Top 10 furniture designs of 2022

What truly makes or breaks a home at the end of the day is the furniture that’s placed in it. The right kind of furniture design can create the essence and soul of a home. And I do feel it’s essential that the soul of our home is a reflection of our own soul. Hence picking furniture pieces that bring out the best in our homes, while authentically representing our personality is a must. You need to pick designs that are fun, sophisticated, and functional. And we came across a couple of excellent designs in 2022! They will add an extra spark to your home, without compromising on utility and functionality in the least. From a unique bookshelf that doubles up as a side table to a coffin-inspired office chair – these intriguing furniture designs are what your modern home needs in 2023.

1. Coffin Office Chair

Are you someone who absolutely despises your dead-end corporate job, well then, we may have found the chair for you! Shaped like a coffin, this wooden chair recently took the internet by storm. A Twitter user shared it on September 7th, and everyone who’s downright fed up with their jobs wholly resonated with it.

Why is it noteworthy?

The conceptual coffin chair perfectly represents all the dreaded emotions employees feel throughout their workday. It reflects the feeling of doom one experiences, as they have to sit through another pointless meeting that could have been an email.

What we like

  • Inspired by Rene Magritte’s painting titled The Balcony (1950)
  • Perfectly captures the feeling of having a dead-end job

What we dislike

  • It’s a concept!
  • There’s no cozy cushioning to get comfy in

2. The Bookgroove

We’re seeing a lot of product concepts for tables, shelves, and sideboards that can house books so designers need to create something that will stand out. And one such design is Bookgroove. The Bookgroove is a bookrack and table in one that has a pretty unique shape.

Why is it noteworthy?

The table itself is circular at first glance but there’s an almost J-shaped carving on one side that can fit several books. It’s not the most usual way to store books as they have to follow the shape of the built-in shelf on the side table

What we like

  • You can place a cup of coffee or glass of wine on the top part
  • It’s a fun way to store your favorite books

What we dislike

  • The books that will be at the bottom of the curve may get damaged over time because of their positioning
  • It’s also probably difficult to get some of the books when you want to read them

3. The Intersection Table

Architecture studio Snøhetta designed a beautiful table crafted from wood sourced from the bottom of a lake called Pieman Lake in Tasmania, Australia. Called the Intersection table, the minimalist table is constructed using Tasmanian oak sourced by Hydrowood – “one of the world’s first underwater forestry companies”.

Why is it noteworthy?

As part of Snøhetta’s ongoing exploration of defining valuable use of new and forgotten material technologies, the worktable is the first exploration into wood aged at the depth of a lake for decades. The table was created by Snøhetta’s Adelaide and Oslo offices and was in fact handmade via traditional woodworking techniques. The tabletop features an impressive torsion box construction, which mimics the wings of an airplane.

What we like

  • This torsion box construction supports large cantilevers which provide rigidity and structure
  • The Intersection Table boasts a form that is meant to represent “the endless Australian coast”

What we dislike

  • A bulky design that occupies a lot of space

4. Wooden Arcade Cabinet

We’ve seen many of these “old school” designs surface in the past few years, thanks to successful “retro mini” revivals of popular consoles from a few decades ago. Of course, not all revivals have to stick to those same old designs, especially when there’s plenty of room to see these old giants in a new light. This arcade cabinet, for example, offers the same functionality as its predecessors but puts it inside a bare, minimalist wooden structure that looks stylish and perfect for a luxurious room.

Why is it noteworthy?

Unlike conventional arcade cabinets, this design can hardly be called a “cabinet” because of its shape. Instead of a large box, this arcade cabinet only has the outer “skin,” showing only the silhouette of the gaming contraption. In fact, it also has its sides left out so that you’ll only see the outline of its profile when seen from the sides. Unlike a typical cabinet as well, this interpretation has its back tapered a bit, streamlining the design and minimizing space.

What we like

  • It has plenty of curves that give it a softer personality
  • This arcade cabinet almost looks more like an art piece paying homage to the golden age of arcades

What we dislike

  • It’s still a concept!

5. Sharing Joy

Rather aptly titled ‘Sharing Joy’, this award-winning chair comes with a side table for humans to place their books and cups of tea/coffee on, and a crawl space for cats to casually lounge in (complete with a suspended toy for them to play with).

Why is it noteworthy?

What I personally love about Sharing Joy is that it subscribes to a broader vision of what lounging is and who can ‘lounge’. Designed for humans and cats to cozy up in, the chair comes with a hollow, oblong backrest that’s perfectly sized for an adult cat (or a tiny dog) to crawl into and laze around in. Moreover, the idea of having the human and pet lounging together against each other sounds like absolute perfection. 10/10 will give you the happiness hormones.

What we like

  • The chair sports a minimalist aesthetic that fits in most contemporary homes

What we dislike

  • No complaints!

6. The Plot Twist Bookshelf

PLOT TWIST Bookshelves

PLOT TWIST Bookshelf Concept

German furniture designer Deniz Aktay always manages to mesmerize us with his unconventional and innovative furniture designs. One of his recent creations is called the Plot Twist Bookshelf, and it features four separate twisted wooden elements. They are connected to each other, shaping and creating a stable form.

Why is it noteworthy?

The bookshelf’s design allows it to be accessed from every side. As with most of Deniz Aktay’s product designs, this bookshelf is oddly satisfying. The curves are present as with the designer’s other projects. In addition, most of Aktay’s works have undergone some bending or twisting, as with the Wavelet, the Tie Stool, and The Pet Table.

What we like

  • The shelves can accommodate similarly sized books for a clutter-free look
  • The bookshelf is stable and stands on its own

What we dislike

  • Space consuming design

7. Crossbred

Having something that can serve multiple functions at once is definitely better, and that’s what Crossbred tries to offer on a slightly smaller scale.

Why is it noteworthy?

The furniture’s name speaks to both its form as well as its function. It looks like an “X” or a cross, as some might call it, standing steadily on the tip of its two legs. It’s a hollow cross through and through, and all five spaces can be used to store anything from books to knickknacks. That said, given their inclined surfaces, it obviously isn’t a good idea to put something that requires a perfectly horizontal plane, like some fragile decor or even a picture frame.

What we like

  • Multifunctional design
  • Perfectly integrates with modern homes

What we dislike

  • No complaints!

8. The Diag Desk

This beautiful, minimal, and modern desk is called the Diag Desk. It’s built to optimize storage space while integrating storage elements such as removable leather compartments. As simple and minimal as the desk is, it doesn’t lack functionality or practicality in any form.

Why is it noteworthy?

Considering its minimalist build, more space can be devoted to the desk’s tabletop, where most of the desk’s purpose is reserved. The Diag Desk from Polish designer Marek Błażucki is one kind of minimalist design that integrates storage systems into its build, ensuring that users have ample desk space while still keeping their necessary stationery within arm’s reach.

What we like

  • Integrates ample storage systems into its build
  • Ensures stationery doesn’t fall off

What we dislike

  • There are a lot of visually similar desks on the market

9. The Linoleum Collection

A graduate of Design Academy Eindhoven, Lina Chi decided to revamp the usage of linoleum – by creating a collection of curvy and quirky furniture designs built from single sheets of linoleum. Quite aptly named ‘Linoleum’, Chi hopes to reinvent the material and provide it with a new identity.

Why is it noteworthy?

The Linoleum collection consists of a bench, two stools, and a low table. Linoleum is a material that has been existing for ages. It is primarily used as flooring, although it can be used as furniture.  It is a material that is quite common in spaces – such as schools, kitchens, and hospitals but is often mistaken to be plastic since they both have a similar appearance. Chi wanted to rebrand linoleum and present it in a new light.

What we like

  • Sculptural + visually pleasing
  • Reimagination of a familiar material

What we dislike

  • Not everyone may like furniture created from linoleum

10. The Dune

There is something about loose sand that gives people a peaceful feeling, whether it’s sand on the beach or sand in zen gardens. There is one other location where such sand exists, but not everyone will want to travel to the desert just to enjoy such a view. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to recreate that imagery at home and this center table concept design is arguably one of the most gorgeous.

Why is it noteworthy?

The Dune table’s name makes clear its inspiration, which might not be immediately apparent simply from its form. Unlike a gently sloping dune, the table’s base rises and falls in an almost random pattern. This creates forms, edges, and corners that wouldn’t be normally possible with natural dunes. Along with its blue hue, however, it gives the table an almost mystical and otherworldly character that only adds to its soothing visual.

What we like

  • The tabletop also follows this amorphous design, forming an irregular shape rather than a typical circle or ellipse. It gives a perfect view of the man-made dune underneath, serving both functional and aesthetic duties

What we dislike

  • It’s still a concept!

The post Top 10 furniture designs of 2022 first appeared on Yanko Design.

Top 10 automotive designs of 2022

We’ve been seeing a torrential and exciting downpour of automotive designs at Yanko Design in 2022. Each automotive was innovative, bringing to us something we had never seen nor experienced before. From killer speed to dashing good looks, to impenetrable safety standards, every automotive we featured at YD broke some design barrier for us, and hopefully, they did the same for you as well. Hence, we’ve curated a collection of automotive designs that we feel were the best of the lot in 2022. From an intriguing Apple Car 1 concept to a Cybertruck-inspired Tesla Model M bike – each of these drool-worthy automobiles is mercilessly pushing the boundaries of the automotive industry. Automotive enthusiasts will be itching to get their hands on them, and take them for a spin on the streets!

1. Model M

Model M is designed keeping in mind the tight urban spaces, hence, the detachable handlebars make complete sense. The electronic kickstand makes the ride easy to park without any hassles. When it comes to adventure escapades, Tesla Model M has your needs covered. Right where the fuel tank of traditional bikes is, there is a detachable bag with its own battery that powers the lights and the multimedia system. The bag comes with its own start/stop system that acts as an anti-theft mechanism.

2. The Fordzilla Hypervan

Dubbed the Fordzilla Hypervan, this dune buggy derives its overall inspiration from the reptilians. The matte black color it’s draped in is a tell-tale sign of its Godzilla design influence. If you see that typical Batmobile influence, you are not alone! The occurrence of matte orange hues on the outside and inside highlight the sharp character of the ride. The battery on the rear indicates its rear-wheel-drive origins, and therefore, a better balance and handling. The Hypervan gets all glass doors that are gull-winged, and look absolutely gorgeous. These doors are an extension of the windshield and panoramic glass roof which adds a sense of airiness to the four-wheeler.

3. The WAYRA EV-03

The WAYRA EV-03 electric cruiser motorcycle is a 100 percent no-gimmick concept that’ll please every kind of rider – be it a cruiser enthusiast, performance lover, or off-roading fanatic. WAYRA EV-03 is a bike high on personality, created keeping in mind the heritage of fat-bikes and cruiser-length bikes, while also having those minimal eye-catchy modern touches to create visual appeal. The presence of café racer aesthetics can also not be denied owing to the low-slung rider positioning. The element of drag racing is evident courtesy of the stretched rear, but the high ride height gives off that dirt bike racer vibe too.

4. The Muji Honda MS01 Electric Bike

Meet the Muji Honda MS01 electric bike inspired by the MUJI H-Type bicycle. The black and white theme on this one is a testament to the MUJI’s mellowed-down styling – in fact, the company’s artistic director Kenya Hara did most of the design bit of the bike himself. All the equipment and power of the MS01 come from the house of Honda. It is a very balanced collaboration, resulting in this minimalist two-wheeler ideal for city rides and beyond.

5. Citroën La 2 Deuche Concept

The legendary 1945 Citroën 2CV often referred to as the umbrella on wheels had a fixed profile convertible bodywork and roll-back sunroof. To revive the nostalgic memories of this economy family car, designer Jean Louis Bui has penned an electric concept in a modern avatar. Dubbed the Citroën La 2 Deuche Concept, this cheeky mini car has a sense of airiness to it. Retro DNA of the vehicle is visible in the section over the wheels, the headlights, and the accordion-like retracting rooftop which turns it into a convertible.

6. Yamaev’s Tricycle Scooter

Designed by Alexander Yamaev, this oddly eye-catching tricycle scooter concept comes with a rectangular side profile that slices through the air the way a credit card swipes through a payment machine, and a unique wheel setup featuring a massive front wheel that surrounds the scooter’s transparent bubble-shaped cockpit, and two rear wheels that separate at low speeds for stability and unite at high speeds for maneuverability. The ideas that Yamaev’s concept presents are certainly radical, with a design so groundbreakingly unique it’ll make the Cybertruck look outdated.

7. Volvo EV

Created as a weekend project by the designer, this sustainable vehicle design is surprisingly rooted in a telephone doodle inspiration. The typical electric car aesthetics are apparent in the form of a sharp, edgy design language. The hood of the car has a geometric pattern that gives it a sci-fi appeal and the rear has a typically squarish persona to it. Right from the headlights, side profile to the taillights and the roof carrier all have a definitive geometry to them. The designer has kept the widebody stance of this Volvo very upfront, suggesting its dominating road presence.

8. The Apple Car 1 Concept

The Apple Car 1 concept is yet another iteration of the Cupertino giant’s most anticipated project to date that’s longing for fruition. The core idea of Apple’s concept car gravitates around a minimalistic and elegant form. That Magic Mouse resemblance is deliberate, defining the flowing lines of the next-generation car that’ll most probably be an evolved self-driving vehicle. The Magic Mouse inspiration lends the Apple Car 1 a dropping motion to the front and rear for balanced volume. Another inspiration comes from the Airpods Pro for a heightened sense of power and dominance on the road – hence the bulged-out wheel section for muscular profile and overall contrast.

9. The Polestar CP1 Concept

The Polestar CP1 Concept is a culmination of the future polestar motorbike with a performance akin to current-day gas-powered bikes. The brainchild of Lukasw Wenzhöfer takes shape as a likable realistic version of the Polestar sports bike you’d see unless some other designer envisions it better. Like the four-wheeled counterparts, this Polestar EV bike has a very geometric, edgy design. The high riding position reinforces the ride’s performance status backed with the high-grade suspension system. The focus of this design is on ergonomics and functionality. So, those good looks are not merely for the eye candy factor, but rather for a defined shape that makes complete practical sense.

10. The 2024 Ford Mustang

The 2024 Ford Mustang is here with a toned muscular look (the four-wheeler has been working out it seems) and tech-infused interiors. The bodywork is now edgier and loses some of the contours, confirming its appeal to the new generation. Of course, the 2024 Mustang retains the attractive proportions of its predecessors, and that’s a big relief. The front end is inspired by the original Mustang with a more squarish aesthetic. That’s contrasted by the headlights with tri-bar LED elements and the three-bar taillights which are even more prominent now. The rear overhang is now shorter and the hips are slightly wider for that sex appeal.

The post Top 10 automotive designs of 2022 first appeared on Yanko Design.

Top 10 Apple concepts of 2022

Since its foundation in 1976, Apple has been always been at the peak of modern innovation! And let’s take a moment to appreciate all the awesome products and inspiration Apple has provided us with. The groundbreaking tech giant never fails to surprise us, we always find ourselves biting our nails and squirming with curiosity, whenever Apple announces a new product launch! Their ingenious and mesmerizing designs and design philosophy have inspired and influenced designers all over the world, resulting in some pretty unique Apple-inspired designs. And we encountered some pretty amazing Apple-inspired concepts in 2022!  From a folding iPhone that Apple didn’t announce during the keynote but they should have to an Apple Car 1 concept that embodies the brand’s award-winning design philosophy and an exciting self-driving function – these mind-blowing designs are the best of the lot and a dream for every Apple lover. We can’t help but just hope that Apple converts these into a reality in 2023!

1. The iPhone iFold

Meet the iPhone iFold, a concept foldable from the mind of Michal Dufka. The iPhone iFold (although Apple would probably call it the iPhone Dynamic Clamshell) follows the format of the MotoRAZR and the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, with a clamshell-style folding design that gives you the benefit of a compact iPhone with a generously large screen. This is the first iPhone to have two displays. With a smaller display located just to the side of the camera bump, the iPhone iFold lets you access essential stats and notifications without opening your phone. Sort of like having the convenience of an Apple Watch, this secondary display gives you the gist of what’s up.

2. Apple Car 1 Concept

The core idea of Apple’s concept car gravitates around a minimalistic and elegant form. That Magic Mouse resemblance is deliberate, defining the flowing lines of the next-generation car that’ll most probably be an evolved self-driving vehicle. The Magic Mouse inspiration lends the Apple Car 1 a dropping motion to the front and rear for balanced volume. Another inspiration comes from the Airpods Pro for a heightened sense of power and dominance on the road – hence the bulged-out wheel section for muscular profile and overall contrast.

3. The Apple Watch Series X

Titled the Apple Watch Series X, this quirky concept gives you a smartwatch with a larger folding screen, allowing you to use it as a de-facto iPhone. After all, your watch can make phone calls, right? The Apple Watch Series X is your regular foldable, in the sense that it comes with a primary screen on the front, and opens like a book to reveal a ‘larger’ secondary screen on the inside. Obviously, I use the word ‘larger’ rather loosely, considering how small the Apple Watch’s form factor is, to begin with. Designed to sit on your wrist, this foldable concept turns the square-shaped WatchOS interface into a more traditional landscape one, unlocking the possibility for a lot of regular apps to make their way onto the wristwatch, including better Netflix and YouTube-watching experiences.

4. Kim’s Apple Glasses Concept

The Apple Glass prototype that we have seen fluttering on the internet is currently believed to feature a plastic frame. Apple could though consider something that Eunho Kim has conceived in his concept: A detachable metal frame that clips to the temple of the round glasses. As we learn, Apple will be placing a LiDAR scanner on the right temple, and the clip-on arm may take some tinkering. Still, since Apple is reportedly refraining from using any other camera on the glasses, it could be an option to consider.

5. The Apple Car

Meet the Apple Car, from the mind of an AI. Designed by Dall-E 2 based on a text prompt from designer, educator, and YouTuber John Mauriello, this Apple Car is fascinating for two prime reasons – the car’s design itself, but more importantly, the underlying AI technology that ended up creating the car. The genesis for this idea came from Marques Brownlee’s own efforts with DALL-E 2. In a YouTube video, Brownlee demonstrated how simply typing the words “Apple Car” resulted in a car that looked like the apple fruit.

6. Apple AirPods Pro 2022

In line with the leaks and speculations about Apple’s upcoming flagship earbuds, designer Konstantin Milenin has created this concept AirPods Pro 2022 model to give our imagination a tangible form. The stemless design of the audio accessories looks minimal and compact. The charging case also gets a flatter design to accommodate these little earbuds. Unlike the current version, these lay flat on their belly like a clamshell design, and don’t have an upright stance. This will mean, a lot less space needed to stash them in your pocket or keep them in the bag pack.

7. All-screen Apple MacBook Concept

This different species Apple MacBook will, Antonio defines, support TouchID (as a slide button), a trimmed version of FaceID, and a gorgeous AirPen to scribble neatly on the generously big screen. All-display foldable Mac may lack a physical keyboard but the design here makes provision for the choice to pull up a digital keyboard with haptic feedback for the real typing feel. Fanboys may or may not fancy the idea of an all-screen MacBook, but there is little denying the fact that such a device will have dual usage. An iPad role to play when folded and a full-fledged laptop when open.

8. iPhone V

This modded iPhone folds in half and is called the iPhone V. In addition to the folding function, the modder has been able to keep the phone pretty authentic by running iOS, and a screen as good as the Retina display. It’s an interesting concept that however substantiates the fact that foldable phones with more screen real estate look good but only if the folding mechanism and the thickness can be perfected.

9. The Apple Car AVA

The Apple Car concepts we’ve come across have ranged from practical ones to completely crazy ones. This one lies in the former pool with its well-sough out design. The designer envisions the concept for the year 2026, so it’s not far off the rumored timeline. The AVA concept has the familiar contoured silhouette on the corners, and the streamlined flowing aesthetic associated with the Apple product line-up; especially the current iPhone 13 flagship. The balanced aerodynamic front and rear built of the four-seater sedan looks attractive and highly practical, to say the least.

10. The Apple Magic Charger

Looking somewhat like the iPhone Lightning Dock, the Apple Magic Charger is based on a metal stand, which features a metallic puck integrated within its square rim. The device is likely made of anodized aluminum while the round charging area within is rubberized. Interestingly the aluminum stand allows the charger to be pushed into a vertical position to charge the connected iPhone. Reportedly, and as suggested by the available images, the Magic Charger was designed to keep the connected iPhone upright and in a horizontal position; perhaps this limitation of use could have been a reason the magic was never done outside of the Apple production lines!

The post Top 10 Apple concepts of 2022 first appeared on Yanko Design.

Top 10 pet products of 2022

As much as I love spending time with my own cats, I’m honestly running out of ways to keep them entertained and prevent them from knocking down an item or two in my home, out of sheer boredom. If you’re pretty much in the same precarious situation as me and are always looking for new ways to keep your pet entertained, productive, and happy, then this collection of pet products promises to come to your rescue! We’ve put together some of the best pet products we came across in 2022, and they deserve a place in 2023 as well; From a Dyson pet grooming kit to a pet carrier that doubles as a bed – these product designs will take good care of your pet, and keep them active and content. You can take a little breather, while they wrestle around with these newfound fun products! These are the pet products you need in your home.

1. Sharing Joy

Rather aptly titled ‘Sharing Joy’, this award-winning chair comes with a side table for humans to place their books and cups of tea/coffee on, and a crawl space for cats to casually lounge in (complete with a suspended toy for them to play with).

Why is it noteworthy?

What I personally love about Sharing Joy is that it subscribes to a broader vision of what lounging is and who can ‘lounge’. Designed for humans and cats to cozy up in, the chair comes with a hollow, oblong backrest that’s perfectly sized for an adult cat (or a tiny dog) to crawl into and laze around in. Moreover, the idea of having the human and pet lounging together against each other sounds like absolute perfection. 10/10 will give you the happiness hormones.

What we like

  • Sports a minimalist aesthetic that fits in most contemporary homes
  • Comes with a soft design language that’s inviting to humans and cats alike

What we dislike

  • No complaints!

2. Dmuse

Dmuse is a sauna-like drying chamber for cats to have a comfortable place to dry themselves after a bath.

Why is it noteworthy?

While getting cats into the bathtub for cleaning can feel like pulling your own teeth, it’s only half the battle. Then comes the water and we all know how cats deal with that. Take that in addition to drying your cat in a towel and you’ll end up with scratches and tooth marks up and down your arms. Introducing Dmuse, Designer Dot created a drying chamber that doubles as a cat tower as a solution for cats to have a more comfortable way of drying themselves.

What we like

  • A collection of control options manage the device’s temperature, strength, timer, and heat fan
  • Dmuse doubly operates as a cat tower for cats to rest and play even when they’re dry

What we dislike

  • We’re not sure if cats would actually enter the chamber

3. Burrow

Burrow for one ousts the regular bag appearance and those sharp-edge cage aesthetics for a pleasing design with safe corners. The functional design has a convenient push-button door and comes padded with a removable mattress for the pet to cozy up in. The walls are safe and well-ventilated. Ventilation is enhanced by a mesh door that would let the little pal peek outside and breathe fresh.

Why is it noteworthy?

What really makes the Burrow pet carrier stand out for me is its detachable design. It is built in two sections: the top and bottom being separable. The sections are enclosed with loop and hook closure which makes it easy to clip and clip off. When torn separately, the base of the pet carrier doubles as a bed.

What we like

  • Multipurpose design
  • Comes in four versatile colors

What we dislike

  • It’s still a concept!

4. The Safer Automobile Pet Crate

This dog crate is meant to be a safe space for your pet while they’re riding with you on a short or long road trip. The Safer Automobile Pet Crate doesn’t really look like an actual crate but more like an enclosed baby seat for your fur babies.

Why is it noteworthy?

It is meant to be placed behind the front passenger seat and is secured with a harness to the headrest and a seatbelt for the back part. This way, even when you’re driving fast (or as fast as you’re allowed), the crate will stay in place and your pet be safe.

What we like

  • It is made from lightweight polyester and has a breathable mesh on both sides so your dog will not feel suffocated as it can still breathe and feel the breeze if your windows are down

What we dislike

  • No complaints!

5. The Cottage Dog House

The Cottage dog house is a minimalist dog house made from metallic elements and eco-friendly felt coverings.

Why is it noteworthy?

Your dog deserves a corner of the home to call its own. Whether that means creating your own pillow fort around your dog’s bed or buying the latest, greatest dog house that only fits in the backyard, it’s up to you. Typically, dogs aren’t too fussy and they’ll find comfort wherever there’s a hint of it–on your lap or under the couch. The Cottage dog house from LSY and Jaeyeon Choi is a new kind of minimalist dog house that taps into comfort with a felt covering and sturdy build.

What we like

  • The internal cushion is meant to provide ultimate comfort for your canine friend
  • The removable roof allows for open-air or semi-enclosed sleeping

What we dislike

  • The aesthetics are a bit too simple

6. Doze

Doze is a side table where you can put some of your stuff while working, like a notebook or a cup of coffee or a glass of wine to energize you or just some pieces of decoration. The space for your stuff is actually a removable tray that you can attach or remove.

Why is it noteworthy?

The important part of this furniture though is the semi-enclosed space that is made for your pet dog. Whether they just want to rest in it or play on their own while keeping a close eye on you while you work, the dog bed seems to be pretty comfortable. It has a customizable bed cover that is made from hypoallergenic memory foam so it is both comfy and also good for their joints and bones. Memory foam is known to distribute the user’s weight and remember their shape.

What we like

  • The side table that is also a dog bed benefits both the pet and the owner
  • Help you in your productivity and does not make you want to doze off when you see your dog comfortably napping in their bed

What we dislike

  • No complaints!

7. Petpartment

Petpartment is a concept for a space for both the cat and the cat owner so you can have a “beautiful life with your beloved pets”. What makes it different from the usual cat trees is that it doesn’t just let your cat be like Obi-Wan Kenobi and have the higher ground. It’s actually meant to be decorative and functional for both of you and hide those interiors that you don’t want them to harm while they’re playing or going about their day.

Why is it noteworthy?

The architecture of this pet apartment is well thought out and actually has four different angles with different functions as well. The front view is a showcase of the material used which is red oak and stainless steel. It looks like a bookshelf but instead of filling it with books, you can fill it with a cat or two.

What we like

  • Nice piece of furniture to have, even if you don’t have pets
  • Works well for humans and felines

What we dislike

  • Don’t know if we can trust cats to be around books

8. MyZoo

MyZoo, a cat goods company, designs modern cat furniture that caters to your cat’s every need, while not disrupting your interior design. Solar, one of their more recent designs, is a wall-mountable floating cat bed that mounts onto any vertical surface so cats rest midair in their own designated space.

Why is it noteworthy?

Shaped like the sun, Solar is a small, but sturdy floating cat bed that’s built from pinewood. In a similar fashion to their other pieces of cat furniture, MyZoo lined Solar with a slotted resting platform for safe jumping. Ideal for small spaces, Solar provides a resting spot and jumping platform for your cat and saves space in the meantime.

What we like

  • Solar doesn’t take up any ground space and easily mounts to any wall where there’s room
  • Easy to assemble

What we dislike

  • There’s no cushioning on the bed, which would make it comfier

9. The Dyson Pet Grooming Kit

If you’re a pet parent, and you’re looking for a handy product to break down and ease up your pet’s cleaning process – then the Dyson Pet Grooming Kit is the product for you.

Why is it noteworthy?

The grooming kit is specifically tailored for dogs and cats. Both species tend to shed a lot – depending on the season and the breed. Instead of constantly vacuuming your home, and getting rid of all the shed fur, the grooming kit includes nifty accessories, which let you tackle the problem at its root (quite literally).

What we like

  • Makes your pet’s after-bath ritual less noisy and jarring, hence eliminating some of the stress they often experience during these sessions
  • The kit also includes an extension hose, which provides you with more than 3 feet of flexibility

What we dislike

  • You cannot use the accessories without a Dyson vacuum cleaner

10. The KIVI

The KIVI is a GoPro-inspired camera that’s designed to strap directly onto a pet collar, giving you the most glorious PoV of all time. Just plug it on your dog while playing fetch or at the beach, or onto your cat while you’re at work, and you can live the good life right from their perspective.

Why is it noteworthy?

Armed with a single lens sitting in a cube-shaped form (with a built-in flashlight no less), KIVI sits on your pet’s collar, recording everything they do and see. There aren’t any details on the action camera (given that it’s a form exercise and not a professional concept), but I’d imagine that without a display (like the one on the GoPro), the KIVI has fairly long battery life.

What we like

  • Designed to be collar-compatible

What we dislike

  • It’s still a concept!

The post Top 10 pet products of 2022 first appeared on Yanko Design.

Top 10 tiny homes of 2022

It’s my favorite time of the year – when I get to explore and deep dive into the best tiny homes we’ve encountered in the entire year! Sustainability has been running through everybody’s mind. Ever since the pandemic shook up our world in 2020, we’ve been trying to incorporate sustainability into every aspect of our life, including our homes. And, with everyone aspiring toward’s eco-friendly and mindful ways of living, tiny homes have completely taken over the world of architecture and cemented their place as sustainable, minimal, and economical micro-living setups. What started off as a cute little trend is now turning into a serious option for home spaces. You could say that 2022 was the year of tiny homes! And I do believe this will continue well into 2023. They are a space-saving and eco-friendly living solution that reduces the load on Mother Earth. They’re simple and minimal alternatives to the imposing and materialistic homes that seem to have taken over. And they’re here to stay in 2023. We’ve curated a wide range of micro-home setups that totally grabbed our attention in 2022! From an AI-enabled budget-friendly tiny home to a prefab tiny home that is a smart mobile unit – there’s a tiny home in here for everyone.

1. Coodo

A couple of years ago, German entrepreneur Mark Dare Schmiedel got pretty fed up with the chaos of Berlin and decided to move to the countryside, building his own quaint loft along the banks of the River Spree. The peace, calm, and zen that followed, got him wondering whether it would be possible to create a similar, but a mobile form of home, that could provide the same sanctuary to others. In his quest for such a retreat, he came across a mobile home concept designed by a group of Slovenian architects called ‘Coodo’. Schmiedel went on to procure the design rights of the concept, through his company LTG Lofts to Go and kickstarted the production of the units. The modular homes aim to bring you closer to nature, to a space away from the crowds, where you can truly enjoy the beauty of a moment.

Why is it noteworthy?

It features a curved and minimal steel frame with rounded edges and stunning floor-to-ceiling glass walls. The beautiful glass walls allow a generous stream of sunlight to enter the home. Whether on rooftops in the city, on beaches, on mountains or alongside a river, the Coodo can be easily installed almost anywhere.

What we like

  • Integrated utilization of smart home technology
  • Adherence to Passive House standards

What we dislike

  • No complaints!

2. Cube One

Low-cost, prefabricated, and ready-to-live-in homes are all the rage right now! And tiny home builder Nestron has jumped on the bandwagon with their latest AI-enabled home ‘Cube One’. Cube One is a 156-square-foot home perfect for all kinds of residents – from single youngsters to large families. The value-for-money home has been equipped with built-in furnishings, voice-controlled tech, and a galvanized steel shell that not only lends it a sci-fi feel but also protects it from extreme temperatures and natural disasters.

Why is it noteworthy?

Much like a Rubik’s Cube, the dynamic Cube One can be customized and played around with! The interior can be customized with various add-ons and trimmings, including a kitchen with a bar counter, a wardrobe, a bed, a living area, and a shower accompanied by a toilet and laundry machine. It also comes fully equipped with smart technology which is experienced in the form of color-controllable LED lighting, a television, a sound system, and air conditioning.

What we like

  • Built from recyclable materials
  • AI-enabled

What we dislike

  • Eco-friendly and sustainable elements like a compostable toilet, solar panels, and electric-heated flooring are integrated at an additional cost

3. The Dodo Van

Juan Alberto Andrade and Maria Jose Váscones Dodo Van

Juan Alberto Andrade and Maria Jose Váscones Dodo Van

The Dodo Van has been designed for a young couple who wants to live in a smaller place. The 1993 Chevy van was actually purchased for work and travel. Inside the van, you can see a full-sized mattress and a kitchenette with a fold-up dining table, and more.

Why is it noteworthy?

The Dodo Van is a design exercise that challenges transformation, limitations, and spatiality. The designers considered the needs of the young pair working with local communities. They are also frequent travelers who love to explore new places. They only take with them their essentials, so a small mobile home is just right.

What we like

  • For thermo-acoustic proper insulation, rock wool was actually used on the ceiling, walls, and the floor
  • There is an independent battery connected to the vehicle’s alternator for electricity

What we dislike

  • The Dodo Van is small but it can comfortably accommodate a group of people

4. Tind

David and Jeanette Reiss-Andersen, cofounders of the Oslo-based tiny home company Norske Mikrohus, decided to build an eco-friendly and affordable alternative to the pricier standard-size homes available on the market.” We wanted to create something for people looking for a way out of the rental and mortgage markets—something for those who want easy access to nature and to live with fewer possessions,” said David. And their efforts led to the birth of ‘Tind’ – a beautiful wood-wrapped tiny home built in Norwegian style.

Why is it noteworthy?

Not only is Tind built from environmentally friendly Nordic materials, but it was also designed to withstand Nordic weather conditions. Tind was designed with one important goal in mind – to encourage flexibility and freedom. It’s a home you can move around in and take wherever you want to.

What we like

  • Sustainable + eco-friendly
  • Inspired by Norwegian aesthetics

What we dislike

  • No complaints!

5. Base Cabins’s Tiny Home

Tiny home builder Base Cabin collaborated with Matt Goodman Architecture Office to create this super minimalistic tiny home on wheels inspired by the simplicity of livestock sheds.

Why is it noteworthy?

The clean and simple home was designed to beautifully merge with farms, vineyards, or even the Australian bush. The aim was to ensure that the residents feel one with the surroundings and that there is no sense of separation between the home and the landscape.

What we like

  • Although the home occupies a tiny footprint, it is made to feel more spacious than it is, owing to the placement of operable windows
  • By integrating a lot of the functional storage requirements into the walls, they were able to maximize the floor space

What we dislike

  • No complaints!

6. Common Knowledge x Tigín Tiny Homes

Irish social enterprise Common Knowledge has collaborated with Tigín Tiny Homes to create low-carbon micro homes that are meant to provide sustainable and economical housing solutions to people struggling to buy their own homes. Currently, property prices in Ireland are increasing by 11 percent every year, and this project hopes to tackle this ongoing housing crisis, and “empower people to take action on the housing and climate crises.”

Why is it noteworthy?

Besides building these sustainable and affordable dwellings, they are also providing training schemes to teach residents how to build and repair their own homes! The founder of Common Knowledge, Fionn Kidney said, “Ultimately, the plan of our Tigín project is not just to build these Tiny Homes, but to teach more than two hundred people with the skills to build these or any other project themselves, whilst creating and releasing a free-to-use blueprint at the end of this year.”

What we like

  • The twenty-square-foot homes feature a facade of corrugated hemp panels, cork insulation, and natural rubber flooring
  • The homes are spread out across two levels, giving them a spacious feel, although they are compactly sized

What we dislike

  • Not the most aesthetically pleasing homes

7. Buster

Buster is located in Matamata, just a couple of hours away from Auckland, New Zealand. You will be able to hear the sound of spring river water flowing around you as you’re surrounded by trees, stones, valleys, and basically the joys of nature. It’s located below the Kaimai Range “amongst ancient native bush and farmland”. It is a tiny home perfect for one person or a couple who wants to temporarily or even permanently live in such an area and to have something that is built sustainably and with the environment and your comfort in mind.

Why is it noteworthy?

Instead of being made from timber, it uses black corrugate as it will last longer and can survive all the different kinds of weather that the area experiences. They also used plywood to bring “a sense of warmth” to the house and is in fact what is also used in the traditional kiwi trampers huts, giving you even more of a local feel but with modern conveniences. It’s a pretty good combination, having a more natural lodging but using sustainable technology and devices to give you comfort and function.

What we like

  • Buster is powered by GridFree solar panels
  • The house is oriented to the north so that it will be able to maximize the light during the summer and even during the winter

What we dislike

  • The solar energy is only enough to power a small fridge, and lights, and to charge your smartphones

8. The Slope House

The Slope House from the 3D visualizer Milad Eshtiyaghi is an untraditional A-frame cabin that employs a biophilic design inside and out. 3D visualizer and international architect Milad Eshtiyaghi has long been drawn to escapist hideaways perched on rugged, seaside cliffs and isolated cabins envisioned beneath the Northern Lights. Today, he turns his gaze to tiny cabins. A bit more quaint than treacherous, Eshtiyaghi’s latest 3D visualization finds an angular, timber cabin nestled atop an idyllic hillside somewhere in the rainforests of Brazil.

Why is it noteworthy?

Dubbed the Slope House, the timber cabin maintains a signature triangular frame that’s a thoughtful twist on the conventional A-frame cabin. Defined by two modules, one internal volume hosts the cabin’s bedroom while the other keeps the home’s main living spaces, like the dining area, kitchen, and den. The tiny cabin from Eshtiyaghi is envisioned propped atop a truss system that was specifically chosen to minimize the home’s impact on the preexisting landscape.

What we like

  • A biophilic design style has been integrated into the cabin’s interior spaces
  • Natural plants have been added inside the house as a small garden

What we dislike

  • The theme and form of the home may be a bit too eccentric for some

9. Azure’s ADUs

Azure, essentially specializes in ADUs or Accessory Dwelling Units, which are usually placed next to the main residence, or in the backyard of a home. Azure creates several models of these ADUs – from backyard office studios to a two-bedroom tiny home. The structures are modern and futuristic, amped with glass walls, recessed lighting, and pocket doors, providing them with the feel of a complete home.

Why is it noteworthy?

Within 20 hours, Azure 3D prints the homes – including their structural skeleton, exterior sheathing, water control barrier, exterior finish, utility passageways, and the grounding for interior finishes. Azure is taking a more sustainable approach by utilizing recycled plastic in construction. Over 60% of Azure’s printing material will be comprised of waterproof plastic polymer, which is usually found in plastic bottles or food packaging.

What we like

  • Builds homes 70% faster, and 30% cheaper as compared to the traditional construction method

What we dislike

  • No complaints!

10. MiniMod

Nestled in the redwood forest of the popular and beautiful Sea Ranch community along the Sonoma, California coastline is a 684-square-foot weekend cabin that was originally designed by the acclaimed Bay Area architect Joseph Esherick. Called MiniMod, this cabin was lovingly restored and refurbished by Framestudio after it was purchased by its creative director Chad DeWitt, and his husband James Cook.

Why is it noteworthy?

The cabin was originally built to show how a comfortable and affordable home could be constructed while following the Sea Ranch building guidelines. The midcentury modern cabin has a stunning wooden exterior that allows it to effortlessly blend with the surrounding natural environment

What we like

  • Midcentury aesthetics but modern amenities
  • The history and heritage of the cabin have been maintained

What we dislike

  • No complaints!

The post Top 10 tiny homes of 2022 first appeared on Yanko Design.

BMW iX xDrive50 (electric) REVIEW

When you think of BMW’s signature cars, most people immediately conjure up images of high-performance ‘M Division’ stars like the stonking M3 and M5. Now while this very German brand makes brilliant internal combustion-powered vehicles, the world is going electric, and rather quickly. And to cater to the winds of change, the company needs a different style of flagship car. It needs a totally new signature model that stands head and shoulders above its rivals, a flagship that’s pure electric SUV and futuristic. The BMW iX is such a car.

That polarizing new kidney grille dominates design chatter

Looking like an SUV that Ironman might use to drive his kids to school in 2030, the iX boasts next-generation styling that makes this Tesla Model X rival stand out from the crowd. BMW claims that with the iX, they will gain over 50% market share of all-electric vehicles by 2030. Totally new from the ground up, the iX boasts 516-hp twin motors, over 300 miles of range, and quick charging from 10% to 80% in around 30 minutes. It is certainly a bold and ambitious move, but just how good is this techno tour de force battery electric vehicle (BEV)? We got behind the wheel of the iX xDrive50 to find out.

The iX’s exterior looks like nothing we’ve ever seen from the Munich-based carmaker. And it’s big too, eclipsing the Tesla Model Y, Audi e-tron and Ford Mustang Mach-E in the dimension department. To be honest, when we first saw the edgy, muscular iX silhouette with its new bolder interpretation of the 4-Series’ controversial kidney grille, we had more question marks than compliments. Many readers will recall the radical, polarizing, vertically-enhanced design on the 2020 4-Series grille that seemed to dominate industry chatter for a whole year. Some said it looked like a koala nose, while others likened it to rabbit teeth, a la Bugs Bunny. I can’t argue with either of those descriptions, although after several hours with the car, I started to like the exterior styling as I found this grille blends in better on the iX than the 4-series.

BMW’s head of design, Domagoj Dukec, said last year, “if you want to create something that stands out, it must be distinguishable and it has to be different. It’s not our job to please everyone, just our customers.” With the new grille, BMW has definitely created something that stands out, and yes, it does not please everyone. But it has certainly made its mark among customers with strong sales in its younger target audience. And at the end of the day, that’s what counts. Right?

It’s magic! The BMW grille repairs itself?!

But this new grille is not just pushing the boundaries of contemporary design norms. It also offers some unique innovative features which deserve a special mention. In fact, the grille is not even a grille. From a distance, this space almost looks like it’s full of intricate metallic and piano black elements shaped into a multi-layered diamond-like pattern. However, when you get up close and personal and rub your fingers over it, you discover that the grille is made of a material that feels like plastic. According to BMW, this plastic surface is actually covered with a thin layer of polyurethane coating which gives it the power to heal itself if it gets scratched or damaged — kind of like well-known superhero Wolverine.

Why fit such a feature? Say you’re parked in a shopping mall and someone accidentally bangs their shopping trolley into your new kidney grille. No problem because the polyurethane automatically ‘repairs’ light scratches within 24 hours when left at room temperature, or even in under five minutes under hot air from a hairdryer. And why is protecting the grille so important? Behind that enormous grille, you’ll find a set of sensors that allow the iX to see the world in front of it and relay that information to the onboard safety systems in real time. So if the grille has scratches, then the forward visibility and sensor operation could be compromised. That’s not the only feature to stand out on this next-generation grille. Behind it you’ll find a heated element that allows the grille to melt away ice and snow to—you guessed it—allow those hidden sensors to be able to see the road ahead in wintery conditions.

One feature that will certainly raise a few eyebrows is that you cannot open the hood on an iX. According to BMW engineers, there will be no need for owners to ever open their hood. In fact, if you see one with its hood up then that’ll mean something has gone horribly wrong with the mechanicals requiring instant dealer rescue. The fact that you can’t open the hood is a shame because it means that you don’t have a ‘frunk’ (front trunk), a feature found so often on BEV’s these days. You may also wonder how does one fill up the washer fluid? Easy. Just push to open the BMW logo above the grille and top up your washer fluid. Necessity is the mother of invention, so they say. That washer fluid logo feature is a clever, elegant solution to a potentially problematic design conundrum. Thumbs up to BMW designers there.

The sleek upslanting ‘Laser’ headlights and practical bumper integrated brake vents complement the grille design to give the iX a unique futuristic look necessary to make an impact in the market. While not quite as dramatic as the front end, the side view is highlighted by flared fenders and huge 22-inch wheels as well as hollow copper-colored door handles that perfectly matched the rather classy Aventurine Red body color on our iX test car. The floating C-pillar, with a gloss blacked-out section to match the tinted rear windows, connects subtly with the roof spoiler to complete a stylish, sporty silhouette.

Far more appealing however is the rear end. This is by far my favorite angle of the car to look at. The sharply angled rear window leads down to a narrow wraparound taillight treatment that sits in amongst some of the most beautifully contoured surfaces and lines you’ll ever see on an SUV.

There is one problem though. With most SUVs, the taillights are normally split across the tailgate and the rear body panel. With the iX, however, it’s all integrated into the tailgate. So when you raise the tailgate your brake lights disappear into the air meaning that people behind you cannot see your car clearly at night. The solution? BMW has had to design a second set of lights and integrate those into the rear corner bodywork. Form has unfortunately won over function here. This I feel is extremely wasteful as it means customers are paying extra money to have this ‘backup’ set of tail lights. This design also eats into luggage space with the iX only offering 500 liters of space in contrast to the BMW X5’s 650 liters, which is a similarly sized car.

Stunning! The iX’s cockpit is next-level design and functionality

So what’s the iX like inside? Stunning. No matter what you might think about the exterior, especially that grille design, the interior is simply breathtaking. The caramel tan-colored leather seats and dashboard, aluminum accents and huge cockpit-wide curves touchscreen instrumentation set the mood for BMW’s signature BEV. The result we see in the iX’s cabin is what happens when a carmaker gives its design team free rein to design something new, innovative, and cool.

Where to start? I adore the high-quality luxurious materials used inside. I adore the shape and feel of the seats and their special stitched inlays. I like the shape and feel of the curved 12-inch touchscreen for driver information and a massive hi-definition 15-inch display for all of your infotainment features. It feels like 2030 in here! I even adore the shape of the octagonal steering wheel. The floating center console with its next-generation i-Drive system boasts a gorgeous new design highlighted by a crystal dial and intuitive touch sensors. It also has a crystal gear shift lever as well as crystal knobs on the doors. The only downside, if you can call it that, is the fact that the crystal knobs and dial can cause some glare to shine in the driver’s face when direct sunlight hits it.

Interestingly the iX is packed with lots of sustainable materials. The olive leaf logo on the dashboard indicates that the dye used to color the leather inside the iX is sourced from olive leaf extract rather than non-biodegradable chemicals found in so many other cars. Apparently, the leather is sustainable as well, although we are not quite sure what that means.

In the back seats, you get loads of legroom and headroom and comfortable leather seats. This ample amount of headroom is aided by a clever panoramic glass sunroof design with electrochromic shading that allows occupants to merely press a button and either allow the sun in or shut it out. Apart from the good visibility, there are also two USB-C ports in each back seat and dedicated climate controls for both seats. There’s no doubt that the rear seats are just as comfortable as the front seats.

The Driving Experience

What’s it like on the road? There are two versions of the iX — the entry-level iX xDrive40 and the flagship iX xDrive 50, which we are testing. Both cars a very similar with 4WD, the main difference being the size of the battery packs, the power of the electric motors, and the amount of range.

Two electric motors and a dual-motor system provide all-wheel-drive through a gutsy 516 horsepower powertrain. It will jump from zero to 60-mph in 4.2 seconds and a top speed of 124-mph. This version packs a large 106.3-kWh battery pack that BMW says will deliver over 300 miles of range, and from the time we spent in the car, our estimates put that car’s real world range at around that figure. 200-kW DC fast-charging capability is standard and the iX can gain more than 75 miles of range in 10 minutes, or can be topped up using a quick charger from 10% to 80% takes around 30 minutes.

The first thing you notice about the driving experience is just how comfortable and quiet this car is. Of course, BEVs are generally quiet, as they don’t have gasoline engines, but the iX is a level above the rest. We could hardly hear any noise at all traveling at normal city traffic speeds, perhaps just the faintest of tire and wind noise and maybe a slight whir of the electric motors, but that’s about it. The air suspension, which comes as standard, is perfectly set up for this rather heavy 5,380 lbs SUV, delivering a buttery-smooth ride across most surfaces. Even on twisty roads, the instantaneous acceleration and pinpoint steering make this big, heavy SUV feel smaller than it is. Brakes are strong too with beefy six-piston calipers and large rotors offering ample stopping power.

As you’d expect the iX also comes with the latest safety features including autonomous emergency braking, parking sensors, automatic high beam headlights, and lane-keep assist systems. It also comes standard with a 655W, 18-speaker Harmon Kardon Surround Sound System or an optional Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound system packing 30-speakers and 1,615 watts with a 4D function that vibrates speakers in the seats.

Pricing and Options

Pricing according to BMW will start at $84,195 in the U.S. However as prices for options were not available at the time of publishing, we are giving readers a reference of option pricing in Japan. The base xDrive50 starts at 11.16 million yen in Japan although our test car, with options, was priced at 13.89 million yen. In Tokyo, where I’m based, buyers can add the following options that will push the price up to 13.89 million yen. For the Aventurine Red metallic paint, you’ll pay 310,000 yen, 650,000 yen for the Lounge Package (including the special sunroof), 750,000 yen for the Technology Package, 158,000 yen for the Aerodynamic Wheels, and 220,000 yen for the Sports Package.

BMW has done a truly sensational job with its next-generation iX. If you can live with the grille, have the $85,000 in hand, and you’re looking for the next best thing in luxurious, quick electric transportation, then we highly recommend the iX xDrive50. As far as rivals, the iX really has none at present. Sure there are the Mercedes EQA, Audi e-tron, Jaguar I-Pace, and Tesla Model X, but when it comes to next-generation design, power delivery, ride and comfort levels, and an interior to die for, the iX wins the electric SUV battle hands down. For now, at least.

The post BMW iX xDrive50 (electric) REVIEW first appeared on Yanko Design.

This holographic display could be how you do video calls in the Metaverse

Not everyone will be keen on wearing even glasses to experience this metaverse thing. Fortunately, you might not have to, especially if this hologram-in-a-box can deliver the next best thing.

The metaverse is being hyped as the logical evolution of virtual reality, blending the physical and the digital in a single space. Most of the discussions and implementations, however, involve placing ourselves in a virtual space, often with the use of mixed reality equipment like headsets. The metaverse can also work the other way around and bring the digital into our physical realm, most likely through holograms. We’re still ways off from the holograms of sci-fi, but this new holographic display is trying to bridge the gap until that perfect time.

Designer: PORTL

Click Here to Buy Now!

Imagine trying to keep in touch with family members in a future where the metaverse has become our world. You’d expect that we’d don glasses or headgear that would seemingly teleport us to a common space, maybe in a virtual house bought with your NFTs, but that can be cumbersome to set up for a brief call. What if you could just bring that person virtually into your house instead? That’s where holograms come in, but we’re not quite there yet when it comes to simply project people in just about any physical space.

Startup PORTL, not to be confused by Meta’s Portal video conferencing device, envisions installing cabinet-sized holographic displays in places where they might be of use, like in stores, meeting rooms, or even classrooms. Not everyone will be able to afford these PORTL EPIC boxes, though, which is why the company revealed its desktop, the PORTL M. Again, not to be confused with Facebook Portal, but the associations are really hard to avoid, especially given the design.

PORTL M is what the very first Facebook Portal would be if it were extruded into a box form to accommodate a holographic display inside. The box can be set up in either landscape or portrait orientation, depending on the content you want to display. The device itself lacks some charm, looking like a nondescript plastic box with rounded corners and a curved back. The magic, of course, is in how it will try to make people and things really look like the three-dimensional objects that they are. Or at least that’s the idea.

The PORTL M is intended to be used for full-body video chats, browsing and examining products before you buy, or even for serious work in industrial and medical fields. And, of course, you can also use these boxes to display your NFTs, at least if you have around $2,000 to spare for one.

The post This holographic display could be how you do video calls in the Metaverse first appeared on Yanko Design.

The Best of Tokyo Auto Salon 2022

To really appreciate a car’s styling and market impact, you really have to see it—in the flesh. I mean, online car launches and briefings are good, but they cannot hope to substitute for the real thing. Seeing is believing, as they say, right? That’s why I made a beeline for the Tokyo Auto Salon last weekend— with my vaccinations, face mask, and hand sanitizer under my belt—to check out the latest offerings from the car industry.

But before we look at the highlights from the three-day Tokyo Auto Salon, we should first note that Japan’s biggest car customizing show has gained significant importance over the past few years thanks to the dwindling reputation of the more traditional Tokyo Motor Show as major foreign brands reallocate marketing budgets away from traditional motor shows, preferring to spend advertising money on brand-centric launches.

Tokyo Auto Salon is 70% customized cars and 30% new cars

On the global stage, the Auto Salon is one of the top customizing events behind America’s SEMA and Germany’s Essen shows. In the wake of the Tokyo Motor Show’s demise, the 40-year old Salon has taken on a double role—it’s a 70% world-class customizing and tuning show and 30% new car launch venue.

Spread across four cavernous halls at the massive Makuhari Messe complex some 30 minutes east of Tokyo, the 3-day Salon saw new cars and concepts debut from Toyota, Lexus, Nissan, Honda, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Daihatsu as well as Japan premieres of the Lotus Emira and the Alpine A110 S.

As for the customizing specialists, all of Japan’s biggest names were there including HKS, Top Secret, Greddy, TOM’s, Blitz, Endless, Liberty Walk, Cusco, Autobacs, Varis, Rays and RE Amemiya among others.

To give you a flavor of what was on the salon floor, we’ve decided to focus on the highlights—so we chose our 3 best new car and concept debuts plus our 3 best-customized cars.

Three Best New Cars and Concepts

1. Nissan Z

By far the most anticipated unveiling at this year’s Auto Salon was the domestic premiere of the all-new Nissan Z, or the ‘Fairlady Z’ as it’s called in Japan. Expressing just how much this launch means to Nissan, the company’s CEO, Makoto Uchida joined champion Nissan Super GT500 racer Tsugio Matsuda, who collaborated with the car’s cockpit design, and pop star and race team principal Masahiko Kondo to give the Z the unveiling it deserved.

First launched in New York City in August last year, the Z boasts a silhouette that harks back to the original 240Z of 1969 while the tail light design draws inspiration from the rear combination lamps of the 300ZX of three decades ago. The huge rectangular grille first generated controversy when it debuted last year, but after seeing it in real life, I must say that the shape and size of the grille complement the dramatic exterior styling. However, to seemingly appease potential buyers wanting a slightly more subtle traditional front end, Nissan also unveiled the world premiere of the ‘Z Customized Proto’ concept.

Painted in bright orange, and fitted with orange 4-piston brake calipers and Dunlop tires adorned with bespoke ‘Nissan Z’ white lettering this Z was one of my personal favorites at the Salon.

Speaking with Nissan’s chief product specialist for the new Z (and the GT-R for that matter!), Hiroshi Tamura, I could quickly tell that this next-generation sports car was a labor of love for him and his team. As he explained its ‘retro-modern design’ and how the design team had leaned heavily on Z styling from the past 50 years, he also stressed that the car is a traditional rear-drive sports car that incorporates the latest state-of-the-art technologies.

Apart from its impressive 400-hp 3.0-liter V6 twin-turbo matched to a 6-speed manual transmission (9-speed auto optional), the cockpit gets a new interpretation of the traditional Z-style three analog pod gauges set up on top of the instrument panel while the race car style shift-up indicator located directly above the tachometer will no doubt become a much talked about the feature when the car lands in showrooms later this year.

2. Toyota GR GT3 Concept

At the Toyota Gazoo Racing (GR) stand, the covers came off another Salon highlight. Arguably one of the most aggressive manufacturer concept cars to ever feature at Makuhari Messe, the GR GT3 Concept interestingly borrows nothing from the brand’s huge range of road-going vehicles, but instead, offers a driver-focused, track-only coupe concept at first, with, perhaps, production car aspirations further down the road. Whether the car is destined for Japan’s Super GT series is yet to be confirmed, but with that “GT3” reference, you’d expect as much.

With its extra-long nose, long wheelbase, straight beltline, sharp sleek front end, huge rear wing, and a rear brake light design that resembles that of the Porsche Taycan, the GR GT3 looks more than ready for the race track as is. One aspect of the car that stood out when viewed from the side is that its proportions almost mirror those of the gorgeous Mazda RX Vision concept of 2017.

Details are slim at present. Toyota officials made no reference to a powertrain in any way, but given the fact that the car has exhaust pipes, we can expect it to pack a hybrid powertrain, most probably a V6 married to a turbo and a plug-in hybrid system that would develop upwards of 600-hp.

According to Toyota, the GT3 concept follows a pattern initiated by the multiple award-winning GR Yaris hatchback. The company plans to commercialize motorsport models first, instead of taking road-going cars and modifying them for racing. Even if Toyota does not make a road-going version of the GT3 concept, we hope that signature design elements of this awesome-looking machine make their way into production cars.

Like Mazda’s RX Vision concept, which appeared in Gran Turismo, one definite possibility is that we will see this car feature in Polyphony Digital’s best-selling driving game in the not too distant future.

3. Subaru STI E-RA Concept

As I roamed the Subaru STI stand, I noticed a BRZ STI concept and a WRX concept, but then, plonked in an obscure corner of the stand, behind the fully electric Solterra STI Concept was one of the most radical Japanese cars I’ve ever seen—the Subaru STI E-RA Concept.

While the Nissan Z was the most anticipated car of the Salon, the STI E-RA Concept was the biggest surprise. It literally appeared out of nowhere. “We told no one about it, not even Subaru of America,” said a Subaru staffer. In the world of social media and instant news and leaked teaser images, it’s extremely refreshing to see something that you did not know existed suddenly appear.

Subaru Tecnica International developed this low-slung 1,072-hp electric race car for one purpose—to set a new lap record around Germany’s famed 13-mile long Nurburgring Nordschleife race track. Propelled by 4 powerful 200kW electric motors, one on each wheel, the E-RA (short for ‘Electric Record Attempt’) is hellbent on setting a time of ‘400 seconds,’ or 6 minutes 40 seconds, according to Hiroshi Mori, STI’s general manager who green-lighted the project.

So why attempt such a radical move now? “We are a little behind with our introduction of EVs, so we decided to up the ante and create an extreme study model, and set a lap time that will help us develop fast, efficient EV race and road cars for the future,” answers Mori.

As Mori so aptly pointed out, the record STI is chasing is not the 6:05 time set by the single-seater Volkswagen ID R, but a slightly more leisurely 6:40 time for twin-seater electric cars. That ‘400 second’ that STI is however targeting a time that would outperform the two-seat Chinese NIO EP9 electric supercar that posted a 6:45 in 2017. Everything about the E-RA, from its 197-inch long frame to its 79-inch wide carbon fiber body to its perfect aerodynamic profile, huge chin spoiler, massive rear wing, roof air intake and race car tuned diffuser, all scream ultra-performance.

According to Mori, the 60kWh battery powering the E-RA should last just one lap, providing just enough juice to set one lap time. “Hopefully a record lap time,” says Mori. STI will test the car in Japan this year before heading to Germany sometime in 2023 for the record-breaking attempt.

Honorable Mentions For New Cars and Concepts

Honda revealed its next-generation Civic Type R wearing a rare camouflage. From a distance, it just looks like a generic red, back, and white covering, but up close this camouflage is a tapestry of Type R logo designs from all of the past Civic and Integra Type R models. As for engine specs, Honda was remaining tight-lipped but we can expect it to generate over 320-hp and offer a manual transmission.

Over at Mitsubishi’s stand, it was great to see their motorsport and tuning arm ‘Ralliart’ making a comeback through their ‘Vision Ralliart Concept.’ Based on the latest Outlander, the modified SUV is finished in a matte black paint job and employs a bold, muscular body kit and rear diffuser, 22-inch wheels, and 6-piston calipers.

And who could ignore the domestic launch of the Lotus Emira First Edition? Distributed by LCI in Japan, this sexy-looking coupe is powered by a 400-hp, 3.5-liter supercharged V6 with either 6-speed manual or automatic transmissions.

Three Best Customized Cars

1. Liberty Walk Aventador SVJ Carbon Fiber Body

Housed inside a high chain-link fence-enclosed stand that seemed inspired by a Mixed Martial Arts arena, the star of internationally-known customizer Liberty Walk’s display was a dark grey Lamborghini Aventador SVJ. And the customizing had nothing to do with its 770-hp V12 engine, which incidentally is how the car comes from the factory.

Arguably one of the most extreme customized cars at this year’s Auto Salon, this Aventador SVJ’s claim to fame is that it is covered in a totally new body kit made out of dry carbon fiber. Looking like a modern-day Batmobile, Liberty Walk engineers removed the car’s body, made bespoke carbon fiber molds of every part, and then replaced the standard body parts with the newly created lightweight carbon fiber pieces.

And the cost of this car? According to a spokesman, if you take a fully optioned SVJ’s costing around $700,000 and add the full dry carbon fiber (which is more expensive than wet carbon fiber) body kit fee of just over $200,000, and then add on a few extra options, you end up with a total price tag of just over $1 million. Given the quality of the work, I was not surprised to hear that Liberty Walk has customers in the U.S., Europe, and Brazil. The specialist customizer says that it will make around 20 of these body kits and nearly half have already been sold.

2. HKS Driving Performance GR86

As we’ve seen, the Tokyo Auto Salon does double as a stage to launch new manufacturer models and concepts. But it is still basically a customizing show and a big one at that. Without a doubt, the main base car for the vast majority of customizers and tuners is the recently launched second-generation Toyota GR86. At this year’s show, I counted no less than 30 heavily customized GR86s, but the one that stood out the most was the HKS GR86 which is no surprise given that HKS is one of the best known—domestically and internationally—customizers in Japan.

In Japan, customizing, racing and racecourse time attacks at the well-known Tsukuba Circuit go hand in hand, and this time was no different. Donning a startling triple color livery, the HKS GR86 has basically been race-prepped to challenge a sub-minute lap time around Tsukuba.

While the standard GR86 is fitted with a 230-hp 2.4-liter boxer engine, the HKS GR86 has a supercharger fitted that lifts power to a rumored 300-hp although HKS did not release this detail. But that’s not all. Fitted with a full battery of bespoke HKS modified parts that include a special lightweight body kit, HKS sports muffler, and exhaust system, a HKS heavy-duty clutch, an HKS oil cooler, and air filter, HKS Hipermax S sports suspension, Endless branded brakes, and Yokohama 18-inch wheels and Advan tires, the HKS GR86 knocked out a rather quick lap time of 1:01 making it the fastest GR86 around Tsukuba so far.

3. Pandem Widebody V8 GT-R ‘Hakosuka’

Saving the best till last. This heavily modified Nissan Skyline GT-R could just be our favorite customized car at this year’s salon. Notable customizer Trail Motor Apex Racing displayed a one-off ‘Pandem Widebody V8 Hakosuka’ (with ‘hako’ meaning boxy and ‘suka’ refers to Skyline) based on a 1970 Nissan Skyline GT-R. Now while the ultra-wide blacked-out, flared fenders look totally bonkers, those fenders house oversized tires that are more than necessary for this orange beast. Why? As if those 8 suspicious pipes poking out of the hood don’t give the game away. That’s right, this first generation GT-R packs a thumping NASCAR-spec 5.7-liter V8 engine pumping out an incredible 1,145-hp through the rear wheels.

While the car cannot be driven on public roads, TMAR says they will be doing some testing in the near future with the goal of ‘racing it.’ However, exactly where and when they will race it is still under wraps.

Nissan only made 1,945 so-called ‘Hakosuka’ GT-Rs and word on the street is that around one-third of them survive today. Compared to the Pandem Widebody V8’s 1,145-hp, the original GT-R C10, which won multiple touring car races, was powered by a 2.0-liter straight-6 engine generating just 160-hp, but still considerable power for those days. Race versions of these cars today can fetch upwards of $300,000 due to their rarity and race-winning history. Just how much this one-off V8-fitted GT-R would cost is anyone’s guess.

Honorable Mentions For Customized Cars

Okay, so we’ve featured our three best new cars and three best-customized cars. But of the hundreds of other tuned models on display, these ones also impressed no end.

One of the long-time heroes of the Auto Salon is the legendary rotary engine tuner RE Amemiya. These guys normally modify Mazda rotary-powered RX-7s and RX-8s, but this year, the highlight of their stand was a specially prepared Ferrari Testarossa powered by a 4-rotor rotary engine, which incidentally is the same number of rotors that powered the Mazda 787B race car to victory in the 1991 Le Mans 24-hour race.

My jaw dropped when I saw the gold-colored ‘Rocky 3000GT’, which is actually a replica of a 1967 Toyota 2000GT, arguably Japan’s most beautiful sports car. However, in place of the original 2.0-liter straight-6, this 3000GT is powered by an inline-6 3.0-liter Toyota engine. The price on the 3000GT was unclear, but for reference, stock 2000GT’s have fetched auction prices of over $1 million recently.

We also liked the sensational-looking Impulse AE86, which is a tuned 1986 Toyota Sprinter Trueno Corolla AE86 that has huge flared fenders, a carbon fiber body kit, and a modified engine developing 200-hp. Finished in a stand-out red, white, and black paint combination, this is the model of car that hardcore drifters all over the world use for sliding sideways around race tracks.

Speaking of 86s, well-known customizers GReddy and Blitz also outdid themselves with customized versions of the new GR86 that would cause a real stir in the U.S., a place that has been screaming for more powerful turbocharged models. Tuned with bespoke turbochargers, intercoolers, aeroparts, and sports suspension, these cars would be generating over 300-hp.

And who could ignore the other three bright yellow concept cars on display at the Liberty Walk stand. The canary yellow Lamborghini Aventador, Chevrolet Corvette C8, and McLaren P1 all benefited from bespoke carbon-fiber bodywork and were the best-looking threesome of the show.

Meanwhile, the ‘Bad Taste Award’ went to a bright pink Toyota Crown with dark green seats, pink steering wheel, pink seatbelts, and Swarovski crystal beads pasted all over the Crown and Athlete G badges.


One reason for the continued success of the 40-year-old Tokyo Auto Salon is that it has a little of something for everyone. With its new car launches and over-the-top customized machines, it’s a smorgasbord of automotive titillation that never gets old. Bring on TAS 2023.

The post The Best of Tokyo Auto Salon 2022 first appeared on Yanko Design.

2022 Mazda CX-5 Facelift Review

For Mazda, the CX-5 is its bread and butter model. It’s the hit crossover that put the brand on the SUV map a decade ago boasting multiple assets that offered families the best of all worlds. When the CX-5 first entered the market in 2012, Mazda’s marketing types claimed it offered buyers the fun of a sports car, the economy of a small car, the go-anywhere capability of an off-roader, and the practicality of an SUV. And it delivered on all counts. The revised version we see here offers even better handling and ride quality and a fresh new look.

In a recent critique of the CX-5, Car and Driver wrote glowingly that, “More than any mainstream compact crossover, the 2022 CX-5 makes its driver feel special. With a price tag that’s much closer to a Honda CR-V than a Porsche Macan’s, the Mazda is accessible to the same demographic group as the former but is also able to impress those who drive the Macan.”

CX-5 accounts for half of Mazda’s U.S. sales

It’s the model by which every other mid-sized SUV is measured nowadays in terms of design, technology, and body color excellence. Accounting for half of Mazda’s U.S. sales in 2021, the CX-5 is by far the brand’s biggest selling model. Year to date, the CX-5 accounted for 50.2% of all sales that amounted to 137,343 units.

In Europe, the model is currently selling around 8,000 units per month, in Australia, some 2,000 are finding new homes each month while in its home country of Japan, some 2,200 CX-5s are sold each month.

That’s not surprising really when you realize that this SUV was the brand’s game-changing vehicle back in 2012. It was the first model to employ all of Mazda’s new technologies at once—that included the new Kodo Design language, Mazda’s new suite of evolutionary Skyactiv technologies, and of course the brand’s now signature Soul Red body color. The CX-5 range welcomed its second-generation model in 2017, and now in late 2021, Mazda has just unveiled a facelift that we got to test drive in mid-December. In the U.S., buyers will be offered standard all-wheel-drive with a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter and a 2.5-liter turbo that was not available for our Japan test. More on the upgraded tech a little later, but first, let’s check out Mazda’s recent history in the area of design.

According to Ikuo Maeda, head of Mazda design who was responsible for creating Kodo Design and Soul Red back in 2012, the ‘Kodo – Soul of Motion’ design theme refers to an expression of the ‘dynamic beauty of life’ and can be simply defined as ‘Beauty Through Subtraction.’ The unique proportions, lines, subtle contours, and colors you see on the CX-5 and other Mazda models originate from highly sophisticated aesthetic sensibilities rooted in a unique set of Japanese values.

Making the most beautiful cars in Japan

All this colorful design language may sound a bit over the top and perhaps even a little eccentric, but this philosophy is exactly why Mazda makes the most beautiful cars in Japan. And that’s also why the brand has been recognized on the international stage with awards like the ‘Most Beautiful Concept Car’ at the 31st Festival Automobile International in 2016 in Paris for the RX Vision Concept, the ‘Red Dot: Best of the Best’ prize at the 2019 product design awards for the Mazda3, the 2020 World Car Design of the Year for the Mazda3, the 2013 Auto Color Designer’s Selection award for Soul Red, while the CX-5 ranked in Car and Driver’s 10Best winners for 2021 and won the 2012 Japan Car of the Year.

As for the third innovation launched in 2012, ‘Skyactiv’ is an in-house name for a series of technologies that re-invented and re-enhanced current chassis, body, engine, transmission, and suspension systems to increase fuel efficiency and engine output. A critical part of the Skyactiv menu was a selection of heavily revised gasoline and diesel engines and transmissions that delivered the seemingly impossible combination of improved performance and fuel economy.

So when Mazda bosses decide to tweak the popular CX-5 in any way, they must do it with the utmost care and understanding of what the market wants. Firstly, customers seemed happy with the exterior design, an exquisitely contoured body that appeals equally to both male and female buyers. But stylists still saw the need for a bolder yet simpler look as they tried to further elevate its already highly regarded exterior profile.

While the overall grille area has stayed roughly the same in size as before, designers have added a more three-dimensional black gloss finish mesh effect inside the grille with wider black gloss or chrome accents that extend out to the reshaped headlights. In contrast to the bolder, more complex grille design, Mazda’s stylists opted for a simpler, but more contoured bumper. Molders scraped on their clay models until they’d arrived at a smoother, more sculptured surface that looks cleaner and more elegant at the same time. Check out the photo below to compare the new vs old front end. The rear end also features a newly designed tail light assembly that stretches further around the back corners from the rear end of the wheel arches onto the tailgate proper.

Mazda’s always have fantastic driving positions and there is no exception here in the CX-5. There’s lots of adjustment available on the steering wheel with telescopic and tilt features, plus the seats have 6-away adjustment which means you can find your ideal driving position relatively easily. Speaking of visibility, the CX-5 is one of the best in class with great clear views all around. You also get Bluetooth for your Apple and Android devices, and parking sensors which is handy for a car of this size and height.

Every model is fitted with a non-touch 10.3-inch infotainment system that is operated from a rotary dial and volume control on the center console. The system does work well with voice-activated commands and buttons of the steering wheel, and it does boast high-quality graphics and a quick responsive menu, but I have a feeling that many potential buyers might enjoy a slightly larger display with touchscreen functions in line with many rival SUVs.

On the Japanese spec Sports Appearance version (translates to the U.S.-spec S Premium) drivers will be impressed with the first-rate materials, elegant yet subtle colors and tones, and the quality feel. The black leather seats with dark red stitching are sumptuous and new internal structural enhancements mean the seats are more supportive and comfortable than ever before, especially on long trips.

The Driving Experience

For the U.S. market, buyers will be able to choose from a 187-hp 2.5-liter naturally aspirated, four-cylinder Skyactiv-G gasoline engine or an enhanced 256-hp 2.5-liter gasoline turbo powerplant mated to quick-shifting 6-speed automatic transmissions. As the turbo is not available in Japan, we opted for the 2.5-liter non-turbo. While power and torque have not been altered for this facelift, Mazda engineers have tweaked throttle response which is noticeable as it helps to get the SUV off the line faster and is welcome when merging or overtaking on highways. The refreshed CX-5 delivers the herbs sufficiently at low to medium speeds but on the highway, with a full passenger load and luggage, you may be huffing for enough power to make that quick overtake or merge.

The areas identified by Mazda that needed attention were on and off-road handling, ride quality, and sound isolation. A few moments behind the wheel of this facelift version and the modifications are immediately apparent. Revisions to damper and spring rates and body reinforcements mean that internal noise and vibration is down significantly while the ride quality is surprisingly better. The Mazda also absorbs road imperfections without raising a sweat and the ride quality is as good as more expensive German rivals. The revised suspension isolates noise and vibrations well and the damping is stiff without being harsh. Thanks to these updates, the rear end sits firmer on the tarmac with less vibration and more stability in the corners.

The steering is sharp with loads of feedback and the brakes are progressive and grippy. The standard 187-hp four cylinder engine is punchy around town thanks to its smooth shifting 6-speed automatic transmission, but when trying to overtake on highways, it can feel a touch underpowered. One thing that makes the CX-5 such a blast to drive is that you don’t have to push it hard to enjoy it. The Mazda might be an SUV and have a relatively high ride height, compared to a sports car, but the CX-5’s chassis and body rigidity and suspension setup allow the car to stay flat in the corners and reveal very little understeer.

But perhaps the biggest, most significant addition to the car we tested was the ‘Mi-Drive’ mode dial on the center console. Mazda bosses identified that while the CX-5 more than catered to all of its customer expectations, it lacked most in off-road grip and stability. At first glance, it may seem like a switch that sat on the dash in the previous CX-5. It did to be sure, and it offered two modes—normal and sport. Now, to enhance the car’s off-road capabilities, a third mode—off-road mode—has been newly added. To enable us to test this new feature, Mazda set up a synthetic rocky outcrop in their Yokohama R&D Center that allowed us to test the new feature.

Engage the sport mode, drive up onto the makeshift hill and you lose grip instantly when your front tire catches air and spins violently. Sitting next to me offering calm advice, a Mazda staffer suggests I flick the switch to “off-road mode” which I quickly do. I re-apply the throttle to the same depth a moment ago, and within a second or two, the front tire that was spinning stops as that torque is re-directed to one of the rear tires to increase grip and allow you to escape from this ‘stuck’ position. Interestingly, when you switch the dial from sport mode to off-road mode, the revs increase automatically as you turn the steering wheel to enable the car the find enough grip to effect an escape. For the record, this feature is only available on gasoline powered models as the diesel version we get in Japan has enough bottom-end torque to enable a successful escape even if one of your front tires is spinning in mid-air.

Prices and Options

We know that every new U.S. spec model will be fitted with all-wheel-drive and that buyers will be offered a choice of either a 2.5-liter gasoline or a 2.5-liter gasoline turbo. Prices for the CX-5 will start from the ’S’ version at $27,125 to the ‘S Premium’ at $33,535 to the new ‘Turbo’ trim at $37,625 to the top-of-the-range ‘Turbo Signature’ at $39,875. Whether the newly fitted Mi-Drive mode selector will appear on U.S. spec models is yet to be confirmed, but if it does, we humbly suggest you opt for this feature.

While the entry-level ’S’ spec with the 2.0-liter naturally aspirated engine that we tested here, offers excellent cost performance, we feel that the new Turbo trim best represents what the CX-5 is all about—style, fun, practicality, and handling.

The CX-5 will come up against some strong rivals like the Nissan X-Trail, Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tuscon, Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester, but we feel the CX-5 legacy plus the extra upgrades mentioned here will help the Mazda to stay near the top of the pile, especially appealing to those buyers wanting something with a more premium ambience and sporty feel.

As Car and Driver said, “more than any mainstream compact crossover, the 2022 CX-5 makes its driver feel special.” And now with these handling upgrades and the subtle, stylish new look, the CX-5 just goes from strength to strength.

The post 2022 Mazda CX-5 Facelift Review first appeared on Yanko Design.

LEXUS NX 450h+ Plug-in Hybrid Review

The all-new NX450h+ joins the Lexus lineup by making some pretty big claims. Firstly, and most critically, this flagship model of the new NX range is the luxury brand’s first-ever plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) which is surprising given that Lexus has offered electrification through hybrids for so long. It also gets Lexus’ first-ever interface boasting a huge 14-inch touchscreen that totally dominates the dashboard. According to Lexus, this electrified SUV also just happens to be the first of 20 new products slated to appear in the range over the next four years.

The model we’re testing today is the 450h+ F Sport all-wheel-drive which is the top-of-the-range model and is new from top to bottom.

According to Lexus, this second-generation NX is the most comprehensive redesign in their 32-year history. And it needs to be after the brand was caught napping in the electrification and tech arenas. While rival brands such as Mercedes Benz, BMW, and Audi forged ahead with PHEVs, Lexus was content just to offer basic hybrids. Now, however, as we will see, it offers one of the best in its class.

New NX gets more mature, subtle refined look

The NX’s exterior design is a result of an evolutionary process but you will find new parts wherever you look. Firstly I do like the beautifully styled optional triple beam LED headlights with the integrated daytime running lamps which kind of remind you of a Nike swoosh. I retain the same positive feedback for that humungous signature ‘spindle grille,’ a shape that often has me grimacing. The reason? I’m not normally a huge fan of that grille shape, but I do think the stylists did a great job in finishing it with a gloss black treatment which tones down the impact of the grille and gives it a more subtle, mature and refined look.

After all this time, it would seem as though Lexus designers have finally found a happy medium between seeking a strong identity—through that grille—while giving it the subtlety it desperately needed. I also give the thumbs up to the brake ducts, once again finished in gloss black, which are functional and actually work to suck air in and cool the brake assemblies. The LED fog lamps and the silver front splitter work superbly to contrast with the black accents on the front of the vehicles.

The gloss black treatment on the 20-inch wheels is chic, especially when set off nicely by those bright orange brake calipers. And one design feature I especially like is the reluctance of designers to use black wheel arch surrounds that seem too common on many SUVs today. On our test car, the wheel arch surrounds are a deep blue, the same color as the rest of the body. This feature, in my opinion, makes the NX look classier and more luxurious.

Between the A and C pillars Lexus has fitted some subtle dark chrome finished window surrounds and gloss black-capped door mirrors that employ new 360 degree full surround camera technology. As for the door handles, they too are totally new. On the second generation NX, you do not pull on the door handles to open the door. Instead, you insert your fingers inside the handle and push the switch on the inside to open the doors. Along the side of the SUV, you have a character line that flows from just below the A-pillar backwards through the front door handles and then, from around the middle of the rear doors, heads north towards the angled C-pillar.

At the rear of the car, you have some very stylish lines that match the front end. The wrap-around brake light assemblies stretch from just aft of the fuel filler caps to one-third of the way across the rear door, connected by a full-width red LED bar that gives the NX a futuristic look. It’s just a shame that stylists did not hide the rear wiper under the roof spoiler as it would have cleaned up the tail end look no end.

Below the wiper, designers have done away with the Lexus logo and replaced it with the new Lexus font. And below that you have the model badging — NX450h+ AWD, which is what every 450h+ offers. Then at the lower extremity of the rear bumper you have a silver accent on the bumper flanked on either side with fake exhaust outlets, just for show.

The new 14-inch touchscreen redefines Lexus interiors

Inside the car is as innovative as it is on the outside and under the hood. The dashboard is luxurious and futuristic, highlighted by a massive 14-inch infotainment touchscreen. Gone is the fiddly touchpad, replaced by an easy to use screen that offers wireless updates, and wireless Apple and Android compatibility. It also boasts Lexus’ new ‘Hey Lexus’ voice activated feature that allows you to do everything from asking your car—while not taking your hands off the steering wheel— to turn on the wipers, change radio stations, switch on seat heaters and turn the air-con up.

Notably, this system is intuitive and as smart and responsive if not smarter than most of its rivals. I also like the way that designers have decluttered the dash and halved the number of switches and dials making the interior look more luxurious and classier. The Mark Levinson audio system is also specially designed and fitted for Lexus and delivers a truly excellent sound experience.

Before you take off, you can also push a button on the dash that will give you a quick 360-degree scan of the environment around your vehicle, to allow you to check for any stray kids or pets or obstacles that might be lurking just out of view. And of course, when you select reverse, your rear view appears on the monitor in full HD quality with trajectory lines that allow easy reversing.

Just below the touchscreen, the NX offers a USB port, a USB-C port, and a wireless charging tray that is actually a lid hiding a secret compartment. Around the gear shifter, you will also find some luxurious gloss black treatment with aluminum accents around the two centrally located cupholders.

The two-toned seats offer excellent lumbar and back support and are artistically contoured and sexy, featuring some subtle F Sport badging. Drivers also have a choice of using the standard rearview mirror or a newly fitted digital mirror, which is high definition and clear but does take some getting used to. What is pleasing to the eye and to the touch however are the stitched dual leather steering wheel, full digital display, and aluminum paddle shifters and pedals. I really liked the super clean graphics inside the driver’s instrumentation showing power readout, digital speedometer, fuel and battery gauges, and level of charge. It also offers different gauges depending on what mode you use.

In the back, you have plenty of headroom and legroom and the seats are supportive and comfortable. The floor is flat meaning that three people can enter and exit easily while rear seat passengers get their own air-con vents as well as two USB-C ports for charging smartphones. In the luggage area, you have 22.7 cubic feet of space with the rear seats up. Fold them down, and you’ll create 46.9 cubic feet which is comparable with German rivals.

In keeping with the vehicle’s innovative underpinnings and features, the new NX now gets bespoke door handles that require finger pressure to open them. On the inside, you have a choice of either pushing a button that automatically opens the door or if you need to get out quickly or your battery fails you can open the door manually with a handle as well.

The exterior might get a choice of 11 colors, including the heat blue contrast on our test vehicle, but inside buyers will have a choice of no less than seven trim color combinations. These include the ‘F Sport bespoke white’ and black trim on our test car in addition to an F Sport flair red, a hazel, black and rich cream, dark rose, and a black. I also liked the contrasting white stitching on black leather and the soft materials throughout the cockpit. This NX is also fitted with the Lexus’ new safety system 3.0 which offers features such as automatic steering corrections when needed and emergency braking.

The Driving Experience

So the 450h+ might be the brand’s first PHEV, but it actually shares its TNGA-platform with the Toyota RAV4 as well as its 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and CVT. The 450h+ gets two electric motors, an 18.1kWh battery pack, and up to 40 miles or EV driving range. One feature the NX450h+ does not have is a quick charging port. Lexus explains that its strategists decided that this PHEV did not need a quick charging port and that a standard 200V port would suffice. I beg to differ as many owners, I’m sure, would like to have the option to quick charge their car when a quick charger is available.

Boasting a total power output of 302hp, the 450h+ can jump from zero to 60mph in just 6.0 seconds which is more than quick enough in this segment. Given that the NX is based on the RAV4’s underpinnings, the throttle response and steering feel are almost identical, which is no bad thing given the RAV4 has sharper steering than many rivals. But, as expected of a Lexus, the NX is more refined, comfortable, and rides better and quieter without sacrificing body control. It will easily cruise on the electric motor only up to 83mph for zero-emissions driving. In hybrid mode, the NX delivers strong battery-assisted driving as it works hard to manage how the battery is efficiently deployed.

The 450h+ is fitted with the F Sport suspension set-up that adds performance damping and a two-step variable adaptive suspension system to the MacPherson strut front-end and double-wishbone rear, and the resulting high levels of grip and comfort are what you expect from Lexus. It also uses a different braking system, with the traditional booster set-up replaced in our test car for an electrically-boosted system, complete with larger orange front brake calipers offering 340x38mm front discs in contrast to the 328x34mm rotors in the non-plug-in hybrid.

Of course, below the 450h+ you have the 350h model which employs a hybrid system in contrast to the more hi-tech, more efficient, heavier PHEV system. The 450h+ raises the weight of the car from the 350h’s 1790kg to 1990kgs, which comes from the larger battery pack, power electronics, and cooling system for the batteries. On the road, the NX is smooth and quiet and handles surprisingly well for a heavy SUV. The ride quality is far better and organized than its predecessor, but the biggest improvement is that the electrical power running through the e-motors means the 2.5-liter engine can rest more often, and exert itself less whenever it’s forced to stir into action.

Flick the drive mode switch on the dash from S to S-sharp and you will notice your instrumentation changing instantly as your dampers stiffen, your throttle response quickens and your steering gets sharper. While the NX tries to stay in EV mode as much as possible, once in S-sharp, you are needing more responsiveness from your powertrain so the engine will cut in more often with a slight buzz from the engine bay to let you know that you are running with the engine and motor together.

Price and Options

Starting at around $55,900, the 450h+ F Sport qualifies for the $7,500 tax credit which means that you can purchase the car for under $50,000, making this SUV a very desirable car.

Compared to its main rivals in the BMW X3, the Audi Q5, and the Volvo XC60, we feel the new NX is a more current and better-looking SUV overall with higher levels of interior quality and stronger street cred. Meanwhile, in terms of PHEV credentials, we also think this particular NX outperforms the Range Rover Evoque PHEV, BMW X1, and the Volvo XC40 Recharge and delivers quieter, smoother running in EV mode and even when the gasoline engine fires up to charge the batteries. Potential buyers will have the option of the lower-spec (9.8-inch touchscreen) and cheaper 350h priced at $41,000. But we feel that the 450h+ driven here, given its performance, luxury levels,
interior features and that huge 14-inch touchscreen, plus the 450h+’s prestige value and $7,500 tax credit, make the 450h+ F Sport the better buy.

Lexus successfully identified where the new NX needed to improve and in what areas it had to catch up to its rivals. The NX450h+ is efficient, quick when it needs to be, comfortable, practical, refined, and relaxing to drive in EV mode or not. It will redefine the Lexus brand and give it that much needed plug-in hybrid status.

The post LEXUS NX 450h+ Plug-in Hybrid Review first appeared on Yanko Design.