Inside design salon Matter and Shape’s first edition

The inaugural edition of Matter and Shape, held at the Jardin des Tuileries in early March 2024, brought together brands, designers and craftspeople in a unique design salon

Matter and Shape first edition: design objects on display
(Image credit: Celia Spenard-Ko)

Matter and Shape, a new design salon in Paris, successfully completed its first edition on 4 March. As announced last October, this ambitious project, initiated by Matthieu Pinet of the fashion fair organiser WSN, was curated by the acclaimed fashion journalist Dan Thawley, former editor-in-chief of A Magazine Curated By. Syncing with Paris Fashion Week A/W 2024, rather than other design fairs, was a bold choice, but with good reason. Some fashion brands present their collections during art fairs – why not a design fair for the fashion crowd?

Inside Matter and Shape’s debut

Matter and Shape first edition: sofa and plates

Installation by Willo Perron

(Image credit: Celia Spenard-Ko)

Matter and Shape took place in a temporary space in the Jardin des Tuileries, almost as an extension of the major fashion trade fair, Première Class. The all-over off-white space was designed by Willo Perron (architect, furniture designer and set designer, known for Rhianna’s stage design at the Superbowl) of Perron-Roettinger Studio. The vaulted ceiling of the tent and the natural light that filtered through transparent lateral walls created warmth and a laid-back atmosphere. 

A visitor-friendly prop was Perron’s ‘Sausage’ sofa, a huge, soft and structureless textile couch. Unlike the usual 'every square metre counts' challenge of most fairs, Matter and Shape demonstrated spatial generosity. Thawley explained: 'What I imagined was cocooning and neutral space, a sort of a fake home, conceived of natural materials and of one single colour. I wanted to celebrate the fact that we are in the centre of Paris, with the beauty around us. The surroundings are very classical but we are bringing contemporary expressions. Matter and Shape plays with this duality.'

Matter and Shape first edition: overview of bookshop

The bookshop at Matter and Shape

(Image credit: Celia Spenard-Ko)

There were 32 exhibitors, sourced from Thawley’s network and from an open-call: a mixture of renowned contemporary design brands, craftsman’s workshops, and new designers. 'Design journalist friends brought us ideas and we discovered young designers,' he says. 'On the other hand, I was impressed that Alessi responded to our open call.' The Italian tableware and kitchen utensil giant revealed Salvador Dali’s creation ‘Obget Inutile’ (meaning 'useless object'), a limited edition of a sculpture made of silver and plated with 24ct gold, which had never been produced since its creation in 1973.

Matter and Shape first edition: cane-shaped objects

The ‘Baton’ collection by Ronan Bouroullec for BD Barcelona

(Image credit: Celia Spenard-Ko)

Also part of the Salon, Astier De Villatte showed a minimal selection from its extensive white-glazed porcelain collection: nine crockery pieces with Kintsugi-like accents, made in collaboration with the Japanese fashion brand Sacai. 

Spanish brand BD Barcelona presented its first collaboration with Ronan Bouroullec, The ‘Baton’ collection. Inspired by the narrow and long shape of the cane, the collection includes a folding screen, a vase, a candle holder, as well as a mirror and table. Some products at the fair could be bought on the spot, like a new collection of tableware and furniture based on the sea, from La Romaine Edition.

Matter and Shape first edition: colourful chair

Pin-Up Home x DeSede

(Image credit: Celia Spenard-Ko)

'It surpassed our expectations,' Pin-Up Home's Felix Burrichter tells us excitedly. 'Matter and Shape really found the spot between galleries showing collectible pieces and trade shows. It does not feel elitist but is quite approachable and accessible instead. The proof is that it appealed to so many, even people who have nothing to do with design.' Pin-Up Home unveiled the colourful makeover of a classic De Sede sofa, in collaboration with the Swiss furniture company. 

Matter and Shape first edition: lighting on wall

Sconce by Umberto Bellardi Ricci

(Image credit: Celia Spenard-Ko)

Meanwhile, sculptor and architect Umberto Bellardi Ricci enjoyed meeting other exhibitors, such as Rick Owens, who showed his iconic objects and ponyskin stools along with paintings by his stepdaughter, Scarlett Rouge. The booth of Bellardi Ricci was composed of lamps and furniture of geometric or organic shapes, mixing industrial and refined material. Bellardi Ricci is impatient to present his lamp design for Tacchini at the forthcoming Milan Design Week 2024.

Matter and Shape first edition: objects on wall

‘Objets de Vie’ by Delfina Delettrez

(Image credit: Celia Spenard-Ko)

Matter and Shape first edition: flamboyant cutlery, cup and jug

Natalia Criado

(Image credit: Celia Spenard-Ko)

Thawley’s community includes jewellery designers like Delfina Delettrez, known for the surrealist aesthetics for her eponymous line and also for Fendi. Delettrez showed ‘Objets de Vie’, a small collection of delicate daily objects in silver. Silver was also explored by Colombia's Natalia Criado, a former jewellery designer. She brought the whole collection of ‘Joyas en Casa’ (meaning 'jewellery for the table') from her current studio in Milan. Inspired by Colombian symbolism and rituals, her handmade tableware in silver-plated brass and natural stones is stunning. 

Matter and Shape first edition: tubular sculptural candle holders

Charlotte Chesnais

(Image credit: Celia Spenard-Ko)

Charlotte Chesnais, who never ceases exploring the perfect form, used this occasion to present her ‘Sculpting Space II’ exhibition. Most of the bronze pieces are enlarged versions of her jewellery and included candle holders that she made for Loro Piana. The Danish goldsmith Griegst, established in 1963, showed its baroque-style cutlery collection.

Matter and Shape first edition: images and objects on display

Rick Owens

(Image credit: Celia Spenard-Ko)

'We can be a platform or media, supporting designers and companies to create new experiences with our taste and expertise, in production and creative contents, concluded Thawley. 'It’s important to keep on going with this idea.' The second edition of Matter and Shape is expected this period in 2025.

Matter and Shape first edition: blue chair beside table with glassware

La Romaine Editions

(Image credit: Celia Spenard-Ko)

Matter and Shape first edition: shelf

(Image credit: Celia Spenard-Ko)

Matter and Shape first edition: couch and chair

Furniture from Typ

(Image credit: Celia Spenard-Ko)

Matter and Shape first edition: marble furniture sculptures

(Image credit: Celia Spenard-Ko)

Matter and Shape first edition: colourful furniture

Furniture by Older

(Image credit: Celia Spenard-Ko)

Matter and Shape first edition: sculptural glowing lamps

(Image credit: Celia Spenard-Ko)

Minako Norimatsu is a Japanese journalist and consultant based in Paris. Extremely curious about everything creative, her field ranges from fashion to art, dance, hospitality and travel. She has interviewed many Japanese fashion designers and artists for Wallpaper*, as well as non-Japanese creatives whose inspirations are drawn from Japan.