Milan 2013: Zona Tortona and MOST

I’m stretching the boundaries of Zona Tortona slightly, to include MOST, which was just around the corner at Milan’s National Museum of Science and Technology, originally built in the 16th Century as a Monastery.


But first Zona Tortona proper. These light shades created a calming, white haven from the chaos outside! They are by PINWU, winners of last year’s SaloneSatellite Design Report Award.


Next it was on to designersblock, where I spotted this beautifully understated rocking chair by new designer Charlotte Arvidsson.


I discovered Coralie Bonnet’s embroidery at designersblock at the London Design Festival last year, where it was very much still in its experimental phase.


She is now developing applications and has created a range of embroidered products including a desk, a lamp and ceramic tiles.


The Tea Makes The World a Better Place range of ceramics by The New English was my top pick from designersblock. This teapot says “Tea – the beautiful alchemy of happiness.” I love the contrast between something as ‘proper’ and English as tea, and the tattoo-inspired lettering.


I love the geometry in this chair by Alex Mueller. He says: “My aim is not to make pieces which are pretty. If they are, that’s a benefit, but my work is more about consideration of materials, craftsmanship and the longevity of my products.”


Next it was over to the monastery and MOST, instigated by Tom Dixon last year. Czech brand Brokis shared a beautiful display of lights, my favorite of which were these Balloons in white.


A huge stand in the balcony area included every chair Piet Hein Eek has ever made and the headline “Most of the chairs didn’t become successful” – a lesson in creativity if ever there was one!


Improvisation and Experiment by the University of Art and Design, Offenbach (HfG) presented a range of products made using a “self-made rotational moulding machine”. Using a fast-setting plaster, the students were making products that resembled ceramics live at MOST.


One of my favorite pieces was this Frozen Textile side table by Annike Frye made using a fabric mould affixed to the wooden base so that the piece comes out fully formed.


British designer Jake Phipps, of bowler hat lights fame, was launching a new range of products including this stool made from coconut fibre – the fibre is made from the husk of the fruit which grows to full size in just 45 days making it incredibly sustainable. It’s the first time this method has been used in furniture production.


One of the most visually arresting spaces at MOST, if not in Milan, was the Studio Job and Lensvelt collaboration in the Sala del Cenacolo, the fresco room. I loved the sheer repetition of these little lights.


The fun continued in the basement, where these incredibly delicate paper Airvases by Torafu Architects filled the ceiling space.


Finally, I loved the 3D flat plan of this chair by Sander Mulder. Pythagoras is inspired by origami – a plain sheet of aluminum is laser cut, and then bent into the final product.

Katie Treggiden is a purpose-driven journalist, author and, podcaster championing a circular approach to design – because Planet Earth needs better stories. She is also the founder and director of Making Design Circular, a program and membership community for designer-makers who want to join the circular economy. With 20 years' experience in the creative industries, she regularly contributes to publications such as The Guardian, Crafts Magazine and Monocle24 – as well as being Editor at Large for Design Milk. She is currently exploring the question ‘can craft save the world?’ through an emerging body of work that includes her fifth book, Wasted: When Trash Becomes Treasure (Ludion, 2020), and a podcast, Circular with Katie Treggiden.