As a first timer to the world renowned homewares, decoration and design trade fair Maison & Objet this January, I had to do a bit of a background check on what to expect before I left the sunny shores of Australia to immerse myself into the world of homewares in Paris - a tough job I know. The word 'overwhelming' was used by just about every person I spoke to who had trawled the halls of Maison & Objet before me - so while I was expecting to feel a little awe struck at having to get around to see just over 3,000 exhibitors, after three days there I felt the space was rather intimate and not as monolithic as I thought it was going to be due, in part, to the clever curation of the halls by the team of organisers behind the scenes.
While we are not fans of following trends or fads here at est HQ, we could not help but to notice that greenery was definitely a strong theme running throughout the fair. Whether it be hanging plants or teal painted walls, green certainly was there to be seen alongside metallic accents (mostly gold tones) stone and woven basketry. Elements of nature were present in just about every exhibitors stand we stopped to see. There was also a definite pull back on the 'scandi' look with not as many 'skin throws' on show (for me personally, a decorator piece I am happy to see the back of) with the overarching look leaning more to a sense of elegant yet tactile luxury and sophistication. Velvets featured heavily as did layered and draped linen over sofas mixed with metals and the hand made, tactile and 'imperfect' qualities of ceramics and hand woven basketry. The vast variety of products on show at Maison et Objet really proved a point to me and that is no home should follow one definitive trend but rather it should house only the pieces that you love and bring you joy. Over the coming weeks we will be highlighting some of the key designers and brands that really stood out for us at the fair as images of their latest ranges start to come through.
WORDS Sian MacPherson
Pieces to Covet...
MICHAEL VERHEYDEN: Creating uncommon objects for common rituals, Belgian designer Michaël Verheyden is the master of creating sublimely beautiful objects. We loved his furniture range and his wall lighting in particular.
ATELIER POLYHEDRE: Specialising in ceramics, designers Baptiste Ymonet and Vincent Jousseaume have created a terracotta table lamp that caught our eye as we roamed through the Craft section of the fair.
NEW WORKS: The Core Table Lamp, Rise and Shine Mirror and Aura Table Mirror by Copenhagen based design studio, New Works are all pieces that we think will work in just about any design lovers home.
NEO: Former ceramicist Rosanna Contadini has created perfectly chunky and tactile basketry woven from neoprene yarn that is soft and velvety smooth to touch - a start contrast to its rather robust appearance.
ANDREA BAUMANN: The pint sized, delicate porcelain works lined in gold caught our eye in the Craft section of the fair. We met designer Andrea Baumann and became instantly enamoured with her manner and her story. Working from an old farmhouse kitchen in the hills of Austria, Baumann believes that every cup of tea or drink of water should be special and that her pieces should be used every day and not locked away in a cupboard just to be looked at. Each piece passes through Baumann's hands 28 times in the process of it's making so its little wonder the designer treasures each and every piece that she sells.
Seen to be green...
NORDSTJERNE: Danish for 'Northern Star' designer Henriette Bach's label of Nordic inspired homewares consists of marble, brass and suede vessels, trays and books.
SPECIMEN EDITIONS: Brazilian designer Brunno Jahara's lamps made from woven Brazilian palm leaves with metal and brass details are an elegant mix of contemporary styles and local cultural traditions of the designers homeland.
Q DE BOUTEILLES: Literally called the 'ass of the bottle' this brand of drinking glasses was conjured up after two friends spent a night drinking wine and catching up in a small Parisian flat. Taking empty wine bottles and cutting them down to tableware size, Q de bouteilles makes a truly artisanal statement for any table setting.
HANDVÄRK: Designer and Founder Emil Thorup has created a furniture brand that exudes an inherent Nordic DNA. Using materials such as marble, brass and aniline leather each Handvark piece is guaranteed to age gracefully over time.
SEBASTIAN COX: Founded on the principle that the past can be used to design and make the future, the Sebastian Cox workshop based in the UK create beautiful pieces from fallen trees and tree trunks gathered from street pruning, building sites and garden renovations. Recognised as one of UK's 'Rising Talents' at the fair this year, this young British designer is one to keep an eye out for.