Incipit Lab is our Supplier Of The Week, 18 – 24 April 2016.
Incipit are a collective, or ‘Lab’, based in Milan, who work with and support emerging designers to bring their products to market, as well as further developing and adding value to the notorious Made in Italy label.
We spoke with one of the founders, Marta Bernstein, to find out more.
Can you tell us how Incipit Lab started?
Incipit was started in Milan in late 2013 by myself, Marta Bernstein, and Roberto Hoz with the aim of nurturing and supporting young and promising creative talents in the design field. Conceived as a contemporary workshop, inspired by those of the Italian Renaissance, Incipit is a training path: our goal is to turn young designers’ ideas into high quality objects and accessories, that combine the liveliness of contemporary experimentation with the value and tradition of the Italian know-how.
The first collection was launched during Milan Design Week 2014 and we have been adding new and interesting project to the collection ever since.
How do you find and select the exciting, new designers to work with?
We either scout for new collaborations during international furniture and design fairs and through the web, or the designers themselves come to us with a portfolio of projects or a specific idea they have designed especially for us. We get in contact with many designers but we prefer to work with the ones that share our sensibility and have a similar approach to design.
We try to support designers especially in the engineering, marketing and salability of products. The path from idea to product and from product to market is very hard: at some point creativity has to be driven in the right direction and this is the point where we usually intervene to help.
You introduced the Elmetta lamp at Milan this past week – can you tell us more about this design?
Elmetta is the little sister of Elma, a floor lamp designed to create indirect and ambient light. Tommaso Caldera, the designer, has been collaborating with us since the very beginning. We introduced Elma a year ago and since it got a great interest we decided to ask the designer to create a smaller version, more suitable for every home environment. Elmetta is a decorative, easily portable lamp, made of two main elements, a metal diffuser and a wood handle. The lamp shows up in different looks: two vintage and refined ones (olive green and mustard versions), two neutral ones (black or white), two pop looks (red or blue).
Made in Italy is a strong part of your brand and community. How do you support and add value to this point?
We tend to rely, as a starting point, on the traditional materials and processes of Italian manufacturers. As the first Incipit collection was being developed, we progressively realised the importance of restoring the bonds with certain local traditions and, at the same time, connecting these experiences with young designers’ talent. Our aim is to bring together two worlds that normally do not talk, reconnecting the past with the present.
For us the concept of Made in Italy does not only mean that all the artisans and suppliers working with us are based in Italy. Having an “Italian approach” to the product implies knowledge and understanding of the appropriate materials and productions for each project.
Incipit’s identity, beside being made in Italy, includes a certain sensitivity to materials and colours, and a “warm”, simple, yet not too minimal aesthetic appearance. With our collection we want to add a warmer Mediterranean feeling to contemporary design.
What has been your highlight of Milan Design Week this year?
Being from Milan, we love that the city gets a week of the best designers and exhibitions every year, and we love to walk around and discover new places and interesting shows in historic palaces. This year we collaborated with different stylists, so our products showed up in many different locations in the city and at the fair.
Every year is a discovery, this is why we prefer to exhibit in the city: if you haven’t been here it’s really difficult to describe the vibe Milan has. This is our third Design Week but we never tire of it: we love to engage and chat with other design enthusiasts, with journalists, with colleagues. We got an amazing response on the new lamp Agata thanks to the many people who took the effort and visited us.