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.
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Private club memberships and luxury cars are some of freebies on the table.
When Ryan Wolitzer was looking to buy an apartment in Miami Beach late last year, several beachfront properties caught his eye. All were two-bedroom homes in high-end buildings with amenities aplenty and featured glass walls, high ceilings and an abundance of natural light. But only The Continuum, in the city’s South of Fifth district, came with a gift: a membership to Residence Yacht Club, a private club that offers excursions on luxury yachts ranging from a day in south Florida to a month around the Caribbean. Residents receive heavily discounted charters on upscale boats that have premier finishes and are stocked with top shelf spirits and wine. Mr. Wolitzer, 25, who works for a sports agency, was sold.
“The access to high-end yachts swayed my decision to buy at The Continuum and is an incentive that I take full advantage of,” Mr. Wolitzer said. “It’s huge, especially in my business when I am dealing with high-profile sports players, to be able to give them access to these incredible boats where they experience great service. I know that they’ll be well taken care of.”
Freebies and perks for homeowners such as a private club membership are a mainstay in the world of luxury real estate and intended to entice prospective buyers to sign on the dotted line.
According to Jonathan Miller, the president and chief executive of the real estate appraisal and consulting firm Miller Samuel, they’re primarily a domestic phenomenon.
In the U.S. residential real estate market, gifts are offered by both developers who want to move apartments in their swanky buildings and individuals selling their homes. They range from modest to over-the-top, Mr. Miller said, and are more prevalent when the market is soft.
“When sales lag, freebies increase in a bid to incentivize buyers,” he said. “These days, sales are slowing, and inventory is rising after two years of being the opposite, which suggests that we may see more of them going forward.”
Many of these extras are especially present in South Florida, Mr. Miller said, where the market is normalizing after the unprecedented boom it saw during the pandemic. “The frenzy in South Florida was intense compared with the rest of the country because it became a place where people wanted to live full time,” he said. “Now that the numbers are inching toward pre-pandemic levels, freebies could push wavering buyers over the finish line.”
Kelly Killoren Bensimon, a real estate salesperson for Douglas Elliman in Miami and New York, said that the gifts that she has encountered in her business include everything from yacht access and use of a summer house to magnums of pricey wine. “One person I know of who was selling a US$5 million house in the Hamptons even threw in a free Mercedes 280SL,” she said. “They didn’t want to lower the price but were happy to sweeten the deal.”
A car, an Aston Martin to be exact, is also a lure at Aston Martin Residences in Miami’s Biscayne Bay. Buyers who bought one of the building’s 01 line apartments—a collection of 47 ocean-facing residences ranging in size from 325 to 362sqm and US$8.3 million to US$9 million in price—had their choice of the DBX Miami Riverwalk Special Edition or the DB11 Miami Riverwalk Special Edition. The DBX is Aston Martin’s first SUV and retails for around US$200,000. It may have helped propel sales given that all the apartments are sold out.
The US$59 million triplex penthouse, meanwhile, is still up for grabs, and the buyer will receive a US$3.2 million Aston Martin Vulcan track-only sports car, one of only 24 ever made.
“We want to give homeowners the chance to live the full Aston Martin lifestyle, and owning a beautiful Aston Martin is definitely a highlight of that,” said Alejandro Aljanti, the chief marketing officer for G&G Business Developments, the building’s developer. “We wanted to include the cars as part of the package for our more exclusive units.”
The US$800,000 furniture budget for buyers of the North Tower condominiums at The Estates at Acqualina in Sunny Isles, Florida, is another recent head-turning perk. The 94 residences sold out last year, according to president of sales Michael Goldstein, and had a starting price of US$6.3 million. “You can pick the furniture ahead of time, and when buyers move in later this year, all they’ll need is a toothbrush,” he said.
Then there’s the US$2 million art collection that was included in the sale of the penthouse residence at the Four Seasons Residences in Miami’s Brickell neighbourhood. The property recently sold for $15.9 million and spans 817sqm feet. Designed by the renowned firm ODP Architects, it features contemporary paintings and sculpture pieces from notable names such as the American conceptual artist Bill Beckley and the sculptor Tom Brewitz.
But it’s hard to top the millions of dollars of extras that were attached to the asking price in 2019 of the US$85 million 1393sqm duplex at the Atelier, in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen neighbourhood. The list included two Rolls-Royce Phantoms, a Lamborghini Aventador, a US$1 million yacht with five years of docking fees, a summer stay at a Hamptons mansion, weekly dinners for two at lavish French restaurant Daniel and a live-in butler and private chef for a year. And the most outrageous of all: a flight for two to space.
It turned out that the so-called duplex was actually a collection of several apartments and a listing that went unsold. It did, however, generate plenty of buzz among the press and in real estate circles and was a marketing success, according to Mr. Miller.
“A listing like this that almost seems unbelievable with all the gifts will get plenty of eyeballs but is unlikely to push sales,” he said. “Empirically, it’s not an effective tactic.”
On the other hand, Mr. Miller said that more reasonable but still generous freebies, such as the membership to a yacht club, have the potential to push undecided buyers to go for the sale. “A nice but not too lavish gift won’t be the singular thing toward their decision but can be a big factor,” he said. “It’s a feel-good incentive that buyers think they’re getting without an extra cost.”
Examples of these bonuses include a membership to the 1 Hotel South Beach private beach club that buyers receive with the purchase of a residence at Baccarat Residences Brickell, or the one-year membership to the Grand Bay Beach Club in Key Biscayne for those who spring for a home at Casa Bella Residences by B&B Italia, located in downtown Miami and a residential project from the namesake renowned Italian furniture brand. The price of a membership at the Grand Bay Beach Club is usually a US$19,500 initiation fee and US$415 in monthly dues.
Still enticing but less expensive perks include the two-hour cruise around New York on a wooden Hemmingway boat, valued at US$1,900, for buyers at Quay Tower, at Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York City. The building’s developer, Robert Levine, said that he started offering the boat trip in July to help sell the remaining units. “We’re close to 70% sold, but, of course, I want everything to go,” he said.
There’s also the US$1,635 Avalon throw blanket from Hermes for those who close on a unit at Ten30 South Beach, a 33-unit boutique condominium; in Manhattan’s Financial District, a custom piece of art from the acclaimed artist James Perkins is gifted to buyers at Jolie, a 42-story building on Greenwich Street. Perkins said the value of the piece depends on the home purchase price, but the minimum is US$4,000. “The higher end homes get a more sizable work,” he said.
When gifts are part of a total real estate package, the sale can become emotional and personal, according to Chad Carroll, a real estate agent with Compass in South Florida and the founder of The Carroll Group. “If the freebie appeals to the buyer, the transaction takes on a different dynamic,” he said. “A gift becomes the kicker that they love the idea of having.”
Speaking from his own experience, Mr. Carroll said that sellers can also have an emotional connection to the exchange. “I was selling my house in Golden Isles last year for US$5.4 million and included my jet ski and paddle boards,” he said. “The buyers were a family with young kids and absolutely loved the water toys.” Mr. Carroll could have held out for a higher bidder, he said, but decided to accept their offer. “I liked them and wanted them to create the same happy memories in the home that I did,” he said.
The family moved in a few months later.