February 3, 2015

The Best of Maison&Objet’s 20th Anniversary


The Maison&Objet fair kicked off its 20th anniversary celebrations in Paris last week with a giant birthday cake and a five-day January 2015 edition. No less than 3,194 exhibitors spread over eight hangar-sized halls of furniture, decoration, design, accessories, textiles, fragrances, cookware, tableware, arts and crafts and children’s wares. What caught our eye?

Wood is everywhere this year, often in natural finishes, from the new oiled walnut Shaker table and chairs by Neri & Hu for De La Espada to the delicate rosewood or ebony espresso cup and saucer, spoon, fork and butter knife that complement classic chopsticks by Japan’s Marunao Woodwork.

Wood is also at the leading edge of an expanding ecological current. Alki, the woodwork cooperative from France’s Basque Country long devoted to sustainable development, launched its new Kuskoa Bi chair, billed as the world’s first bioplastic chair—biodegradable, recyclable, composed of beet, cornstarch and sugar cane. Normal Studio’s Atmosphères project—a VIA award winner—includes the low-tech natural clay Refresher air cooler and the high-tech Diffuser LED lamp that offers wireless internet connections using new French LiFi technology. Iskos-Berlin’s Fiber chair for Muuto is made of a 100% recyclable wood fiber and plastic composite. Hong Kong manufacturer EOQ’s basic material for lighting and furniture is recycled aluminum. Arpel Lighting’s Fine 500 task light is equipped with a Green Mode sensor that adjusts to ambient light and occupancy.

The six young designers chosen as Talents à la Carte this season are all from Mexico, including David Pompa, who uses the Oaxaca region’s elegant barro negro natural black pottery for lampshades and vases; and Christian Vivanco, who makes charming children’s furnishings from handwoven basketry.

Art and design come together in Bernardaud’s limited edition dinnerware, with patterns by Alexander Calder (mobiles in red and black); Portuguese artist Vic Muniz (“Petri”, with vividly colored patterns inspired by bacteria developing in petri dishes); and Marina Abramovic’s two mismatched 4-piece services. Both of Abramovic’s sets are used for a duet dinner for “Misfits for the Table,” and a single set takes care of a “Lonely Dinner for One.” At Lalique, Damien Hirst offers surprisingly simple crystal panels with butterfly motifs.

Among other highlights: delightful cotton rugs designed by Ines de la Fressange for Toulemonde Bouchart; CoEdition’s cast aluminum Eiffel Tower chairs by Alain Moatti for the Gustave Eiffel Pavilion on the tower’s first floor; and Ligne Roset’s reissue of Pierre Paulin’s mid-20th century classics. Top stand for smileage: Spanish leather goods company Sol & Luna’s vintage Citroen 2CV convertible, entirely upholstered, inside and out, in natural golden beige leather.

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