Maison&Objet, Jan 2011
This was going to be my first visit to Maison&Objet so here I was with my husband on our way to France, excited at going to one of the most talked about fairs in the Design industry and the prospect of being surrounded by new creations. I had been told to allow two days to see it all but I had foolishly decided that I was going to do it in one day, knowing that I had a lot to see and it was going to be tiresome. I had also been told I probably should get an e-pass so I wouldn’t waste time and select the ones I really wanted to see! Well that was no good for me, firstly I had never been there so I didn’t know what to expect ; secondly who I wanted to see; thirdly I wanted to leave time for browsing, get the feel and the story behind it, either be it the designers story or how it came about… So that is something I still need to find a solution for which more days at the fair will probably be the best option.
I find the location easily enough, Parc des Expositions is well situated and easy to get to and from Paris. After we find a place to park (everyone uses the grass verges at weekends, goodness knows what it would be like in the week when people are working) We made our way into the fair and stopped for an exorbitantly priced coffee and croissant. I then sent my husband to reacquaint himself with Paris and I find out later that he froze in the open top bus but that was his fault since he had been warned that Paris was a bit chillier then London in January and I couldn’t really take him in with me.
Now let’s get to the important part… Where to go first? I decide hall 5A (Maison&Objet- home accessories) and while there I get a text from ST (sorry rather not use names) recommending that I also go see 5B (interior decoration actuel), 7(scènes d’intérieur) and 8(now! design à vivre). I did manage to get to 2(home textiles)to find that I had just run out of time and had to make a quick exit, it was time to get back to the channel tunnel.
As I arrived the first stand I saw was Mis en Demeure (remember this is my opinion and being my blog I am going to take the liberty of giving you my feelings and opinions). On their website they promote “combinations of classical and contemporary styles”; I loved the colours and the different textures albeit I left them thinking classic and stylish, but not contemporary. Is it me that has a different definition of contemporary or are some definitions just becoming very misleading?
And so my journey continued for six hours with only a croissant and coffee on arrival and adrenalin to sustain me as I wanted to see and absorb as much as I could. Some assistants very kindly kept me filled up with water which was sweet of them, they probably took a look at me and seeing my Mediterranean bleached skin thought I definitely needed it.
An amazingly vibrant world of cutting edge designs from dynamic designers
My first impression was “nice but I want something new that stands out and we already have a lot of the same”.
The safe option for a designer is to create variations on the same; what makes a design special for me is if it touches your senses…and I am very much about what makes me tick or the client for that matter. Some designs are almost an invitation to dream; others take you on a journey by telling you a story, so that brings me to when I meet Mr. Yoshio Kan from Remix Japan.
Of all the people I met, Yoshio stood out because he told me how the people of Takayama use the materials that surround them and transform them into lovely creations. How the village uses recycled materials such as broken crockery to make new objects; how they reinterpret the past and give it a new form or look i.e. by using Kimono fabrics to manufacture bags and soft furnishings; how they use lacquered wood as a substitute for glassware and so on. How great it is to see local materials being revived.
The dynamic BRIC economies of the world, Russia, India, China and those from the other rapidly growing Asian economies and the Middle East where their designs tend towards the decidedly big and ornate were catered for with all tastes and eccentricities. And that brings me to my preferences?
I fell in love with some gorgeous textiles from Mairo and rugs from Piodao if there was ever a pattern-filled collection that could shake the winter blues right off, I found it. From bold colours to whimsical patterns, I would like to thank these designers for the happiness this brought to my day. Here’s to warmer weather and more colourful days.
Colours: white, black, ash grey with splashes of fresh vibrant colours like blood orange, yellow, pink, blue and green.
Materials: loved the use of reclaimed/recycled wood partnered with metal and leather, examples being Ilse and NF Asian.
Textures: It gave me great pleasure to see we are going back to our roots and heritage is becoming important. An example being a chair from Robin Du Lac.
My favourite pieces: A mirror with Murano glass frame from Glas Italia , hirshorn spitfire chair and the book light from Andrew Martin.
My favourite design: Jonathan Adler; a quirky, funky, fun and stylish look and I also liked Ibride; the fact that they dared to stand out even if some of their pieces might shock, to me it gave me an “Alice in Wonderland” feel with a decadent touch. If it makes me smile then I am a sucker for it.
What surprised me: I would say Naturalys, and you are now thinking why!? Probably because like so many of us I don’t have green fingers (my husband says I am great at making them go brown) so the fact that I can now have my own indoor garden even if it is on the wall and if I forget to water it or I put it where there isn’t much light, it’s ok because you don’t have to, then hooray…I am all for it.
Innovation in design: Casamania and Popcorn, I liked how they both think outside the box and give new texture, new colour to produce everyday objects in unusual settings. Who else would use a Wellington Boot as a ceramic vase?
What inspired me? The fusion between tradition, creation and incorporation of our heritage.
I could go on forever but you will get bored. I’ve missed out many designers and ideas like www.mini-garden.com, www.domedeco.com, www.tabisso.com, www.maison-pederrey.eu and so on; truly neither a day nor this piece is enough to do the exhibition justice!
And there you have it, my thoughts on Maison&Objet January 2011