If Cologne kicks off the design year showing the shape of furniture to come, Maison et Objet follows quickly on its heels with a taste of the tabletop to come. Of course there’s furniture too, but it’s typically the multi-platform brands that dominate in Paris, guiding us to the more general household and lifestyle trends. Brands and buyers come from across Europe and the wider world. Lately it’s the Scandinavians and the Japanese who seem to make the most of the show.
One material often jumps out as particularly popular – and this season it seems that many of our esteemed designers have been getting busy with glass. Granted, there are many glass specialists who regularly show and the usual suspects were there, but there were new turns by Tomas Kral and Joe Doucet at Nude; Michael Anastassiades, David/Nicolas and Sebastian Herkner at Verreum; and Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance at St Louis.
Garth Roberts' 'After Party' rug for CC-Tapis
Now that brass, marble and wood (alone and combined) have become popular shorthand for quality across the mainstream as well as luxury markets, designers are looking for new substances and surface decorations with which to break up the material monotony. A couple of years ago terrazzo prevailed, and last year splattering seemed to take hold. This year it’s confetti that’s fallen on walls and flooring, tables and tops. Fine examples were on show at CC-Tapis and Ferm Living, where wallpapers and fabrics got the treatment.
In addition, oil-spill iridescence and antique mirroring were inspiring surfaces at Llot Llov, Ferm Living and Pulpo. Young designers in the Rising Talents section showed unique treatments of resin – UK-based Zuza Mengham exhibited a particularly fine vase in her signature colourful resin composite and Marcin Rusak showcased his flower and resin compositions.
Georg Jensen launched a decadent 'Manhattan' collection
Pierre Charpin was the fair’s Designer of the Year, and an exhibition of his work set the tone for some of other French designs on show; the likes of Petite Friture and Pool at Gallery Bensimon proved Memphis Mach II to be alive and well.
Among the newcomers taking the stage here was Maison Dada, a Shanghai-based brand with a whimsical selection of lighting and furnishings designed by French nationals Thomas Dariel and Delphine Moreau. Evolution, created by Vincent Le Guern (brother of Valérie, who heads up the family firm Mauviel) and designed by Alain Gilles, featured tabletop and kitchen pieces in mixed materials that complement Mauviel’s essential kitchenware. And Sebastian Conran introduced a design collaboration with the traditional craftsmen of Japan’s Gifu region.