Creativity is unchained in the narrow streets of historic Bologna. Window displays on the corner where Via Marsala gives way to Piazza San Martino lure anyone with an eye for something a little extra-ordinary: the interiors reveal a store-cum-gallery-cum-workshop packed with design novelties and original artworks. Lab Store is all about experimenting. With design and craft techniques, with recycled and organic materials, with environmental and social sustainability, but also with state-of-the-art technology to create prototypes. Lab Store is, in fact, an offshoot of L.UN.A – Libera Università delle Arti, a showcase of some of the things they do and care about at this prestigious school of design, architecture, communications and marketing located just on the other side of Piazza Maggiore, in Via Massimo d’Azeglio.
So doing the R&D and flaunting their stuff at Lab Store are L.UN.A teaching staff and students, emerging and established designers, and even companies and institutions interested, one way or another, in innovating. What you or I might find there are highly original, one-off and eco-friendly pieces of clothing (the hand-crafted garments by Lavgon are irresistable…), shoes, bags and other accessories, jewellery, ceramics, amazing furniture and lighting solutions – and various other arts and crafts too diverse to list. Much is for sale, some are prototypes on display. And there’s usually a themed exhibition too, like the current show of stunning artwork by people with disabilities working together in the Castello social coop near Milan. But check dates and times for a hands-on experience too, because Lab Store does demonstrations, workshops and courses around advanced production techniques such as laser cutting and 3D printing.