Orto Green Design

Elena Pardini

Earth, seeds, paper. Mixed together with a good dose of intelligent design and communication. This is how Orto Green Design was born, Tommaso Mancini’s brand dedicated to cultivating plants in urban contexts.

It was 2013. Tommaso, a landscape designer by profession, receives an email inviting him to participate in Milan’s International Furnishing Accessories Exhibition, the “Salone del Mobile”, for the most famous design week in the world. The best green- and sustainability-oriented ideas are chosen for an important exhibition organized by architect Maurizio Corrado and by one of the fathers of Italian design, Alessandro Mendini.

Tommaso proposes “Orto”, the sustainable design collection created to cultivate plants in homes, on window sills, terraces, in home studios and on desks, dedicated first and foremost to all those who do not have a garden.After just a few days, the idea is accepted and the project is on show at the Fabbrica del Vapore center. The major Italian newspapers and TV channels speak about it, the project arouses great interest and what up until a short time before was a creative and original idea becomes “serious business”, deserving time and work.



An explanation comes from none other than the protagonist himself, who welcomes us in Meati, a small village surrounded by countryside on the immediate outskirts of Lucca where Tommaso lives, designs and, of course, cultivates plants. “I started working on Orto about ten years ago, at the ISIA - Istituto Superiore per le Industrie Artistiche (Higher Institute for Artistic Studies) – in Florence. My degree thesis consisted in a territorial marketing object called OrtoBlister, designed to relaunch Lucca’s Mercato del Carmine covered market building. Like the name says, the object is a true blister, made of cellulose instead of plastic, containing not pills but horticultural plant seeds”, explains Tommaso.

From that project, which has remained on the backburner, two others were born: OrtoPulp and OrtoBrick.



 – cellulose or wood pulp, editor’s note – a mosaic of seven small vases representing the city of Milan and its central neighborhoods. By adding earth and seeds, the vases are used to cultivate a small garden at home or in the office and watch it grow. Once they have outgrown the vase, the plants are transferred directly to larger vases on balconies, in urban gardens or in a private garden, with no need to be transplanted because OrtoPulp is designed to be composted with the earth, becoming nutrient for the plants.



similar to a bar of soap, containing the seeds of a plant, ready to use. It is a seedbed designed to experiment the germination phase indoors, it, too, produced using different horticultural plant seeds. If cultivated, it easily generates a micro-garden to care for and breed, or else it remains an object of green design that maintains its message unchanged in time. A little over a year after its official debut, the Orto Green Design line has been invited to exhibitions, trade shows and events such as Made Expo, Orticola in Milan, Operae in Turin.

Requests are increasing and the project has entered the market with OrtoBrick for now, thanks to craft productions and limited series, obtaining great success throughout Italy.

“I am working to be able to produce and launch OrtoPulp, too, on the market, with the intention of turning it into a format: customized projects designed for other cities, with mosaics of vases that recall the maps of Rome, Paris, Berlin or Beijing, based on requests”.

The idea remains coherent: to diffuse new forms of urban agriculture and sustainable living through the design of minimal, essential and ephemeral objects.Orto Green Design is looking for companies and individuals interested in partnerships, collaborations or customizations.


For info www.tommasomancini.com


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