Bottega Veneta opens a school for artisanal craft

Bottega Veneta’s Accademia Labor et Ingenium – the Academy of Craft and Creativity – has been founded to continue the house’s commitment to preserving traditional technique

Bottega Veneta craft bag
A still from Bottega Veneta’s ‘Craft in Motion’ film
(Image credit: Courtesy of Bottega Veneta)

Extraordinary feats of leatherwork and craft have defined creative director Matthieu Blazy’s tenure at Bottega Veneta so far, facets of his collections made possible by the Italian house’s atelier and craftspeople (originally, ‘bottega’ referred to a shop with a small artisanal workshop in the back). 

In news released today, Bottega Veneta – which was founded in 1966 with the development of a leather weaving design known as ‘intrecciato’ – deepens its longtime association with craft with the opening of the Accademia Labor et Ingenium. Based between the house’s atelier in Montebello Vicentino and a dedicated space in nearby Povolaro Dueville, Bottega Veneta’s manufacturing site, the name translates to ‘Academy of Craft and Creativity’. Both locations are in Veneto, a region in the north-east of Italy where the house was founded.

Bottega Veneta introduces Accademia Labor et Ingenium

Bottega Veneta academy

One of the Accademia Labor et Ingenium’s workshops

(Image credit: Courtesy of Bottega Veneta)

The school will take on 50 students a year, with a guarantee of employment from the house on completion of the program. Lessons will be led by five Bottega Veneta master artisans, while the academy will also provide tutorship for existing employees in upcycling and reskilling, as well as uniting with local partners in a celebration of the wider made-in-Italy crafts of the region. This includes a ‘masterclass’ with Università Iuav di Venezia titled ‘The Artisanal Creative Process: Training Course in Bag Design & Product Development’, which begins today (16 October 2023). Bottega Veneta hopes that such exchanges will ensure craft know-how is passed between generations.

’As a young apprentice at Bottega Veneta, I learned from the expertise, passion, and precision of more experienced artisans,’ said Ruggero Negretto, one of Bottega Veneta’s longest-serving employees and part of the master artisan teaching collective. ‘It’s a great honour and responsibility to pass on this unique knowledge to a new generation and continue the great tradition of the bottega in all its community, creativity, and cultural heritage.’

Bottega Veneta academy

Students will be taught leatherwork and craft techniques by master artisans of the house

(Image credit: Courtesy of Bottega Veneta)

’Accademia Labor et Ingenium is a key strategic pillar to preserve Bottega Veneta’s unique savoir-faire,’ adds Bottega Veneta CEO, Leo Rongone. ‘Exceptional craft and creativity are essential to our brand and to the heritage of our home region in Veneto. With the Accademia, we take the collective ethos at the heart of Bottega Veneta to a new level, building on our rich history of skill-sharing and innovation to nurture the artisans of the future.’

Fashion Features Editor

Jack Moss is the Fashion Features Editor at Wallpaper*, joining the team in 2022. Having previously been the digital features editor at AnOther and digital editor at 10 and 10 Men magazines, he has also contributed to titles including i-D, Dazed, 10 Magazine, Mr Porter’s The Journal and more, while also featuring in Dazed: 32 Years Confused: The Covers, published by Rizzoli. He is particularly interested in the moments when fashion intersects with other creative disciplines – notably art and design – as well as championing a new generation of international talent and reporting from international fashion weeks. Across his career, he has interviewed the fashion industry’s leading figures, including Rick Owens, Pieter Mulier, Jonathan Anderson, Grace Wales Bonner, Christian Lacroix, Kate Moss and Manolo Blahnik.