Last season, Maison et Objet (18-22 January) changed its format, separating the show into two distinct categories: home interior, and objects and accessories. This may have initially thrown its regular visitors off course, but it soon proved that a reconfiguration didn’t mean a change in quality. With over 600 new brands on show, there is much on display this January from international players, including German designer Sebastian Herkner as guest of honour and flourishing talents from China, to new offerings beyond the fairground, at Parisian galleries in town.
Swirl by Tom Dixon
This family of bookends, vases and candleholders are a totemic addition to the British brand’s repertoire. Playfully paired and sculpturally stacked, the pieces aim to resemble 3D marbled paper, but offer the surprising weight of a stone object. The real material? A new cocktail of pigment, resin and recycled residue from the marble industry.
‘Nouveau’ by Bernhardt-Vella for Ex.t
Florentine bathroom brand Ex.t tap bathroom newcomers, Milan-based studio Bernhardt-Vella, for a collection that takes its cues from early 20th-century art deco. The range of asymmetric washbasins and cabinets are available in brass or black finishes for a shapely bathroom set. ‘We've translated a serene and discreet elegance into purity, with a balance of lines and shapes, lightness and airiness,' the duo describe the contemporary collection that includes mirrors and invites multiple configurations.
‘Curl’ coat rack by Kaschkasch for Blomus
The functionality of this new coat rack is a result of its design evolution. Realised by Cologne-based duo Kaschkasch for Blomus, its undulating metal silhouette eradicates the need for traditional ‘hooks’, and it is elegantly shaped at an angle for the 3D look. Arriving in muted hues, Curl is a sophisticated, yet subtle storage tool.
‘Barrel’ by Philippe Malouin for SCP
Described as ‘brutalist home objects,’ Malouin’s latest project for the London manufacturer and retailer includes a coffee table, dining table, bench, stool and side table. The simple wooden structure is a result of the repetition of planks to create a base that mimics wine or whiskey barrels.
Sebastian Herkner as Designer of the Year
With 21 projects under his belt in 2018 alone, it was an easy decision for Maison et Objet to choose Herkner as star of the show. Based in Frankfurt, his work combines craft with a modern eye for colour, and he showcases this in an installation at the fair. ‘Different cultures, skills and lifestyles all fuel my inspiration,’ he says of his breadth of work. Herkner also celebrates new launches at the fair including these new ‘Echino' side tables with blown glass legs for Italian brand Zanotta.
Launching at Maison et Objet is Indian brand Ikkis (‘21’ in Hindi). An ode to the rituals of India, the 21-strong collection gives traditional pieces a modern spin like the chai glass or diya (oil lamp, pictured). Founder and creative director Gunjan Gupta aims to put craftspeople of India in the spotlight with this launch, showcasing unique techniques and materials, like terracotta coating that is paired with stone, glass, and copper.
Rising Talents Awards China
In September 2018, the Rising Talents Awards focused on Lebanese designers, while this January edition, Maison et Objet turns to the finest emerging designers in China. Frank Chou, Chen Furong, Mario Tsai, Hongjie Yang, Ximi Li and Bentu have been chosen for their dynamic contribution to the country’s creative scene.
‘With the rapid growth of the Chinese economy and the need for a cultural expression of its own, we see a large number of emerging designers that have started to create their own voice that deals with issue of heritage and identity,’ says jury member Lyndon Neri of Neri&Hu. Pictured, ‘The Middle Chair’ by Frank Chou takes its cues from traditional Chinese bamboo chairs that are adorned with a piece of metal at the end of the armrest.
Monaco by Uto Soulful lighting
Inspired by mobile art sculptures, these customisable suspension lights are a playful new launch from Portuguese brand Uto Soulful lighting. Made up of opaque glass globes and alternating brass elements, the different textures and shapes provide a unique silhouette that is as ornamental as it is functional.
‘Serie 01’ by Pool and Atelier François Pouenat at Gallery Joyce
Heritage brand Atelier François Pouenat joins forces with Paris-based duo Pool for an exhibition that explores how heritage metal craft combines with contemporary design vision. ‘Serie 01’ includes eight pieces by Paul Loebach, Fredrick Paulsen, Fabien Cappello and Pool themselves and ranges from shelving to benches, all made of aluminium, brass, steel, and more. Read more here.
Maison et Objet is on view 18-22 January. For more information, visit the website
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Sujata Burman is a writer and editor based in London, specialising in design and culture. She was Digital Design Editor at Wallpaper* before moving to her current role of Head of Content at London Design Festival and London Design Biennale where she is expanding the content offering of the showcases. Over the past decade, Sujata has written for global design and culture publications, and has been a speaker, moderator and judge for institutions and brands including RIBA, D&AD, Design Museum and Design Miami/. In 2019, she co-authored her first book, An Opinionated Guide to London Architecture, published by Hoxton Mini Press, which was driven by her aim to make the fields of design and architecture accessible to wider audiences.
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