Lighting Design Was The Star Of Salone Del Mobile 2022
A bright spot for the event’s 60th anniversary.
A bright spot for the event’s 60th anniversary.
Earlier this month, Milan Design Week was busy with Salone Del Mobile, the world’s foremost interior design fair. For the event’s 60th anniversary—the first to return in-person since 2019—over 2,000 exhibitors showcased their latest wares, including over 600 designers under age of 35.
It was the biggest, and most successful iteration yet, and had a strong international presence with designers coming from across Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and North America. “We believe in a Salone that breaks down barriers, becoming a cultural bridge, welcoming everyone without distinction, in the name of ethical and responsible design,” says Maria Porro, Salone del Mobile’s president, the first woman to hold the job since joining last year.
While the trade fair is known for its cutting-edge furniture (specifically, modular loveseats), the star of this year’s event was the lighting design. Whether it’s Magritte-inspired lamps or traditional Italian glass chandeliers, here are some of the lighting designs that made a splash at Milan’s design week this year.
The Argentinian designer showcased his latest modern lamps at the Nilafur showroom, which are inspired by the free jazz movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Titled “Too Much, Too Soon!” These geometric lamps are what the designer calls “illuminated sculptures.” He explains that even though he is a digital native (he was born in 1990), the digital world cannot reproduce light the same way that a lamp can. “Reflecting, absorbing, playing with light is a physical experience,” Reisinger says. “So it’s unnecessary to reproduce it in the digital realm, because it’s simply ineffective.”
British designer Lee Broom brought his work to higher levels with his new lighting collection, Divine Inspiration, on the brand’s 15-year anniversary. These minimal light pieces—some even inspired by Brutalist architecture—are Broom’s biggest production to date. The lighting fixtures are made from carved oak wood, aluminum, plaster, and Jesmonite, all of which were handmade in his London factory.
“Designing this collection to celebrate 15 years, I decided to look back at some of the things that inspired me to be a designer in the first place,” Broom says. “So, I started looking at the Brutalist architecture I grew up with as a child, a period of architecture that I love. Delving deeper my attention became engaged with brutalist places of worship. This led me on a fascinating journey to researching cathedrals, temples, and churches from antiquity to mid-century, to the present day.”
The Venetian glassmaking company debuted its latest glass chandelier, called the Magritte, inspired by French surrealist painter Rene Magritte. The clear glass chandelier with 48 light bulbs takes the traditional glassmaking on the Venetian Island of Murano, which is where the firm has had its headquarters for 700 years, and updates it for modern interiors. As Magritte once said, “Banish the already seen from the mind and seek the unseen.”
We might know Toiletpaper as the retro-inspired art magazine co-founded by artist Maurizio Cattelan and photographer Pierpaolo Ferrari. Now, the duo has made their way into product design with Casa Toiletpaper. This Milanese home doubles as both a showroom for their latest furniture design, and is an AirBnB,. They call this property “an unmistakable design” where visitors can “live in a work of art.” Their latest series of housewares, as part of their Toiletpaper Home collection, has lamps that are surrealist-inspired works of art, too. With a simple round glass globe on a black rectangular base. There are four design variations: a trumpet, snakes, playing cards, and lipstick patterns.
The Italian lighting brand opened its first showroom in Milan for design week, set in the heart of the city’s Brera district, Milan’s most notable creative neighbourhood. The company’s latest design collections including Volum (designed with Snøhetta), Flar (designed with Patrick Norguet), and IVY (designed with Vittorio Massimo). The Volum series features an icy white bulb, which pays tribute to the Italian tradition of globe-shaped lamps, made of glass. Oslo-based designers Snøhetta said the historic craft of glassmaking was the inspiration. “Viewing something as above, below or next to something else, to a light source, it needs to be as functional and beautiful from all prepositions in space,” says Marius Myking, the director of products at Snøhetta. “The Volum series solves this in its technical solution, while celebrating the craft of glassmaking.”
Formafantasma x Maison Matisse
The design company Formafantasma collaborated with Maison Matisse, a design firm run by the family of French artist Henri Matisse, to create limited-edition lamps inspired by the artist’s creations. They call the series “Fold,” and these angular, abstract light fixtures are intended to “reinterpret the inventive paper cut-outs and pure colours of Henri Matisse.” Many of the metal lamps look like seaside shapes that Matisse would draw while living in the French Riviera. And some use his trademark cobalt blue. They unveiled the new series last week at Showroom Studio Nerino. The design team worked with folded paper mock-ups before creating the digital designs, as folding paper for 3D compositions was one way Matisse created art.
Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’
How far can an electric car really go on a full charge? What can you do to make it go farther? We answer these and other questions that EV buyers might ask.
Many people considering an electric vehicle are turned off by their prices or the paucity of public charging stations. But the biggest roadblock often is “range anxiety”—the fear of getting stuck on a desolate road with a dead battery.
All EVs carry window stickers stating how far they should go on a full charge. Yet these range estimates—overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency and touted in carmakers’ ads—can be wrong in either direction: either overstating or understating the distance that can be driven, sometimes by 25% or more.
How can that be? Below are questions and answers about how driving ranges are calculated, what factors affect the range, and things EV owners can do to go farther on a charge.
The distance, according to EPA testing, ranges from 516 miles for the 2023 Lucid Air Grand Touring with 19-inch wheels to 100 miles for the 2023 Mazda MX-30.
Most EVs are in the 200-to-300-mile range. While that is less than the distance that many gasoline-engine cars can go on a full tank, it makes them suitable for most people’s daily driving and medium-size trips. Yet it can complicate longer journeys, especially since public chargers can be far apart, occupied or out of service. Plus, it takes many times longer to charge an EV than to fill a tank with gas.
Testing by Car and Driver magazine found that few vehicles go as far as the EPA stickers say. On average, the distance was 12.5% shorter, according to the peer-reviewed study distributed by SAE International, formerly the Society of Automotive Engineers.
In some cases, the estimates were further off: The driving range of Teslas fell below their EPA estimate by 26% on average, the greatest shortfall of any EV brand the magazine tested. Separately, federal prosecutors have sought information about the driving range of Teslas, The Wall Street Journal reported. Tesla didn’t respond to a request for comment.
The study also said Ford’s F-150 Lightning pickup truck went 230 miles compared with the EPA’s 300-mile estimate, while the Chevrolet Bolt EV went 220 miles versus the EPA’s 259.
A GM spokesman said that “actual range may vary based on several factors, including things like temperature, terrain/road type, battery age, loading, use and maintenance.” Ford said in a statement that “the EPA [figure] is a standard. Real-world range is affected by many factors, including driving style, weather, temperature and if the battery has been preconditioned.”
Meanwhile, testing by the car-shopping site Edmunds found that most vehicles beat their EPA estimates. It said the Ford Lightning went 332 miles on a charge, while the Chevy Bolt went 265 miles.
Driving range depends largely on the mixture of highway and city roads used for testing. Unlike gasoline-powered cars, EVs are more efficient in stop-and-go driving because slowing down recharges their batteries through a process called regenerative braking. Conversely, traveling at a high speed can eat up a battery’s power faster, while many gas-engine cars meet or exceed their EPA highway miles-per-gallon figure.
Car and Driver uses only highway driving to see how far an EV will go at a steady 75 mph before running out of juice. Edmunds uses a mix of 60% city driving and 40% highway. The EPA test, performed on a treadmill, simulates a mixture of 55% highway driving and 45% city streets.
Edmunds believes the high proportion of city driving it uses is more representative of typical EV owners, says Jonathan Elfalan, Edmunds’s director of vehicle testing. “Most of the driving [in an EV] isn’t going to be road-tripping but driving around town,” he says.
Car and Driver, conversely, says its all-highway testing is deliberately more taxing than the EPA method. High-speed interstate driving “really isn’t covered by the EPA’s methodology,” says Dave VanderWerp, the magazine’s testing director. “Even for people driving modest highway commutes, we think they’d want to know that their car could get 20%-30% less range than stated on the window sticker.”
The agency declined to make a representative available to comment, but said in a statement: “Just like there are variations in EPA’s fuel-economy label [for gas-engine cars] and people’s actual experience on the road for a given make and model of cars/SUVs, BEV [battery electric vehicle] range can exceed or fall short of the label value.”
Pick the one based on the testing method that you think matches how you generally will drive, highway versus city. When shopping for a car, be sure to compare apples to apples—don’t, for instance, compare the EPA range estimate for one vehicle with the Edmunds one for another. And view all these figures with skepticism. The estimates are just that.
Batteries are heavy and are the most expensive component in an EV, making up some 30% of the overall vehicle cost. Adding more could cut into a vehicle’s profit margin while the added weight means yet more battery power would be used to move the car.
But battery costs have declined over the past 10 years and are expected to continue to fall, while new battery technologies likely will increase their storage capacity. Already, some of the newest EV models can store more power at similar sticker prices to older ones.
The easiest thing is to slow down. High speeds eat up battery life faster. Traveling at 80 miles an hour instead of 65 can cut the driving range by 17%, according to testing by Geotab, a Canadian transportation-data company. And though a primal appeal of EVs is their zippy takeoff, hard acceleration depletes a battery much quicker than gentle acceleration.
It does, and sometimes by a great amount. The batteries are used to heat the car’s interior—there is no engine creating heat as a byproduct as in a gasoline car. And many EVs also use electricity to heat the batteries themselves, since cold can deteriorate the chemical reaction that produces power.
Testing by Consumer Reports found that driving in 15- to-20-degrees Fahrenheit weather at 70 mph can reduce range by about 25% compared to similar-speed driving in 65 degrees.
A series of short cold-weather trips degraded the range even more. Consumer Reports drove two EVs 40 miles each in 20-degree air, then cooled them off before starting again on another 40-mile drive. The cold car interiors were warmed by the heater at the start of each of three such drives. The result: range dropped by about 50%.
Testing by Consumer Reports and others has found that using the AC has a much lower impact on battery range than cold weather, though that effect seems to increase in heat above 85 degrees.
“Precondition” your EV before driving off, says Alex Knizek, manager of automotive testing and insights at Consumer Reports. In other words, chill or heat it while it is still plugged in to a charger at home or work rather than using battery power on the road to do so. In the winter, turn on the seat heaters, which many EVs have, so you be comfortable even if you keep the cabin temperature lower. In the summer, try to park in the shade.
Going up hills takes more power, so yes, it drains the battery faster, though EVs have an advantage over gas vehicles in that braking on the downside of hills returns juice to the batteries with regenerative braking.
Tires play a role. Beefy all-terrain tires can eat up more electricity than standard ones, as can larger-diameter ones. And underinflated tires create more rolling resistance, and so help drain the batteries.
The meters are supposed to take into account your speed, outside temperature and other factors to keep you apprised in real time of how much farther you can travel. But EV owners and car-magazine testers complain that these “distance to empty” gauges can suddenly drop precipitously if you go from urban driving to a high-speed highway, or enter mountainous territory.
So be careful about overly relying on these gauges and take advantage of opportunities to top off your battery during a multihour trip. These stops could be as short as 10 or 15 minutes during a bathroom or coffee break, if you can find a high-powered DC charger.
Fully charge the car at home before departing. This sounds obvious but can be controversial, since many experts say that routinely charging past 80% of a battery’s capacity can shorten its life. But they also say that charging to 100% occasionally won’t do damage. Moreover, plan your charging stops in advance to ease the I-might-run-out panic.
Yes, an EV battery’s ability to fully charge will degrade with use and age, likely leading to shorter driving range. Living in a hot area also plays a role. The federal government requires an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty on EV batteries for serious failure, while some EV makers go further and cover degradation of charging capacity. Replacing a bad battery costs many thousands of dollars.
Your EV likely provides software on the navigation screen as well as a phone app that show charging stations. Google and Apple maps provide a similar service, as do apps and websites of charging-station networks.
But always have a backup stop in mind—you might arrive at a charging station and find that cars are lined up waiting or that some of the chargers are broken. Damaged or dysfunctional chargers have been a continuing issue for the industry.
Be sure to carry a portable charger with you—as a last resort you could plug it into any 120-volt outlet to get a dribble of juice.
Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’