What you can visit. What you can immortalise. What you can divulge. And what not. The rules of Gucci ArtLab are as interesting as the work that goes on in the Tuscan centre, “the link between the style office and production”, as CEO Massimo Rigucci calls it. Opened in 2018 in Scandicci, Gucci ArtLab employs 1,200 people in 37,000 square metres (an expansion plan has already been approved), for prototyping alone. “We produce research and innovation,” says Rigucci, “we are a centre of excellence for footwear and leather goods”.
The rules of Gucci ArtLab
The Tuscan centre opened its doors to Il Giornale. And it is immediately clear the level of discretion that applies in such a place. You cannot take photos, describe products and mention the surnames of the people being interviewed, reports the reporter. Yes to smartphones for voice memos, but always under surveillance. Especially when entering the area where the accessories for the fashion show to be held on September 23 are being produced. The brand applies just as much care when accompanying the reporter to the premises of the shoe factory: “We are the only shoe company to have one in-house,” boasts Rigucci.
The work of excellence
One of Gucci ArtLab’s “macro areas” is the style interface: “That is the place where the pattern-makers translate the dreams of Alessandro (Michele, ed.) and his team into reality, – explains the CEO-. When faced with the most outlandish requests, the answer is always: we try. They even have a transversal office for intermediate work such as patches, embroidery and silk-screen printing”. A fundamental game in the Gucci centre is played, ça va sans dire, by the materials. The reporter writes admiringly of “a kilometre-long corridor on the walls of which are countless rolls of leather of every type and colour”.
Between present and future
Equally fascinating is “the movable-walled archive where the materials of the last 30 years for making shoes, bags and small leather goods are collected and catalogued”. A value that acts as a bridge between present and past and is updated in the direction of sustainability. While an artisan works a white niloticus crocodile leather (“alone it is worth as much as a big motorbike”), Rigucci can claim: “In ArtLab we have a team of 18 people who dictate the guidelines of sustainability to all of Gucci’s production poles”.