Testing ground: Gucci unveils its ArtLab, a centre for craftsmanship and sustainability

Testing ground: Gucci unveils its ArtLab, a centre for craftsmanship and sustainability

From the textured tiger head closure of the Gucci Dionysus bag, to the shearling lined inner of its slip-on Horsebit loafers, the brand’s Alessandro Michele-designed accessories are staple of its recent revenue success. In 2017, Gucci’s leather goods and shoes accounted for over 70% of its annual revenue. Now, in a bid to excel and innovate in this area, the Italian brand has unveiled its ArtLab in Casellina, a new 37,000 sq m facility, which for the first time in the luxury industry, will act as a centre for the production of both leather goods and shoes.

Gucci has unveiled its 37,000 sq m ArtLab in Casellina, Italy

The revolutionary new space, which houses 800 employees, is enclosed within a kaleidoscopic facade, boasting large scale paintings by Gucci’s roster of illustrators and artists, like Unskilled Worker, Ignasi Monreal, Angelica Hicks and Coco Capitan. Inside, in a space populated with Gucci Décor objects, and featuring a large staircase in a shade of bold red, the ArtLab acts as a space for in-house prototyping and sampling, populated with R&D laboratories, a bamboo room dedicated to its leather goods, test labs with climate chambers and an internal shoe lasting department.

Located on the outskirts of Florence, the ArtLab is situated near the historical HQ of the brand. It emphasises Michele’s bid to reeducate customers regarding the geographical heritage of the luxury house. In January this year, the label opened the Gucci Garden in the city’s Palazzo della Mercanzia. The six room, multi-floor space featured symbols of the brand’s past, tracing its evolution from  a luggage maker, founded in 1921. In Michele’s latest project, the Florentine history of Gucci has bene further gilded with a glimmer of its innovative, artisan-focused and experimental future.

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