Wallpaper* design editor Rosa Bertoli selects her top 10 design stories of 2022, a year that saw design weeks and events return to the global scene. From exclusive design interviews to new spaces and life-enhancing projects, these are the moments in design that excited us this past year. Scroll down to read more (in no particular order).
TOP 10 DESIGN STORIES OF 2022
1. 2023 horoscopes by Studiopepe
‘Star signs are a small slice of knowledge of yourself and the world. We are fascinated by this mysterious element of life, but also by the fact that it is something that connects everything,’ Studiopepe’s Chiara di Pinto and Arianna Lelli Mami told us when we discussed horoscopes and the zodiac. To write their 2023 horoscope for Wallpaper*, they looked at the peculiarities of renowned designers from the 19th and 20th centuries, using some of their most famous quotes as the starting point for reflecting on their respective star signs. Among their discoveries: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was an Aries (‘only an Aries could have come up with “less is more”’), Verner Panton an Aquarius (‘case in point, he was fluid, a visionary, eccentric’), Charlotte Perriand a Sagittarius (‘a sign of discovery, adventure’). A Virgo, Ettore Sottsass perfectly embodied a star sign keen for order in the everyday: ‘[his wife] Barbara Radice used to say he had so much chaos inside him that he had to have things in perfect order. It makes you look at the geometry in his work with fresh eyes,’ says Di Pinto. ‘It’s been interesting to look at design from a more astrological perspective. You get a more intimate view of these legends of design.’
2. Kelly Wearstler guest edits our October 2022 issue
Kelly Wearstler, doyenne of American design and Wallpaper* guest editor, invited us into her Beverly Hills home for an exclusive photo shoot, and to talk technology, craft and creative kindred spirits, as we presented a portfolio of her interiors projects. Thirteen years after The New Yorker dubbed her ‘the presiding grande dame of West Coast interior design’, Kelly Wearstler’s ascent shows no signs of slowing. While continuing to surprise and delight with boldly textured, patterned and coloured interiors, she has also dived headfirst into the world of furniture design, built a global lifestyle brand and amassed almost two million Instagram followers, all the while championing kindred spirits across creative disciplines.
3. These self-build Tiny Homes are an alternative to renting
There have been lots of micro housing concepts created over the years to fight surging house and rental prices, yet most tend to disappear into the ether almost as soon as they emerge. Enter Tígín Tiny Homes, mobile small homes or cabins that don’t pretend to be a future housing solution for all of us, but that are also refreshingly thoughtfully designed and gimmick-free. The creators, an Irish social enterprise called Common Knowledge (tigín is Gaelic for a small house or cottage), have ensured the design has the same sort of specifications as a home extension or garden flat and that information about the eco-conscious and, in some cases, pioneering building materials and techniques used to build the home are freely accessible to all. That way, anyone thinking of embarking on a self-build or with access to land can make their own Tiny Home, or gain inspiration from it.
4. Interview: at home with Yinka Ilori
Speaking ahead of his first solo display at London’s Design Museum (until 25 June 2023), British-Nigerian designer Yinka Ilori welcomed us to his new London studio space to talk family, music, daily routines, and his most joyful projects. ‘A lot of my work has been inspired by traditional Nigerian parables and African fabrics that I was surrounded by growing up,’ he told Wallpaper*. ‘My parents would tell me Nigerian parables, which are essentially words of wisdom. Over time it’s led me to understand the power of storytelling, which forms a really key part of my work. I draw on many of these parables that I heard in my childhood and have incorporated some of them into my work.’
5. Formafantasma’s new studio in Milan
In 2022, designers Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin of Studio Formafantasma moved their studio (and their lives) into Assab One, in Milan. The Milan studio demonstrates the duo’s well-established ability to create holistic, aesthetically pleasing and thoughtful designs. Guests are greeted by their ‘Wireline’ chandelier, hung above a large dining table they also designed. On one side is a vast bookcase with some of their past projects on display. This more intimate living area is loosely separated from the larger office by a cupboard upholstered on one side in Vincent Van Duysen’s ‘Moiré’ textile for Sahco, in a sage green that complements the light maple of the furniture. Every piece of furniture will become part of a growing collection, available to order from manufacturing collaborator DiSé and imagined as Formafantasma’s response to the post-Covid workspace. ‘It speaks of the ambivalence between home and office. We wanted to design office furniture, but this office is also a home,’ says Trimarchi.
6. All-season tent design inspired by Icelandic shelters
Embracing the extreme takes on new meaning with Icelandic outerwear brand 66 North’s latest release – a tent made in collaboration with the German camping gear innovator, Heimplanet, marking its first foray outside of clothing. Its geodesic dome structure is a signature feature of Heimplanet’s existing The Cave tent. Boasting an inflatable framework and constructed with ten crossing points, the tent’s reinforced structure is matched by high-quality weatherproof materials to stand up against wind, snow and rain. The collaborative iteration with 66 North showcases a bright orange hue – a reference to traditional emergency shelters, located all over Iceland, as well as a larger size to contain up to four people. A single pump easily inflates the spacious tent in under a minute, which means setting up base camp is more pain-free in all four seasons for both adventurists and nature lovers alike.
7. Bodil Kjær at 90: exclusive interview
We interviewed Danish designer Bodil Kjær on the occasion of her 90th anniversary. Ahead of an interview, she sends talking points that read like a manifesto. ‘I am not a furniture designer; I am a designer of environments. I am concerned about solving problems of the kind that can be defined. I am concerned about delight and beauty rather than opulence and vulgarity.’ Kjær’s rigorous and elegant creations from the late 1950s to mid-1960s have proved timeless. The chairs, tables, office desk, storage systems, lights and vases were never created as objects per se, they were designed in the broader context of space, as what she calls ‘elements of architecture’, to address specific problems relating to use and aesthetics. ‘My furniture designs come from architecture – spatial and also based on construction principles. I think in structures – will it hold up, can you pull it apart, how do the guys in the factory put it together. It’s important that furniture looks like how it will be used and people can see how it is made.’
8. Molteni pavilion by Vincent Van Duysen
Molteni & C has unveiled a new chapter in the architectural history of its Giussano HQ, with a pavilion complex by its creative director, Belgian designer Vincent Van Duysen, adding a hospitality element to the brand experience. The starting point for the design, which is Van Duysen’s first architectural project for Molteni, was Luca Meda and Aldo Rossi’s showroom building, which is punctuated on one side by a discreet colonnade. Those columns inspired the pavilion, which is designed to serve as a reception area, restaurant and hospitality space surrounded by cloistered gardens. ‘Molteni is interested in seeing its pieces come alive in the context of architecture, placing them within a much broader cultural aura,’ says Van Duysen. ‘This interaction and synergy between architecture and furniture relates to the art of living in a very modern way.’
9. King Charles III and Sir Jony Ive on designing for a better world
Founded and led by the former Prince of Wales (now King Charles) and Sir Jony Ive – who headlined the August 2022 issue of Wallpaper* – the Terra Carta Design Lab celebrates young designers developing high-impact, low-cost solutions to the climate crisis. In this exclusive interview, Ive speaks exclusively to Deyan Sudjic, Wallpaper* contributing editor and director emeritus of the Design Museum, London.
10. Regenerative design: meet the creatives leading the way
It seems a radical idea, but as the climate crisis deepens, ‘sustainable design’ and ‘doing less harm’ are not enough to avert catastrophe – we have to find ways to replenish ecosystems while meeting our own needs. ‘Humans need to return to a state where they are co-evolving with nature,’ says architect and biomimicry expert Michael Pawlyn. ‘If we carry on believing that it is something to be plundered for resources, it will be our undoing.’ Pawlyn is one of the architects leading the charge for a shift towards ‘regenerative design’, which ‘supports the flourishing of all life, for all time,’ as he puts it in his new book Flourish: Design Paradigms for Our Planetary Emergency, co-written by Sarah Ichioka. While sustainable design focuses on mitigating problems, regenerative design is about restoring the damage wreaked by human hands, nurturing biodiversity and taking carbon out of the atmosphere while we produce homes, infrastructure, furniture and food. ‘We’ve got to get to a point where we integrate all our activities into the web of life that surrounds us, overcoming our separation from nature,’ adds Pawlyn.