Skip to main content

Mad Lab’s Utopia Collection Reimagines Renaissance Architecture as Handsome Home Decor

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Everyone knows that a big part of Italy’s charm is the beautiful Renaissance architecture. The 15th century was all about striving for perfection in all aspects of life, which in turn would create the “perfect city.” Renaissance architecture achieved this perceived perfection by looking back to the Greek and Roman times and incorporating symmetry, math, proportion, and order. The results were visually appealing, ornate buildings (like St. Peter’s Basilica). It’s this idea of architectural perfection that influenced a new line of housewares from Mad Lab.

The Utopia Collection is set of serving pieces disguised as a scaled-down city. Consisting of three jars, two trays, a serving platter, and a fruit bowl, the line is a modern day interpretation of the Renaissance style. The pieces are made from carefully carved wood and showcase architectural shapes important to the style of the time, including the arch and spire. The three jars take on iconic Renaissance building shapes, the serving trays and platter represent classic Italian courtyards, and the fruit bowl is a reimagining of the palazzo.  

The Utopia Collection was designed by Antonio Serrano, a Madrid-based artist and founder of Mad Lab known for his minimalist pieces. From art installations to furniture to home decor, Serrano breaks objects down into their most basic form and uses pops of color to highlight the beauty of this simplicity. In this way, his pieces capture the essence of what makes architecture so visually appealing while also showcasing raw materials, like the maple, cedar, and ebony wood used for the Utopia collection.

While it may seem that the basic forms of the Utopia Collection aren’t in line with the ornateness of the Renaissance architecture, the pieces do reflect the ideals of that time. The Renaissance sprang from a desire for perfection. In terms of architecture, the arch was an essential part of achieving this. It allowed for visual symmetry, taller buildings, and grander doorways. By focusing on this key element, Serrano shows that perfection can be found when you take away the decoration and seek out simple forms. The pieces in the Utopia Collection are not just an homage to Renaissance architecture, they are a metaphor for life – living more simply often leads to a more fulfilled life.

Bet you never thought there would be a philosophical lesson hidden in your fruit bowl.

Created to be showcased at the Madrid Design Festival, which took place in February, the Utopia Collection will soon be available for sale to the general public.

Speaking of the Renaissance, maybe you should consider becoming a Renaissance man?

Editors' Recommendations

Kelsey Machado
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kelsey is a professional interior designer with over a decade of experience in the design field. With a passion for…
Ain’t That American: 7 Great Home Decor Brands Based in the U.S.
Dutch Crafters

Following the popularity of companies like Etsy and events like Small Business Saturday, the “shop local” trend is catching on. More and more people are seeking out handmade products for their home or searching for U.S.-based companies to support. We've compiled some of our favorite home goods being made right in our own backyard.
Related Guides

Best Furniture Brands
Men's Apartment Essentials

Read more
How to Cultivate Industrial Style in Your Own Home

Urban Industrial design is unique in comparison to other home styles. Instead of manifesting from an architectural movement, this gritty look came from a lifestyle choice of artists and musicians. Forgoing traditional housing for makeshift live-work spaces inside of abandoned warehouses and factories, artists created this thrown-together look of street finds, thrift store purchases, and pieces made out of whatever happened to be laying around.

In the last decade, industrial has gone from a style of necessity to a trendy, cultivated look that meshes disparate styles inside of brick-walled lofts.
Principles of Urban Industrial Design

Read more
How To Cultivate a Minimalist Style in Your Own Home
minimalism home style guide minimalist 2

If your ideal home is a relaxing space with bright white walls, massive windows, and crisp, clean lines, minimalism may be the style that best suits you. With little ornamentation, the idea behind minimalism is to create a calm, uncluttered space that lets you unwind after a hectic day and reconnect with nature while enjoying the finer things in life. Read on to learn how to cultivate a stylishly simple minimalist home.
Minimalism first began in the 1960s as an extension of the midcentury modern style. Midcentury modern architects and designers took the idea of reduced ornamentation and simple lines in both furnishings and architecture to its extreme. While midcentury modern saw hints of influence from Japanese aesthetics, minimalism went even further, fully embracing the philosophy that simplicity is the ultimate way to connect with nature.

Contemporary minimalism has seen a shift toward all-white structures dotted with deep black accents or incorporating natural elements like wood and stone. Silicon Valley has embraced tech-centric minimalism with crisp white interiors, white furnishings, and even white electronics designed to be a blank slate that lets creativity blossom.

Read more