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There is only one reason for boarding the Eurostar at first light on a grey Monday morning: Maison et Objet. The design fair in Paris is an international showcase for home interiors – including big powerhouse brands and small emerging designers who want to get in front of buyers, editors and those working in the design industry. Following similar fairs in Stockholm, Cologne, Montreal and ahead of the Spring Fair in Birmingham (4-8 February), it presents a very active design docket for the start of the year. It is no surprise that hosting numerous brands and design VIPs in one place does create a platter of trends that begin taking shape for the year ahead. There are eight halls in total (nine if you consider that five has two parts), so it is a vast emporium. We are delighted to share some of our highlights from Maison et Objet 2018.
The French designers were stationed front of house in hall eight, offering a warm welcome to the fair with a stunning showcase of furniture, accessories, seating and lighting. It was also the first glimpse of a warm yellow colour that was persistant throughout the fair. The study table and stool were a great example of simple, beautiful design.
Ceramic workshop Cielo impressed with a beautifully curated space. The brand focused on the “culture of the handmade”, which has been dismissed by the manufacturing industry due to “its obsession with hourly and industrial costs”. On the contrary, Cielo is fighting mechanisation with a Renaissance workshop of Italian master craftsmen.
Canadian design studio Molo champions purity and iterative design, which both featured heavily at the show. The studio famously experiments with interconnecting realms of art, architecture and design by tirelessly exploring innovations in manufacturing, materials and structure. Founders Stephanie Forsythe + Todd MacAllen built an installation showcasing the gilded soft paperwall and a recent evolution, the urchin softlight. Inspired by geological formations surrounding their west coast home, the structure featured a maze-like vault that promoted exploration.
Initially launching with a line of fashion accessories back in 2002, former model Michaël Verheyden expanded into home accessories and furniture in 2009. The collection is produced with his wife, Saartje Vereecke, and celebrates geometric forms, minimalist lines and rich natural materials such as leather, bronze, brass and marble. The 2018 trend for mixed materials is showcased here with beautiful sophistication. You can find his products on the WallpaperSTORE*, here.
Lighting is always an area of interest at design fairs. We noticed lots of sustainable options, which is set to be an enduring trend in 2018, otherwise known as ‘boho lighting’. A highlight for us was the HRYB translucent porcelain lamp by Ross Lovegrove, which was inspired by nature's beauty. Speaking of lighting, we salute the flamboyant exuberance of the Feather Lamp, an edition piece by A Modern Grand Tour. The palm tree stand, resplendent with ostrich feathers, took centre stage on their stool as it would, we imagine, in any home.
If the Feather Lamp hasn’t activated your extroverted alter-ego, we would like to introduce the AP Collection. The seating collection, handmade in Belgium, was inspired by ‘cuddles & affection’ and is essentially a chair stuffed with cuddly toys. Here we showcase the swan and flamingo iteration, however this was an inclusive zoo – including toucans and seals among others.
It wouldn’t be an international design fair without a healthy dose of maximalism and our needs were met with Martha Sturdy, a Canadian design studio based in Vancouver. The new ‘PRIME’ collection featured geometric furniture in bright primary colours, which stood in stark contrast to the rich earthy tones seen almost everywhere (note: plenty of golden yellows, cobalt blues and deep velvert greens). Martha says, “I wanted to show that colour doesn’t have to be complicated or distracting and that - when combined with clean and confident forms - its boldness can be grounding”.
Joining Martha on the Maximalist scale was Jonathan Adler. The American design company is dedicated to ‘bringing modern glamour to your life’ and the stand was indeed a mix between old-school glamour and modern pop art.
The Italian company demonstrated its expertise in the ancient craft of hand-knitted rugs with a stand designed by Studio Milo. The conceptual space showcased rugs designed by Elena Salmistraro, Patricia Urquiola, Leonardo Talarico and Eligo Studio. It was doing the rounds on Instagram, and for good reason.
Cecilie Manz won ‘Designer of the Year’ with the ‘Objects’ exhibition. The carefully curated space was designed to offer a glimpse into the Copenhagen studio where the viewer is invited to witness the work process. As a space, it was wonderfully minimalistic and sophisticated.
Our very own Rory Dobner was showcasing his wonderfully eccentric designs. The fantastical tick tock clocks took centre stage in a beautiful wall mural. You can shop here for products.
A notable trend throughout the fair was sustainability, which was seen a lot in lighting but also in accessories and floor coverings. Here we saw beautifully woven rugs and textiles made from recycled plastic bottles from our brand new client. Founders Tasha and Barney both share a strong environmental ethos that resonates in everything they design.
And to finish, the pièce de résistance. Tom Dixon did not disappoint with a showcase of textiles, furniture and lighting. This quintessentially British designer has built his empire through diverse, sophisticated designs and this was evident at Maison Objet.
To see more highlights from design fairs, in the UK and abroad, follow our social channels.