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Michele Caleffi

Co-founder and Head of Design (associate at Wow!Labs)

As Head of Design for PLACE, Michele conceives the physical environments of the labs and oversees prototyping activities and product design. He created the pop-up Labkit which travels from space to space, recreating the PLACE ‘home’ in each venue. He is also part of the strategic direction of the project as associate of Wow!Labs.

Inventing solutions to make spaces more conducive to innovation, collaboration and well-being has been the common thread spanning Michele’s work across different sectors and countries in the last 15 years.

One of his passions has been to study the conditions in which a space enables innovation for its users. The spaces he creates always strike to achieve a balance between homeliness (however it translates in the culture he is working in) and disruption, as two central ingredients which in his experience create empowerment and proactivity for users.

He has collaborated widely and led interdisciplinary teams including architects, designers, engineers and visual artists. His holistic approach to built environment systems (energy, air, data, water) and his extensive experience of combining technology, ecology and experimentation have led him to both lead projects from A to Z and to complement existing teams.

Through Wow!Labs, an innovation and design agency he co-founded in 2013, Michele has collaborated across several sectors to create innovative spaces, including with companies such as Steelcase, public actors such as the City of Paris and the US State Department, and promoters and architects such as Brémond and AMNR.

An entrepreneur at heart, he was also involved in such entrepreneurial adventures as the first Impact Hub in London, a coworking space dedicated to social impact which has since developed worldwide, and the LearningHouse, an incubator in London pioneering new approaches to learning through a shared space.

Originally from Italy, Michele was trained in Industrial Electrics and Electronics in Italy, in Ecology at the University of London, and he received his Masters in Architecture: Advanced Environmental and Energy Studies at the Centre for Alternative Technologies in Wales.

His research includes R&D on new technologies and processes applied to industry, agriculture and health through the use of ozone, for Annozero in Parma, Italy, and technologies for rural innovation and rediscovery of neglected technologies with high efficiency, namely with the Centre for Science for Villages, in Wardha, India.

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