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LAB Miami Expands Into a Larger Wynwood Building

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In the short amount of time LAB Miami's been around, it's drawn quite a bit of attention -- and not just because it's housed in one of the trippiest buildings in Wynwood.

"Signed our lease in April and officially opened our doors in June of 2012," said Daniel Lafuente, cofounder of LAB.

LAB, which opened in June 2012, bills itself as "a community of entrepreneurs, artists, freelancers, startups, and change-makers who share space and ideas." It's is a place where one feels welcome immediately upon walking inside. So it's not surprising that within a month of opening its doors, LAB had already reached its membership capacity of co-workers in the building's 700 square foot space. But now, says cofounder Daniel Lafuente, the creative community's ideas and like-minded individuals need room to grow, so LAB has relocated and plans to welcome more LABRats (their endearing term for members) than ever before.

The new building, located at 400 NW 26th St., will have a larger event space for about 50 to 60 people in addition to classrooms that fit 20 students at a time.

"We've increased our membership capacity from 20 to 135," Lafuente said.

Though we'll miss the former location's eccentric exterior, the new one will display a giant neon sign that reads "LAB," while its interior will have three murals by artists Dillon Froelich and Fabian De la Flor. It's a stand-alone building with a parking lot and outdoor area, which will allow guests to enjoy the space fully. LABRats will settle into the new location the first week of February and event programming will soon follow.

The workspace is entirely refurbished with tables designed by Emmett Moore, whose work was recently exhibited at Locust Projects. Moore is also part of LAB's big family dynamic, having known Lafuente and the gang since high school. As soon as they heard he was back in Miami, they reached out almost immediately to work closely together on solutions for LAB's private offices and open work environment.

Lafuente says there's really no secret to LAB's success; it's just a place that gets out as much as it puts in. The people involved are there because they believe in LAB's mantra of "Love. Art. Business." Take member Joey Halegua, Lafuente points out. His project Gutter Films, a series of free cult and B-movies, garnered such a large following that LAB noticed and accommodated its events.

Halegua's revamped Gutter seires will have a proper home utilizing LAB's new event space, where a top of the line HD projector will debut films on a wall two or three times larger than the original location's. "I would not be doing it if they didn't give me the space. Just having those people there that have such brilliant minds with start ups and that I'm always bouncing ideas off them. Gutter Films and LAB are a symbiotic relationship and I wouldn't exist if they didn't," Halegua said.

Lafuente says everyone at LAB is working hard to get moved in and back to work on creative labors of love, including an official launch party with a tentative date for the first week of March.

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