Thursday, 25 February 2016

Maison & Objet 2016 January edition Highlights



Maison & Objet is the largest interiors trade show in France and a key milestone in the design calendar in Europe. It’s a fairly all encompassing show bringing together products across decoration, design, furniture, accessories, textiles, fragrances, children’s products, tableware and so much more – Christmas in late Jan anyone? Until you’ve been to a design show like Maison & Objet or Ambiente it’s hard to comprehend just how big these fairs are. Maison’s January edition had 2,978 exhibitors from 59 countries and whopping 76,417 visitors with 48% being from overseas representing 143 nationalities. It’s like a design endurance test and sometimes you're not sure what will give up first, your achy feet or your overloaded brain.

At this years January’s edition of the show I had a fast and furious whizz around the halls as I’d been delayed getting to Paris by a Eurostar technical fault. There were nearly 700 new brands showing at this session and as always I was on the lookout for trends, new products and emerging talent.  So this round up is in no way a comprehensive list but it does pull together the products that jumped up and grabbed me. 

I was really taken with the Hideout Lounge Chair by Swedish design trio Front for GebruderThonet Vienna. Hideout is made from the traditional steam-bent solid beech structure that Thonet is renowned for but it also includes a large and comfortable seat, which is upholstered. Any individual sitting in the chair is offered privacy via the “wings” that are also made in the traditional caning technique of Thonet. It’s like a really big hug to sit in and it looks great too. 

Husband and wife team Russell Pinch and Oona Bannon started Pinch design in 2004 aiming to design and make furniture that you’ll want to live with and pass on to future generations. Their work is synonymous with simplicity of form and the purity of a good shape. It’s no surprise then that I fell for their Nim table. This floating island of jesmonite has real presence by virtue of his solidness and delicate beauty. An absolute classic in my opinion.
New exhibitor Esme Winter specialises in high-quality decorative stationery. Her products are made entirely in the UK and Europe using acid free, FSC assured papers and vegetable-based inks. The marbled paper designs created in collaboration with marbled paper artist, Jemma Lewis particularly caught my eye.
Italian design brand Meridiani always grab my attention and while they were not showing any new to market items on their stand I really thought how they used colour to make their products pop was outstanding.  They are also not afraid to use saturated colour on their products either particularly on their Spencer and Pinto tables. Watch out for their new releases at Salone Milan 12-17 April.
LASVIT designer Petra Krausova presented a new sculpture lighting piece at Maison&Objet. The dynamically-lit Cassia draws its inspiration both from the star-studded sky, as well as the organic shapes of flowers in a meadow. Each piece is made of hand-blown glass and is therefore unique. They look amazing hung in multiples at various heights, but hung as individual pendants they are just as beautiful.

The Talents à la Carte space for rising and emerging talent at the January edition of Maison was entirely made up of Scandinavian design. The Poured collection consists of bowls and tables, all cast by hand in Troels Flensted’s studio in Copenhagen, Denmark. It’s a serenely joyful to see the swirls and pattern that each bowl has. The different coloured patterns are determined by how much pigment is added to the casting mix and then how the mix is poured into each individual mould. A really wonderful collection.

Also exhibiting were Kneip, a craft, design and art studio founded by Jørgen Platou Willumsen and Stian Korntved Ruud, both graduates of the Oslo School of Architecture and Design.  I first saw their work at London Design Festival in September 2015 when they exhibited at Tent London.

I’d never heard of Canadian Martha Sturdy although apparently she’s a big design name.  Her bespoke work has found homes with the likes of Louis Vuitton and the Four Seasons. I found her resin pieces to be particularly attention grabbing it was almost like they glowed. They were very sleek and very thoughtful and would make a great “art” statement in the right home or office.

Founded in 2015 by Marie-Lise Fery, Magic Circus showed a playful vintage inspired collection of lighting in brass and opalescent glass. The oversized pieces were particularly impressive in the darkened room set created for Maison & Objet where they could shine as a centerpiece.
Another new exhibitor was StellarWorks with a wonderful stand in Hall 7 by Neri&Hu. While they may have been first time exhibitors their product and brand story was well versed by everyone I spoke with. While they are Hong Kong based their design shows strong Scandinavian and Japanese design aesthetics with a luxe range of materials. Their new dowry designs by Neri&Hu were very covetable. The collection everyone seemed to be talking about was Yabu Pushelberg's James series, with lots of masculine traits it was desirable enough to want to touch.
To find out more about upcoming Maison&Objet events in 2016 see here
Maison&Objet Asia held in Singapore, 8-11 March, Maison&Objet Americas held in Miami Beach 10-13 May, and next Maison&Objet Paris 2-6 September.  Paris Design Week 3-10 September 2016

Photo credits: Images provided by suppliers for Magic Circus, MarthaSturdy, Kneip, Troels Flensted’s, Esme Winter, GebruderThonet Vienna and first image of Meridiani All other photos by Mary Middleton at Hellopeagreen.com

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