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Manoteca, the “re-design” lab made in Bologna
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Manoteca is the artistic place where every day  brings lost items found throughout the city, picking them up from attics, building site and flea markets. Located in Bologna and launched in 2011, that’s the lab where the brilliant designer turns regular stuff into unexpected unique original design pieces, such as the mini-library with abat-jour and wheels which used to be a tricycle.

Elisa, how would you describe Manoteca? A design lab?

«That’s correct: design means creating a project, which basically involves everything around us. Each item or building designed by man is aimed at fulfilling a certain function to improve people’s life. Even embellishments have such purpose. I would say that Manoteca is actually a “re-design” lab».

Where do you find the items you turn into design pieces? How do you choose them?

«I constantly look for these items anywhere. It’s not about where I find them but the condition they’re in as well as any feature that makes them unique. It gets easier to spot the right objects after a while. I personally look for authentic pieces (with still the original coating, for instance) with no structural imperfections and no parasites. It sounds easy but it’s actually hard to find something with all these qualities».

Where do you find the items you turn into design pieces? How do you choose them?
«I constantly look for these items anywhere. It’s not about where I find them but the condition they’re in as well as any feature that makes them unique. It gets easier to spot the right objects after a while. I personally look for authentic pieces (with still the original coating, for instance) with no structural imperfections and no parasites. It sounds easy but it’s actually hard to find something with all these qualities».

Creativity and know-how are the key to bring new life to these items…

«Our skill can be used in many ways, we just have to choose what best suits our lifestyle and point of view. It’s actually quite easy as it’s the natural consequence of a consistent, coherent mind. I believe that turning old items into something precious is a positive action that makes people look at things from a different point of view, slow down and think about the value of things and the time someone else has dedicated to such items… it’s about history, our history. Moreover, it can lead to the reduction of garbage, as turning waste into something new would prevent us from throwing things away. ».

Which materials do you deal with?

«Mainly wood and iron, depending on the project».

Is everything handcrafted by you?

«Absolutely».

Which is one of your most satisfying items?

«Indoor tables are much appreciated and requested, however I personally love the Nuit de Noel».

Which is…?

«It’s the very first item I worked on. The result was stunning: it took me more than one month to get the “liquid effect” on the base and create the wave, but it was worthy ».

What’s you most recent project?

«It’s  and it’s made of chestnut XIX century doors. It’s just been sold and now it belongs to a home on Venice Beach...! By the end of the month I will also start fully decorating a wonderful eco-luxury hotel located on Tuscany’s hillside: it’s a challenging yet exciting project that will be completed by the end of the year. You can take a look at the ongoing work on this Facebook page: ()».

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Photo Courtesy: Elisa Cavani


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