New Design Consultancy & Showroom Opens in Over-the-Rhine

Aaron Conway

Design Lab, a new design showroom in Over-the-Rhine, is now open to the public.  Co-owned by Barbara Neyer and Renan Menninger, this lifestyle lab celebrates mindfully-crafted, people-centric furniture, lighting, and home objects from internationally-renowned designers and makers.  In addition to its retail component, Design Lab offers both residential and commercial design services to the surrounding—and far-reaching—community. 

The showroom, open from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, is located on the corner of 14th and Elm Street, occupying the ground floor retail space adjacent to Music Hall. Design Lab embraces a truly comprehensive, approachable design process rooted in hospitality, collaboration, and exploration.  Employing the art of discovery as design curators, Neyer and Menninger often travel to collect beautiful objects for the showroom in a continually evolving effort to show new collections and thus invigorate Cincinnati’s inspired cultural voice. The space currently boasts pieces from Moroso, Moooi, Bocci, Ligne Roset, Tom Dixon, Classion, Gubi, Meridiani, Fritz Hansen, Howe, Muuto, Vondom, Tacchini, Porcelanosa, Golran, Nanamarquina, and Fem Home, among other selective lines. 

Although Design Lab celebrates design-driven furnishings, guests are welcomed to experience Design Lab’s refined-but-playful lifestyle vision for themselves. The commercial-grade kitchen and entertaining space provides an ideal platform to connect forward-thinkers and make use of the 2,000 square-foot showroom after traditional hours. 

The key to straddling these inherent juxtapositions (of sophistication and simplicity, design and hospitality, residential and contract design) is found within the lifeblood of Design Lab itself: Neyer and Menninger’s partnership.  With differing backgrounds and expertise, the two often collaborate on various projects, including that of crafting a new business, bringing their complimentary skills together to holistically develop contemporary environments that are both comfortable and functional. 

Neyer worked at Voltage from 2001-2015, starting out in the accounting and marketing department and transitioning to the sales and design side of the business. At the end of her extended 15 year tenure, Neyer led the commercial/contract sales team and consulted in the strategic planning of the business. Neyer also managed partnerships with furniture manufacturers both nationally and internationally, and grew relationships and sales with design and architecture firms including Gensler Architecture and FRCH Design Worldwide. Prior to her career in design, Neyer worked for Aventis Pharmaceuticals as a quality assurance associate - figuratively putting the “lab” in Design Lab. 

Menninger is best known for her work as principal of RM Interiors, specializing in contemporary residential projects for discerning clientele.  Prior to her career in Cincinnati, Menninger worked at Harrod’s in London (2001-2003), serving clients in the design department within the luxury retail department store. Her sharp eye for clean, contemporary design and strong relationships with artisans and product manufacturers support her expertise: creating warm, human-scaled spaces in any environment. 

Design Lab’s first nationally recognized project was a mobile hospitality experience for FWC Sports with NASCAR that served VIP customers at the 2016 Daytona 500 in February. The triple-wide experiential marketing vehicle featured a luxuriously restrained interior with sofas, large screen TV’s, and a full-service bar. 

Design Lab is located at 1401 Elm St. Cincinnati OH, 45202, (513) 620-7299.