The Bottega bag is perhaps the only one in the world that is signed by the way it is made. For, it’s iconic intrecciato technique, which means braided in English, is a distinctive method of weaving leather strips together to create a pattern that has become synonymous with the brand.
This, and many other creative techniques, will now be taught to eager learners at the Milanese brand’s school, Accademia Labor et Ingenium in the city. Based between Bottega’s atelier in Montebello Vicentino and a dedicated new space at the brand’s manufacturing site in Povolaro Dueville, the academy will serve as a permanent workshop where Bottega Veneta employees, new hires as well as external students can learn about the brand’s design and manufacturing processes from master artisans through training activities, workshops and courses.
The aim is to build on Bottega Veneta’s integral connection to the traditional “bottega” or “workshop”, where a collective of artisans honed their skills and passed on the knowledge from one generation to the next. The name is derived from the brand’s founding values, as seen in its original company crest, Labor et Ingenium, meaning ‘craft and creativity’.
The key highlight will be a comprehensive training programme for 50 students a year, with guaranteed employment at Bottega Veneta on completion of the course. In addition, Accademia Labor et Ingenium will also provide upskilling and re-skilling curricula for existing employees, as well as training collaborations with regional partners to promote the dynamism of the Veneto region and impart the Made in Italy heritage.
“This is a key strategic pillar to preserve the brand’s unique savoir-faire,” says CEO Leo Rongone, adding, “Exceptional craft and creativity are essential to Bottega Veneta and the heritage of our home region in Veneto. With the academy, we aim to build on our rich history of skill-sharing and innovation to nurture artisans of the future.”
The academy’s first external collaboration began on October 16, with a seven-week masterclass in partnership with Università Iuav di Venezia. The curriculum includes prototyping and production of different bag shapes and finishes, as well as the development of professional communication and relationship-building proficiencies. The masterclass is led by Ruggero Negretto, one of Bottega Veneta’s longest-serving craftsmen.
“As a young apprentice, I learned from the passion and precision of more experienced artisans,” he says, adding, “It’s, therefore, a great honour and responsibility to pass on this unique knowledge to a new generation and continue the great tradition of the bottega in all its community, creativity and cultural heritage.”