The key to innovative style
Laboratorio Donà’s beautifully crafted handbags are a blend of artistic influence and distinct design
“I see a bag as a sculpture,” says Patrizia Donà, founder of luxury fashion studio Laboratorio Donà. “To me, it is art.”
A successor in the family tradition of glass-making, originating from the island of Murano in Venice, Patrizia has long been immersed in the world of artisanal design.
“I used to spend my summers helping to assemble the crystal parts of Venetian chandeliers,” Patrizia recalls. “I grew up surrounded by highly skilled artisans and my respect for traditional craftsmanship is ingrained. But at the same time, I wanted to create something new.”
This is the essence of Laboratorio Donà: reverence for time-honoured artistry spiked with bold innovation. “I use a lot of unconventional materials, as well as objects from the past that evoke nostalgia for lost industries,” says Patrizia. “The narrative quality of things has always played a major role in my work.”
The result is an intelligent concept bag that has been beautifully and meticulously designed. For her very first collection, Hommage a Remington, Patrizia was inspired by her fascination with the Remington typewriter: a beautifully aesthetic, mechanically complex machine dating from 1874, which she lovingly deconstructed and used elements of in her design.
Obsession with the detail in these old machines, and with typewriter keys in particular, soon became Patrizia’s trademark, which evolved into the three distinct lines of her Qwerty collection: Elemental, Unique and Limited.
The first comprises constructive steel parts that give the bag an architectonic appearance; the second celebrates the sculptural and narrative quality of design using recognisable parts of a typewriter such as the keys, levers and cylindrical platens; and the third is dedicated to avant-garde poet e. e. cummings (as he styled his name), who used the typewriter as an instrument to experiment with his work’s visual appearance and musical rhythms. (The bag, too, is poetry.)
Patrizia collaborates with various workshops to help realise her designs, including highly skilled leatherworkers who use traditional tanning and finishing techniques. The end result is a truly artisanal product, recognised for its original, timeless design and excellence in manufacturing.
“Our process combines tried and tested materials and techniques with a modern and up-to-date design approach,” concludes Patrizia. “The perfect synergy between industrial and handmade.”