ART BY ARTISANS – 100% Made in Italy
Interactive surface design since 1999
B.lab is a multicultural, multidiscipline design laboratory which researches, develops and manufactures alternative architectural materials. Blab designs are driven by the desire to break the ordinary static aspect of our furnished environments. Everything that is natural is alive and in is continuous transformation and evolution. A search for harmony between the controllable and the existing is a goal that gives life to every project, originating from the natural cues that attract human senses every day. The resources and the language used come in part from consolidated industrial production technologies, but they are especially inspired by nature’s constant flow of transformations, able to continually generate new inspirations for research on objects and materials, and on their capacity of interaction with the person. The key words to BLAB design is Science of transformation. Why can’t a designer create products which are capable of Living in time? B.lab design is thus seen as alive, in continual evolution. How we love immersing our hands in sand, or caressing the waves of the sea; so design must create objects that attract our curiosity and resemble the elements that belong to us. This is the challenge which opens new roads to follow, some easy and repetitive, other much more ambitious.
A Brief History
The artisanal workshop “B.Lab Italia” began in 1999 from a meeting between the two architects Gianfranco Barban and Gregg Brodarick. The two met through a common architectural project; from this first encounter, they stayed in contact, while the idea of a larger project began to take form, based on their shared willingness to study new forms of design. This is how the workshop “B.Lab” was born, quickly becoming a space of great creativity open to international collaborations. The first project executed was the line of interactive surfaces “B.Surfaces,” where liquid colors transform themselves with extraordinary visual effects, and with the innovative “Impact,” material that is obtained with the controlled explosion of crystal glass. Then followed the “Teckell Collection” the football table line designed by the Adriano brothers.
The name “B.lab” was created by the two partners based on very specific criteria. “B” was chosen to avoid creating a hierarchy; in contrast to the woodworking studio “Barban,” it was decided not to identify the business with a last name, thus indicating openness to any idea and collaboration. “Lab” indicates primarily the material laboratory, where solutions and new experiments are researched, not only reasoning in terms of the project but seeking the concrete realization of ideas. They attempt to combine innovative materials and old flavors in search of new technologies; the amalgam of these contributions, interpreted in an original manner, frequently triggers a unique project.
B.lab thus began an environment where situations and competence are mixed, without hierarchies or formalities. In the same way the designers, joiners, lathe operators, and anyone who works with one of the B.Lab projects interacts with the others in search of new solutions and in overcoming occasional barriers. The importance of going beyond the design phase sometimes generates unforeseeable situations that can indicate new paths to travel in the development of the products. The great strength of this way of doing things is the active involvement of various providers (“colleagues”) who become an active part, and often and willingly, with their passion and direct experience, help actively in the design phase.