AGA LAB Top Ten – 6, 5

6. The members – new, life-long and everything in between

AGA LAB has been a fixture of Amsterdam graphic life for 60 years.  Formerly Amsterdam Grafisch Atelier, this new look, new space, new life lab, continues to attract artists and graphic practitioners from around the country. 

There were the ‘regulars’, some of whom have been with AGA LAB for more than 30 years, and know their presses more intimately than their bikes (a big deal in Holland).  There were people who hadn’t been in for more than 6 months and were just getting back into their groove.  There were designer/jobbers, in and out with a commission or project.  And there were new users, some also new to the processes themselves, still finding their place within the print community. 

With limited available technical support, it is the membership that supports the work taking place, so I would propose AGA LAB as not a Do-It-Yourself space, but a Do-It-Ourselves print lab.

5.  Dye garden

One of the unique features of AGA LAB is its commitment to researching natural dyes across a variety of media.  To support this practice, there is a beautiful planter garden in the communal square, and this is where we have lunch on sunny days, and beers on sunny evenings. 

I envy this open space. Sloterdijk is not exactly the city centre, but it is hardly the suburbs either, and to have a growing space which doubles as a research and social hub, is unique. Artists and practitioners from other studios in the compound also use this space, and have a care for it. The benches and tables have been crafted from reclaimed materials, and many of the studios have windows facing into the courtyard.