrial building.

Francois Leblanc Di Cicilia

As stated in the manifesto of the Rodolfo Ferrari Foundation, in fact, “scientific and artistic research use different methods and languages, but share the same desire: to make the invisible visible. On the one hand, there is the scientific method that is made of rigour, of reproducible and certain processes; on the other hand, the artistic method, which works with visual associations, experiments in a free way, measuring itself with the indeterminate, with events not necessarily rational. The two researches, apparently so distant, have one element in common: intuition. It opens to change, moves sensitivity and consciousness”.

The curatorship of the project has been entrusted, thanks to their long experience in the field of design consulting, to The Design Blender –  Elsa Lemarignier and François Leblanc di Cicilia – and Alisée Matta, with the aim of promoting creativity and research design of international firms.

“The otherness of forms and the sensations transmitted by this exceptional place were the main inspiration of this project. Research becomes a source of creation in a path of innovation between yesterday and tomorrow, between art and know-how, in which the designer is at the centre of the process”, say the curators Elsa Lemarignier and François Leblanc di Cicilia.

Presented by Melandas Indonesia

After overcoming the “time” capsule effect arising from the architecture of the place, the visitor will be quickly captured by the expressive power of the spaces: four buildings spread out like a small modernist village, isolated from the chaos of the city. The exhibition opens in the Foundation’s laboratories with the exhibition called Studio of Colors, conceived by Lyne Cohen-Solal and Marco de Rivera, which investigates the theme of colour through the production of fifteen designers and artisans.

In the spaces that have hosted cutting-edge pharmaceutical research while preserving the instruments of the time, research on the processes of processing raw materials with a view to eco-responsibility and energy use will be shown. Furniture, glass, jewellery and everyday objects show how colour is the result of a creative process, excellent know-how and, above all, passion.

Relax, a place originally intended for the company’s employees’ recreational club and for the storage of raw materials, and Elettrico, an area that was used in the past for pharmaceutical production, will welcome a selection that includes premium and collectible designs, featuring limited editions and unique pieces.

The boundary between design and art is shown in more detail within Elettrico, with an exhibition dedicated to the design works of the surrealist artist Roberto Matta. The creative process, from the concept to the real making of a piece of furniture, is told by connecting the drawings and prototypes of Matta and the reissues designed by Paradisoterrestre.

Town Hall concludes the tour, which is an environment originally used as a company warehouse and, on the occasion of the exhibition, an ample space dedicated to collectible design that sees the presence of companies specialised in the conception and production of furniture and accessories. A food and beverage area will be set up by, partner of the exhibition, which in its truck will provide plant-based sandwiches and courses inside its truck, with a focus on more sustainable food.

Through an alternation of furnishing collections, artefacts and works of art, LABÒ investigates the know-how of international designers, artists and craftsmen, who recount a historical period of fifty years, up to the contemporary times, with a selection of emerging talents.

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