Milan 2014: designersblock

designersblock is known for popping up in interesting empty buildings, and this year occupied La Galleria della Moda, a shopping arcade in Milan’s San Gregorio district that has been closed for 20 years.


The seat of the Flock Chair by Melle Koot is made of small leftover pieces of sheepskin patched together. The appearance of the coat can vary from long to short hair and from straight to curly, making each chair unique, but equally comfortable.


Giopato & Coombes work with artisans in Murano to create contemporary interpretations of Italy’s glassmaking heritage.


Umberto Dattola said of this Dissolutions project on display at designersblock, “With this process, I re-work contemporary dissolutions, changing perspective to discover, eventually, that what drives the world are actually defeats, rending passions, and not – as conventionally thought – successful, convincing, beautiful, smiling, always firm to bite people.”


Kyla McCallum, aka Foldability, was showing the Sonobe Collection, a series of origami lighting designs that are folded and pieced together entirely by hand.


“The module was designed by Mitsonobu Sonobe in the early 1960s – he used it to create prisms and cubes, but I don’t think he realized its full potential,” Kyla told me. “I discovered that there are so many other shapes you can make from it. It’s almost like a code. I’ve become quite addicted to discovering more and more shapes, the possibilities seem endless.”


Solid Wool is a new composite material made using fleece from upland UK sheep – a bit like fiberglass but made of wool. It’s beautiful and sustainable.


Made in England by Mineheart, the New Casablanca collection of drink tables are made from reclaimed and vintage Moroccan serving trays, handpicked from markets and antique shops, fixed onto solid steel powder coated legs.


The ‘King Edison’ pendant lamp designed by Young & Battaglia for Mineheart features a miniature brass chandelier that sits inside a hand blown clear glass bulb.


And finally, simply entitled Leclettico Dream Team, this installation was curated by the team behind the host of Wallpaper*Handmade, the Leclettico Gallery.

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.