Caring for ourselves and our families also means caring for the planet we all live on.
Recent events, including but not limited to the COVID-19 pandemic, have made us more acutely aware of the quality of our lives, whether we’re living well, comfortably, or, more importantly, healthily. It has also made many people more of the state of our planet, the only habitable planet that we know of, and how the way we live affects the Earth, no matter how seemingly insignificant it is. Salone del Mobile in Milan has always gathered the best designs and ideas in furniture and lifestyle products, and this year has showcased yet another wonderful selection of products from creative minds and innovative companies. This year’s exhibition has also shown a more positive bent towards not just the physical but also the mental well-being of people, not to mention a more conscientious effort to leave a positive impact on the environment. At Yanko Design, we recognize and highlight the best product designs not just for their beauty but also for their positive impact, and here are our Top 12 picks for Salone del Mobile 2022.
We sometimes take inspiration from the past to inform today’s designs, and sometimes we even look to other cultures for ideas. When it comes to bathing and cleansing, the Japanese are both famous and notorious for their relaxing areas and strict rules. Antoniolupi tries to capture the spirit and the feeling of a traditional Japanese soak without the rigid norms, resulting in a bathtub that is distinctive and unique in its appearance.
A circular basin with a notch, the Ofuro‘s lowered front edge tries to invite you to step into its relaxing waters and soak for a while to let your worries wash away. Optional LED lights at the base call to mind outdoor tubs that would be heated by firewood underneath, creating an almost otherworldly glow meant to take your mind to a higher plane. Made of the designer’s patented and eco-friendly Flumood, the Ofuro tub looks like it was sculpted from a single block completing the perception of wholeness and integrity that your mind needs while your body soaks and relaxes inside.
The COVID-19 novel coronavirus gave birth to plenty of new products that focused on cleaning the air in our homes and killing dangers that we can’t see with the naked eye. You don’t, however, have to stick some odd-looking contraption in the middle of your home just to benefit from these technologies, especially when all you need is to shine a better light on the problem. Artemide’s Integralis line of lighting products delivers both safety and beauty to create a safer space for the whole family, as well as the occasional visitors.
Homeowners can choose from a variety of designs and colors that fit their needs and their sense of style. The Discovery lamps, for example, employ geometric shapes like circles and rectangles to provide low-impact designs inside your home. In contrast, The Veil puts a canopy draped over 11 arms arranged like spokes in a wheel, diffusing the light to create a gentler and more comforting atmosphere while using ethically-sourced and sustainable materials to put your conscience at ease.
BORA X BO
Part of living a healthy lifestyle means eating healthy, and the best way to do that is to decide what you eat and how you cook your food. Cooking, however, sometimes feels more like a chore with very low ROI, especially when $you think of the cleanup afterward. The BORA X BO tries to do most of the work for you by employing some of the same technologies you have on your smartphone. You probably never expected you could even search on your oven!
The smart steam oven offers a large touch screen that lets you choose how simple or how complex your cooking activity needs to be, allowing you to customize the interface to fit your habits and needs. Steam extraction and odor elimination prevent your kitchen from looking and smelling like a warzone, and self-cleaning means you won’t have to get your hands dirty from both cooking and cleaning. And if you’re at a loss on what to do, the oven even has its manual installed on the touch screen, so all you need to do is to search like Google.
There is, of course, another aspect to our eating habits, and it probably shouldn’t be a shock to learn that feeding the planet is, unfortunately, killing it as well. Our over-reliance on meat and broken food systems contribute to the sad state our planet is in. Just because we’re eating the right things doesn’t make it easier for the planet, so Electrolux’s Better Living Initiative is envisioning a complete revamp of the kitchen, which doesn’t mean completely giving up meat.
GRO, from the Swedish word “to sprout,” is a kitchen concept that tries to highlight and encourage better habits, both in eating and in sourcing ingredients for food. Naturally, plant-forward diets are the main focus, but a “Jewelry Box” storage is also part of the system, encouraging people to eat less but better meats. The modular compartments not only preserve veggies but also showcase their green beauty, while different containers and displays encourage experimentation with different ingredients, flavors, and scents. Eating green doesn’t have to be boring, and it should also help keep the Earth green as well.
Kartell TEA Lamp
Many homes are filled with products that bring delight to the senses, especially the eyes. These range from expensive art decorations to designer lamps to stylish aroma diffusers. In most cases, many of these lifestyle items were mass-produced, often using common materials that may not exactly be friendly to the environment. Fortunately, designers and companies have become more conscious of their role in nudging people towards more sustainable practices, particularly by presenting them with sustainable options that are as good or even better than the common lamp or furniture.
Kartell’s TEA lamps, for example, are made from recycled thermoplastics, but you wouldn’t be able to tell from the way they look. Shaped like abstract hands, the lamps’ external cover creates a chiaroscuro effect that makes light and shadow mingle in a visually interesting way. It is a shining example of how beauty can be created and molded from the things we throw away, giving credence to the saying that one’s trash can be another’s treasure.
Kohler Statement and Stillness
For many people, the bedroom is often the first room in the house they consider when thinking of a place of solitude and peace. For others, however, soaking in the tub or standing underneath the shower is their idea of a calming and relaxing moment. While some might be content with your run-of-the-mill furnishings, introducing some Zen into your bathroom will require things that will remind you to take a break using your eyes and your other senses. It’s for that exact purpose that Kohler launched its Statement shower and Stillness bath to offer a small oasis of well-being inside your home.
The Stillness bathtub uses water, light, fog, and aromas to set the mood for a relaxing soak. The Statement shower line, on the other hand, mixes beauty and functionality, creating an experience where you don’t have to worry about water not flowing smoothly out of the shower heads or taps. Both products create an inviting atmosphere for people to not only clean their bodies but to also wash away their worries and anxieties, even for a short while.
Kreoo Pave Stones
We have been witnesses to many creative and inspired artists throughout human history, but the greatest artist of them all is none other than Mother Nature herself. Through the flowing river and blowing winds, she’s able to create smooth pebbles that represent both the gentleness and power of natural forces that shape the Earth. The smooth pebbles are often used in Zen gardens as decorative and meditative pieces for that very reason, but Kreoo’s Pave Collection turns their design into something you can use and even sit on.
The Pave Stones, in particular, combine marble and wood shaped like these natural pebbles and turn it into an outdoor or even indoor seat. Thanks to modern manufacturing and processes, you don’t have to worry about this structure falling over from your weight. In fact, Kreoo stepped things up literally by combining two pieces of marble and one wooden “pebble” to create a piece of furniture that is just as thought-provoking as their miniature originals.
Megius Sauna and Shower
Many people are familiar with saunas, and most of them will imagine big public spaces filled with steam and awkwardness. What should be a relaxing activity can produce anxiety in people not used to being exposed inside an enclosed space. A lot more people would probably enjoy a short sauna experience if it were more private and more personal. Fortunately, shower expert Megius agrees too.
The Exen Sauna mixes glass and wood to create a more confined and intimate space for a single person to use, probably inside a private bathroom. This personal sauna is complemented by the Zen shower that puts a minimalist touch on the typical shower stall. Taking a shower shouldn’t just be for cleansing your body but could give you a psychological wash as well, especially when what you see before you exemplify clarity and simplicity.
pmstudio Progetto HUG
Wood is a more sustainable material for creating products and furniture, but that doesn’t mean it has no negative impact on the environment, especially when we don’t plant enough trees to replace the ones that we cut down. Recycling scrap wood, then, becomes an important step in completing a circular economy of wooden furniture, which is the kind of love the Progetto HUG is trying to give the environment.
Designers Medeot Barbara and Piovesan Giulia created a multifunctional object made of recycled scrap wood that you can assemble into different pieces of furniture. It doesn’t use nails or glue to put together, so you can potentially reassemble the pieces into something else when your needs change. HUG creates an even more sustainable system, ensuring that these pieces won’t need to be recycled themselves anytime soon.
We often take a lot of everyday objects in our homes for granted. On the one hand, that’s necessary for survival because our brains would be overloaded if they took note of every object it encounters at every turn. On the other hand, we sometimes miss out on the interesting nuances of our own furniture, at least until it shocks us out of our stupor.
Named after a rather undesirable tool of punishment, Per/Use’ new Guillotine Mirrors use the metaphor of slicing through objects to create a rather thought-provoking design. It isn’t completely just visual, though, as the wooden block that the mirror cuts through actually hides a drawer that rolls out at the touch of a hidden button. It’s definitely a curious execution of a design, pun totally intended.
Samsung Infinite Line
It might be better known for its smartphones, TVs, and computer monitors, but its area of expertise extends to almost all major appliances inside the house, from refrigerators to ovens to washing machines. Its Bespoke line of smart home appliances, in particular, has become its flagship brand to push Internet-connected and interconnected products to homes today. At Salone del Mobile 2022, it is expanding that vision with the Bespoke Infinite, a line specifically designed to deliver the kitchen of the future today.
The fridge, for example, can automatically open when you swipe or tap your hand over the handle’s sensor, no more struggling with tight doors. The Family Hub smart refrigerator becomes an even better entertainment center in the kitchen to distract kids while you cook. And, of course, this new line is designed to look luxurious in any kitchen setting while also keeping one foot in sustainability through eco-conscious packaging and more efficient energy consumption.
Heating is an essential part of the home in many regions, but the sources of heat haven’t exactly evolved with contemporary home designs. Many still look as industrial and unappealing as pipes hidden behind walls or underneath sinks, but they don’t have to be. Tubes Radiatori has been making radiators beautiful and stylish, almost disappearing into the background as part of the room’s decor.
The Radiatori Trame, for example, hardly resembles a typical radiator, looking almost like a wall decor that just happens to give off warmth. The new Radiatori I Ching takes inspiration from the iconic writing, providing heated bars of steel where you can hang towels, bathrobes, and any other thing that you need to get dried quickly. Tubes Radiatori, like many on this year’s Best of Salone del Mobile, is proof that mundane things can be designed well, not just to look good but to also feel great for one’s self as well as the environment.