Pie Lab

        John Bielenberg was associated with many community-benefiting design projects due to his influence and position over Project M. Project M’s goal was to place groups of young designers in situations where they had to collaboratively and revolutionarily develop a project to benefit the area they found themselves in.

        Well, in Greensboro, Alabama, in 2009, Project M took action. While they couldn’t solve world hunger, the group of young designers decided on the first day of their adventure, they could share some pie with the community and spark a conversation with locals about possible innovations that could benefit the town. This decision happened to be on March 15th, pie day, so the members of the group called it Free Pie Day (Edge).

        While discussing with locals and discovering the fellowship that could take place over some pie, the Project M group discovered their project. They decided they were going to set up a sort of pie and coffee speakeasy to further connect the community of Greensboro. The establishment they created on a side road of downtown, “Pie Lab,” proved to be a success. Members of the community felt welcomed and excited by the atmosphere of such a place. There was live music and conversations of innovations. Pie Lab created its own contained renaissance (Project M). 

        Soon, Pie Lab was ready to move to a larger location in Greensboro. John Bielenberg guided his Project M team in designing the new restaurant as it was moving into a space that was a completely blank canvas. They designed movable walls and long tables for a dynamic community-based atmosphere. Of course, they didn’t forget the pies either. Soon the new location was a hotspot for both locals and visitors of Greensboro, Alabama. The restaurant design was a success and even placed in the top three of restaurant renovations in a contest that year! (Edge).


Works Cited

Edge, John T. “Pie + Design = Change.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 8 Oct. 2010, https://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/10/magazine/10pielab-t.html.

“Project M – Thinking Wrong since 2003.” Project M – Thinking Wrong since 2003, http://www.projectmlab.com/. 

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g30577-d1917343-Reviews-PieLab-Greensboro_Alabama.html#photos;aggregationId=101&albumid=101&filter=7&ff=127486013. (Featured Image)

Discussion — 3 Responses

  • Zoe Brittain 04/13/2022 on 4:52 PM

    Hi Anna! I’m from Winston-Salem which is about 30 minutes away from Greensboro and one time I went to Pie Lab. I really enjoyed reading the backstory behind Pie Lab, it was interesting to learn about how such a great restaurant came into existence. One of the interesting things I noticed about the restaurant when I went was that they had a huge table that could seat around 10-12 people, which makes sense now knowing that the restaurant was designed with the intention of creating a welcoming atmosphere for community members to get to know each other and connect.

  • Liza Wingfield 04/14/2022 on 11:27 AM

    Hi Anna. This was so cool to learn about! I really enjoyed reading this piece that you contributed to our class. A pie lab sounds so fun. You included really great detail mentioning that it could potentially be interpreted as a speakeasy. The original idea of this company to help with hunger was a great intention. Nevertheless, they developed their company into a fun loving experience of family and friends, even strangers, coming together to bond over fun of a bakery.

  • Eryn Szwarckop 04/15/2022 on 2:26 PM

    Hi Anna!
    I have actually read many things about Pie Lab in Greensboro, Alabama. Although I have never been, my Mom, who was born in Alabama, frequently went in her past years in visiting. She said nothing but great things about the space. She said that the environment brought a sense of comfort, and a sense of belonging. It is interesting to see how artists can use their design skills and creative minds to create something much more than a piece of art that can be sold. From this project alone, so many lives have been impacted in a positive way. I am sure pieces of art or a piece or graphic design can do the same, but a landmark project like the Pie Lab can reach more individuals, and have a continuous story.

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