The fair saw two important agendas addressed this season, the evolving spaces of work and the demanding areas of hospitality were discussed besides the customary trends.
The Maison et Objet fair in Paris took place this September with the theme this edition being Work. Offices and workspaces have become an extension of a person’s personality and home. Exhibitors showcased an imaginative array of solutions that bridged the gap between these hybridised living spaces that not only exuded a certain je ne sais quoi, but also tackled the needs specific to the modern working environment.
The ever changing role of an ‘office’ has blurred the lines between home and the work space echoed by our nomadic lifestyles. This September Maison et Objet was a laboratory for expressing today’s new way of working – exhibitors, conferences, curation, were all looking at the workspaces of the future.
In the What’s New section of the fair, Chantal Hamide and Phillippe Boisellier displayed their selection on trends and objects identified in four main areas based on the evolutions and behaviour in the work space – connectivity, mobility, comfort, and use.
They displayed everything from lights, furniture, pens , flasks, lunch boxes, sticky notes, pen drives, Nespresso machines, wastebaskets, etc., all in the setting of a concept store, where you could browse the unique array of merchandise on offer.
Private office pods were all the rage this season, like the cool Atelier van Lieshout Skull Workstation, a specifically designed one-person workstation created by artist Joep van Lieshot. This organically shaped fibreglass construction had two polyester skull parts bolted together with a built-in wooden bench and desk. The Silence Chair from Evavaara Design was also on display. This high backed chair workstation for one was designed for busy loud public spaces, while Framery had a number of best selling pods and office phone booths on view.
The Talks and The WORK! Conference zones had some of the most influential names in global design and architecture – all giving their take on the ever altering workplace and offering solutions for a more fluid home inspired professional environment.
Maison et Objet’s official lighting trends exhibition imagined a ‘home office’ apartment, in which innovative, smart, ‘human-centric’ lighting met evolving needs like comfort, conviviality, creativity, illuminance, beauty, calm, nature, well-being, autonomy, modularity, technology, adaptability, connectivity and interactivity.
Having previously shone a spotlight on the United Kingdom, Italy, Lebanon and China, this season’s Rising Talent Awards had six up-and-coming designers from the USA. Bailey Fontaine, a lighting and product designer guided by his industrial Midwestern roots and a pair of artistic cousins who make sculptural metal furnishings got the chance to interact on the world stage.
This season the Designer Of The Year went to 37 year old architect Laura Gonzalez, a well known name across Paris. The chic styles of Lapérouse, Hotel Christine, the Brasserie La Lorraine and the Cartier stores in Paris, Stockholm and Zurich all reflect her mix and match sumptuous creations.
Visitors to the Café Signature, designed especially for the event could submerge themselves in the world of Laura Gonzalez’s furniture, relishing a selection of dishes and pastries conceived by Pierre Hermé. The decor with its distinctive shapes, colours and materials was an atmosphere only Laura Gonzalez could amalgamate.
In today’s day and age, anyone who walks into a café, hotel or restaurant expects more than just food and a nice bed. Today’s discerning customers are well informed and exceedingly conscious of good design. Maison et Objet thus showcased a range of solutions to help hospitality professionals give the new age patron exactly what they want.
Sectioned around central themes the areas of Forever (timeless classics), Unique and Eclectic (championing global creativity) and Today (a distillation of the spirit of our times) presented the latest furnishings (beds and baths included) and design solutions from international designers and a myriad of brands.
Some of the memorable articles on display were Framefork by All’Origine, an assemblage of metal cutlery and kitchenware from the mid-century Austro-Hungarian Empire, Seletti’s Cosmic Diner range in collaboration with Diesel Living which was space themed porcelain tableware with moons, planets, and suns running through it. Rebirth had quirky animal plates, while Napking had handmade napkins that were both delicate and practical.
The Crafts and the fair in general, as always celebrated the hand made and the artist with interesting items like the Gilde hooks made from real leather shoes, Yothaka furniture that employed the use of water hyacinth reeds to create a throne like arm chair and the fantastical sculptures in glass by Nathalie Borderie.
The kitschy chairs by AP collection were not only super fun but handmade in Belgium as well, while global brands like Duravit and Vitra also had amazing displays.
The MOM (Maison Objet and more) village was vibrant in red, encouraging customers to interact with the best products from the show and helping them to get in touch with the brands, request catalogues or price quotes. Their collector’s tote bag was designed by none other than Paola Navone (a multi-award winning star designer whose work is distributed by Gervasoni, EMU, Cappelini, Kasthall and Driade amongst others) who had incorporated her distinct tattoo-like motifs which are a fusion of South Mediterranean and Asian cultures.
Since 1995, Maison et Objet has been the world’s go to event for lifestyle, interior design and design industry professionals. Visitors as usual could pick and choose from a large smorgasbord of products that were on trend at the fair.
Raj Anand & Associates
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