We at the DECO offices wait with baited breath for our editor Laureen Rossouw’s return from the Milan Furniture Fair every year, not only because she’s full of stories of things she saw, did and ate (and brings us presents) but because she brings back news of the sexiest designs that have just burst onto the scene in Milan. We share a select group of her favourite things here with you.

This crocheted pouffe formed part of a vibrant floral collection of soft furnishings and upholstered chairs from MissoniHome. “The floral recurring theme in the 2011 collection provided an excuse for reinterpreting the Missonologia universe, with orchids and proteas in an endless variety of geometric patterns,” says Rosita Missoni.

The collection was a dazzling interplay of textures, stripes and pattern – which is what we’ve come to expect from Missoni.

The Button Down sofa by Edward van Vliet for Moroso is surprisingly decorative but the shape is also emphasised by its smooth, woollen covering. The sofa, part of a modular system of seats, ottomans and benches, has a sweater-like surface and large buttons that allude to clothing.

German Christoph John, Serbian Jovana Bogdanovic and Chinese Zhang Lei, founder of INNOVO Design, showed a collection of impeccably made paper products, including the ‘Piao Paper Seat’ and the ‘Chao’ paper storage as part of a show called ‘Future Tradition’ held at the Salone Satellite in Milan. The paper seat is made from tightly glued layers of paper.

The paper storage container looks like a paper notebook when closed. When opened out like a concertina, it can hold small things and becomes the perfect desk accessory. The trio point out that “The materials that are used are the same for a traditional Chinese umbrella – wood, rice paper and a bit glue.”

Big news for our local leather industry was the Campana brothers’ collaboration with South African ostrich leather manufacturer Klein Karoo. The Brazilian duo, Humberto and Fernando, presented stools and tables draped in heavy layers of leather. Italian furniture manufacturer Edra , which makes the brothers’  ‘Sushi’ and ‘Leatherworks’ chairs, has decided to remake them in the material, too.

It was a big kick to see how beautiful  and how much of a stir was created by the ‘Story Vases’ by Front and the Siyazama Project for Editions in Craft. The blogosphere has been ablaze with posts about them already, but we couldn’t NOT include them here. The vases are a coup not only for local craft but for the power of handmade, personal pieces. The beadwork tells the stories of five women from the Siyazama Project in KwaZulu-Natal – Beauty, Thokozani, Kishwepi, Tholiwe and Lobolile – their families and everyday lives, their struggles and dreams, what beadwork means to them and the effects of social hardships such as HIV and poverty. The beaded wire was moulded into different vase shapes and glass was blown into the interior.