It’s been a bumper year for furniture and lighting launches. Milan Design Week was back in full swing, and other festivals the world over seemed to be bouncing back after a post-Covid break. It’s a good job, really, with so many more of us staying home and paying a renewed interest in our surroundings. We’ve seen collaborations with musicians with A$AP Rocky and Gufram, gallery-worth pieces from the likes of Vincent Pocsik and Arthur Vandergucht, and high-street meets high-end with the launch of H&M Home’s collectible range and Zara’s collaboration with design titan Vincent van Duysen. Here, we select some of our favorites:
Ouverture sofa, Poltrona Frau
One of the best reissues of the year – Poltrona Frau reached back 40 years to bring the Ouverture sofa, designed by Pierluigi Cerri, into the present day. The Italian designer had clearly been inspired by the hi-tech movement from the decade previous, pairing a construction-inspired frame with plush, spongy cushions.
Eames Moulded Plywood Chair, HAY and Herman Miller
This collection saw design titans of the past meet those of the present. In collaboration with Herman Miller, HAY put their colorful spin on pieces by Ray and Charles Eames – including the iconic Moulded Plywood Chair, which arrived in a bottle green shade.
T4 Chairs, Holloway Li for Uma
When these chairs launched during this year’s London Design Festival, they certainly made a statement. Crafted by the studio Holloway Li in collaboration with Uma, the piece was intended to make a nostalgic statement, and features a bulbous silhouette that echoes 90s decor – think gloopy lava lamps and iconic inflatable chairs.
Navy Swivel Chair, Afternoon Light for Emeco
In the summer, online furniture store Afternoon Light has put its own maximalist spin on a minimalist office chair designed by Jasper Morrison for Emeco. For their limited-edition version, the team employed a forest green powder coating across the aluminum frame, with upholstery in shades of emerald and pink.
D1–a617-MR 01 magazine rack, a617 for Vero
The “D1–a617-MR 01” magazine rack designed by a617 for Vero feels simultaneously modern and retro. It was one of the first pieces to join the brand’s collection when it launched earlier this year and was described as “recalling the styles typical of Italian design”. Its functionality, though, is on par with its aesthetics, and the object is moveable and flexible to suit an array of interior needs. A future icon.
Bend bench, Practice
Metal has been the material of 2022, with designers and brands alike making the most of it. South Korean studio Practice used polished stainless steel pipes to create this satisfyingly seamless bench, which gets its shape from being bent at the corners to create its legs.
Camp chair, Philippe Malouin for SCP
SCP’s 2022 seating collection took its design cues from a wealth of inspirations. But a standout piece from the range was Philippe Malouin’s “Camp” chair, which, as the name suggests, was based on the materials and shapes seen in outdoor equipment. For the piece, Malouin, who has been collaborating with SCP since 2017, created a solid wooden frame, with cushions upholstered in hard-wearing cotton and leather trimming.
T shelves, Formafantasma for Hem
Shelving is a notoriously difficult thing to get right, and icons made by Vitsœ and USM Haller have long dominated the market. But this year, Swedish brand Hem employed the thoughtful eye of Italian design duo Formafantasma to create the “T Shelves” – a minimalist, modular shelving system that has sustainability at its core, and makes use of an industrial manufacturing process, in which aluminum is extruded into a desired shape or form.
Tramonto a New York, Gaetano Pesce for Cassina
Gaetano Pesce has made a few big splashes this year – from his collaboration with Bottega Veneta to the rerelease of a privacy screen alongside Italian brand Cassina. 82-year-old Pesce is known for his work with resin, and on this occasion opted to use it instead of glass because of its ability to take color. Named “Tramonto a New York” or Italian for “Sunset in New York“, Pesce envisioned a design that sees layers of resin placed on top of one another, in a bid to recreate the outline of the city’s skyscrapers.
Piton Lamp, Tom Chung for Muuto
This year, Canadian industrial designer Tom Chung designed his first product for Danish brand Muuto. Taking inspiration from mountaineering equipment, he created a portable lamp named Piton. Fully rechargeable, the lamp combines LEDs with a diffusing cover to create an ambient light. Its slim profile is made from anodised extruded aluminium, while the lampshade is crafted from injection-moulded plastic.
Loveseat, Seungjin Yang
Seungjin Yang’s work has become a firm favorite. The designer employs a method of casting balloons in resin, before building them into chairs and in this case, a sofa. Debuted at Design Miami in early December, the piece was one of 30 new works presented by The Future Perfect gallery – whose curatorial focus this year was the power of materiality.
Open Code table and chairs, Mac Collins
Both the execution of and concept behind Mac Collins’ Open Code collection set it apart from the other pieces on show at the Harewood Biennial in Leeds, England. For the piece, the Newcastle-based designer crafted a set of aluminum dominoes, alongside a set of wooden chairs and a table to play them on. The idea behind the work came from the house itself, which was built through wealth made on the transatlantic slave trade. For Collins, who is half Jamaican and half English, the project offered a chance to address this – and his designs are intended as a reminder of the fact that the building was created at the expense of his descendent community.
CNVYR chair, Woojin Park
The profile of a humble conveyor belt was reimagined by Woojin Park to create this chair. Because each component is detachable, the chairs are modular and can be disassembled and reassembled into various compositions. Strips of fabric are fed through the steel structure to create armrests and form the main section of the seat – emulating the look of a conveyor belt.
Empyrean lamp, Laurids Gallée
After studying for his degree at Design Academy Eindhoven, Laurids Gallée honed his skills in many manufacturing techniques and crafts, before founding his own studio in 2017. Now, from Rotterdam, he creates works that explore the possibility of traditional techniques when combined with modern materials and manufacturing processes. The latest comes in the form of the softly glowing Empyrean lamp, which he has crafted from resin. “Empyrean was believed to be a celestial place in the highest of heavens, occupied by the element of fire,” he explains.