Paris in January can only mean one thing – our first trade event of this year – Maison et Objet. Having visited briefly last year, this time we took the opportunity to see familiar faces, discover new designers and indulge in some éclairs.
We were delighted to see more and more British companies exhibiting at the show, growing their international presence and promoting excellent UK design. Our favourite halls by far were 7 and 8 – with hall 7 presenting luxury brands ranging from furniture and lighting to tableware and floor coverings, and hall 8 filled with contemporary design from international companies. For us, hall 7 felt similar to Decorex International and hall 8 to Tent London.
But as we’re all familiar with the UK companies (or we hope you are, having followed DailyD for a while!) I’d like to share with you my top five international finds from the show.
Lalique & Damien Hirst
I have a problematic relationship with both of the above brands. I wrote my university dissertation of Mr Hirst, having discussed him with Peter Aspden, Nicholas Cullinan and Julian Stallabrass. While I don’t think much of his ‘art’, his ability to make money has to be admired. And then comes Lalique, which to begin with I did find rather kitsch with its shapes and colours. The brand has grown on me though, and is one of my favourites now when it comes to art glass and crystal.
It’s not surprising then that as soon as I saw the Lalique Hirst collaboration, I was automatically drawn to it. And truth be told – these crystal panels are beautiful. The pastel colours are subtle, butterfly shapes delicate and the pieces bring an enchanted atmosphere to an interior when lit up. There’s one question though: how much of Damien Hirst is in those pieces? I would have at least expected for butterflies to be adorned with miniature skulls. At least!
Missoni Home had one of most remarkable stands at the show – thanks to its size but also its design. The brand enclosed its latest collection inside the stand, inviting you to explore it, rather than take a peek and walk past. Inside the stand, you could admire the latest pieces from its Lilium Multicolor collection, all about florals interpreted in a more ‘abstract, symbolic way’. As you would expect, the stand was filled with colour and pattern on pattern – the rug in picture below is my favourite, and yes, I would have it at home.
The strangest discovery of Maison & Objet was Thierry Laudren, with its Alice in Wonderland furniture and female-shaped chest of drawers. Partly art partly furniture, these designs caught my eye for their delicacy, theatrical feel and the fact that they are visibly handmade. They would make a quirky addition to a boutique hotel.
73 is a new design from Canadian studio Bocci, branded as a lamp made of glass but resembling fabric. Personally, the design reminds me much more of clouds or rocks, rather than a piece of fabric. What triggers the comparison though, is the process of how the light is made – glass is blown into a ceramic fabric, which gives the material its permanent shape. I like it for its irregular and organic shapes – you feel like the individual pieces have just dropped from the sky.
Stian Korntved Ruud
My final favourite from Maison & Objet was the Daily Spoon Project from Norwegian designer Stian Korntved Ruud. I could suggest that Stian is the Norwegian equivalent of our Sebastian Cox, but no one likes comparisons!
Stian is a designer fascinated by wood and its qualities. He is still working on his Daily Spoon project, carving a spoon a day, aiming to have 365 of them at the end of the project. Each spoon is handcrafted using traditional tools and Stian’s Instagram account is a true inspiration and a log of his craft progress.
There were many more companies and brands we saw at Maison et Objet and surely many more to be seen in the rest of the halls – we’d need extra days for these! What were your Maison & Objet highlights?