Once united under a single umbrella, today the district of Tortona is as if it consisted of four distinct and independent entities, namely Tortona Rocks, Base, Superstudio Più and Tortona Design Week.
Gisella Borioli, creator of Superstudio, tells (without filters) how the Tortona district has evolved, and anticipates the events not to be missed at Superstudio Più.
Read also: FuoriSalone 2023: the events not to be missed in the Tortona area
When and how was the district of Tortona born?
Gisella Borioli: “Superstudio turns forty this year. We created it in 1983, me with my husband Flavio Lucchini, transforming a group of abandoned laboratories into the first hub of photographic studios and services for fashion, in via Forcella 13, thirteen studios, hence the name Superstudio 13, a tribute to the Florentine architects and friends of the Supertudio group.
In 2000 we acquired a group of warehouses owned by General Electric in via Tortona 27, a few steps away from Superstudio 13, with the idea of making it an artistic and cultural exhibition centre which would also offer opportunities for communication advanced and live, the Superstudio Più.
Our focus was art, fashion, design and innovation.
I immediately thought that design, then officially represented only by the Salone del Mobile with the corollary of some showrooms and other initiatives scattered throughout the city, could be organized in a temporary exhibition district (as I also imagined for fashion or for art) starting from our two nearby locations, Superstudio 13 and Superstudio Più.
The decision of Giulio Cappellini was decisive, a month before the start of the Salone del Mobile 2000, to come and exhibit all of his state-of-the-art production in our as yet unrefurbished 'factory'.
Success was immediate.
The following year, with the help of the architect friends of Recapito Milanese, the design showroom in via Savona, and some other friends' spaces, the exhibition area is enlarged and the 'Tortona area', as I had informally christened the initiative, took hold and then became a structured association in 2005, with the presence of now numerous spaces, shops, workshops which for a week became "locations".
The Zona Tortona association, that of the famous red stamp, functioned as coordination and communication pole for a few years, with Superstudio which was was the initiator as lead partner.
When I left it, for various reasons, the project changed its soul and name.
I thought of Tortona Design Week, with the logo that I had asked Stefano Giovannoni, for the annual event, and Tortona District (can also be declined with the addition of Fashion, Design or other) to identify the district, imagining that it could also have been an indication for other areas of Milan that had followed suit. As it actually happened".
Why did the Tortona district split up, and how do the three different realities interact?
Gisella Borioli: “Let's say that every operator who in the meantime had joined the pioneer nucleus wanted to go his way in his own way and have greater direct visibility.
In reality, today the interaction between the companies operating in the area is very mild. We are Italians, we are individualists…”.
What are the events not to be missed at Superstudio Più?
Gisella Borioli: “Superstudio Più continues with its “less fair and more museum” project which for us means eyes open to the future, spaces for debates, for innovative and cultural proposals, free hospitality for projects that deserve it, an international panorama with constant attention to Asian R-evolution, enhancement of research on materials, space for new talent and women designers strong>, a fun area of Unexpected Objects that gives space to the imagination, attention to sustainability in the contents exhibited or proposed by us, such as the preparation of the dividers which this year includes paper walls (TNT ) without waste and savings in assembly and disassembly times.
In addition to the presentation of avatars and metaverse made by Superstudio itself, there will be a presentation of the Virtual Pavilion that we have developed to add to the physical experience of proud its virtual version that can be visited remotely.
All by interpreting the year's theme Inspiration-Innovation-Imagination as a fil rouge proposed to each exhibitor".