It’s fair to say 2018 was marked by uncertainty—politically, socially, and morally. Designers and architects responded to modern life with varied antidotes. Some returned to simplicity. Others got sleek. And then there were those brave few that sought refuge in the strange.
1. Silq by Steelcase
Silq is the first of the Simple designs I loved this past year. A wonderful alternative to ever-adjustable ergonomic chairs, the intuitive Silq is surprisingly simple. A carbon fiber frame enables Silq to be “more organism than machine.”
2. Tim Rundle Collection by sp01
Australian brand sp01 gave us the Tim Rundle Collection, which explores lightness and geometry. Two lounge chairs interpret Sydney’s Art Deco heritage with luxe upholstery and slim frames.
3. Q6 Ottomans by Davis Furniture
The Q6 Ottomans by Davis Furniture also exemplified Simple design with tapered forms. My favorite is the gumdrop-shaped ottoman—looks good enough to eat.
4. BuzziMood by BuzziSpace
BuzziSpace inaugurated its BuzziMood noise control panels, which come in seven geometric shapes and two colors. Made of preserved reindeer moss (no watering required), BuzziMood brings nature inside in a playful shape-scape.
5. Ratio for Dada
Sleek designs in 2018 include Ratio, a new kitchen system based on the grid. Designed by Belgian architect Vincent Van Duysen, Ratio distills kitchen elements into linear forms, creating horizontal and vertical axes.
6. Edge by Franz Viegener
The Edge faucet by Argentinian luxury brand Franz Viegener also encapsulates the Sleek imperative. It is flat, arched, and precision engineered in the German tradition.
7. Drawing Room by Bentley
Winner of NeoCon Silver, Drawing Room includes four styles that are tailored and trendy. The carpet designs are sleek without being rigid.
8. PH Snowball by Louis Poulsen
You can’t get any more Sleek than the futuristic pendants created by Poul Henningsen for Louis Poulsen. The PH Snowball, originally created in 1958, makes a fabulous sphere out of spaced aluminum shades.
9. Fempower Collection by Flavor Paper
For escapists, Surreal visions did provide a fanciful alternative to quotidian living in 2018. Let’s start with the Fempower Collection by Flavor Paper, probably the number one company reinventing the wallpaper scene for this millennium. The five designs were created by women in celebration of women. Besides the subversive About Face and Placebo Effect, the chrome Mylar Sparklepuss is pure delight with its gargantuan stone-cut gems.
10. Utopian Fairytales by Moooi Carpets
Another Surreal favorite is Utopian Fairytales by Moooi Carpets. With its symmetrical kaleidoscope pattern, upon closer inspection this carpet reveals clever icons of modern life such as email envelopes, golden padlocks, and flying file folders.
11. Watercolour Collection by Nendo
Japanese designer Nendo arrived at Design Miami 2018 with his Watercolour Collection—a dreamscape of hand-painted, paper-thin metal furniture in ethereal blue and white. The whole scene represents impossible lightness—as if a fairy godmother had transformed origami animals into furniture.
12. Coal Office by Tom Dixon
Let’s end our review of 2018 with Tom Dixon’s Coal Office, the designer’s new headquarters that includes studio, workshop, office, shops, and restaurant. Located in London’s industrial Coal Drops Yard, Coal Office is a brick wonderscape, revealing arched chambers and serpentine halls. It’s the contemporary version of what fictional Alice might find at the other end of the rabbit hole—including golden globes, velvet poufs, and bird-shaped chaises.
Note: selections for Best of 2018 are solely based on the aesthetic preferences of the author. The products above do not reflect specification activity. For a list of the top specified performers for 2018, see our inaugural Spec*Stars Awards, winners to be announced on January 15.