Now in it's 20th year, Maison & Objet has become a regular feature of the European design scene and grown to a trade fair that covers everything from fashion to homewares. Held at Paris Nord Villepinte, the fair is spread over 8 themed halls allowing visitors to target their key areas of interest from fabrics to fragrances and furniture.
Hot on the heels of their pressed metal chair 'Stampa' for Spanish outdoor brand Kettal launched at Salone del Mobile in April, the Bouroullec brothers have demonstrated yet again their astonishing ability to reinvent tried and tested methods and typologies. In this instance 'Palisade' for Hay combines flat bar and tubular steel to create a graphic outdoor furniture collection with 13 elements ranging from sofas and benches, to armchairs and stools. The cut, bent welded and galvanised steel is offered powder coated in 6 colours. Simple and graphic but with lyrical curves on the sofas and armchairs, the collection will work across public parks and private gardens.
Pulpo is a young German company that has grown rapidly with the help of numerous delightful cast and blown glass designs by a group of talented designers including Sebastian Herkner. At this year's Maison & Objet it was the turn of London based designer, Harry Thaler to impress with his two part ceramic table light 'Fumi' and his 'Simple' table lamp in lathe-turned limestone.
'Fumi' is essentially two dome shapes joined by way of a powerful magnet, allowing the shade to rotate 360 degrees. Available in two heights the lamp is available glazed with in white, grey or black brown with a slightly sandy texture.
Exhibiting an equally miraculous element of movement as the 'Fumi' lamp but with decidedly Heath Robinson overtones, is the 'Moment' candleholder by Norwegian designer, Lars Beller Fjetland. Fjetland has been responsible for some knock out designs in recent years such as the 'Drifted' stool for Discipline (Now HEM), the 'Cloche' lamp for Hay and the 'Solid' bench for Normann Copenhagen. 'Moment' is released by Wrong For Hay the more radical offshoot of Hay run by British designer, Sebastian Wrong.
Inspired by a 19th century example found by Fjetland in a Oslo museum, 'Moment' is made from intricately moulded cast iron. The 'self-extinguishing' candle holder has a mechanical beauty that will appeal to anyone who enjoys the operations of and swiss army knife or a corkscrew. Not only does 'Moment' look solidly old school but it also ensures that molten wax doesn't end up all over your table. When the candle has burnt down near to the base, a trigger is activated and a cap flips into place, snuffing out the flame. Pure genius. Watch the video here.
Inga Sempé is a designer who enjoys playing with texture and materiality. This year saw the reissue of her 2002 storage design 'Armoire Brosse'. Originally released by the Italian company Edra in 2003 it has now been reissued by quirky French label Moustache. The polypropylene brush and aluminium storage conceals its contents while making access easy - no doors to pull open or slide. The look is pleasantly mad - like a multi storey building wearing a grass skirt.
There has been a spate of wall clocks being released in recent years - mainly minimal concepts in timber with the occasional venture into marble or metals like brass. Normann Copenhagen however has launched something quite different in 'Bold' by Swedish designer, Jonas Wagell. The name of the wall clock pretty well sums it up. Essentially a bold graphic device with large round hands like the Futura typeface, the face of the clock is aluminium, powder coated in grey, petrol blue or white. In actual fact the clock originally released in 2008 but only in bright primary colours and never went into serial production. The 2015 version benefits from a more sophisticated colour palette and the backing of established Danish brand, Normann Copenhagen.
In the past Eugene Quitllet has been involved in co-designing a large number of releases by Philippe Starck but has in the last couple of years 'come out' as a designer in his own right and an amazingly talented one at that. Normally associated with elegant furniture with slender lines and transparent seats and table tops, his new 'Tube' range for Spanish brand Mobles 114 is far more chunky and utiliterian. Made from large diameter tubular steel, the indoor / outdoor range comes in six colours including black and white with seats in polypropylene. I'm not sure whether I like it yet but there is something attractive about its naive form. Mobiles 114 is distributed in Australia by Spanish specialist Ke-zu.
Having recently done a post on rattan (you can see the full post here) I was excited to see a reissue of a Franco Albini sofa by Danish rattan specialist Sika Design. Originally released in 1951, the delicate and intricate 'Belladonna' sofa has been out of production for over 50 years. Mika Design his represented in Australia by Domo Collections.
While there are some beautifully conceived door handles available from companies such as Valli & Valli who carry handles by numerous design heavyweights such as Achille Castiglione, they generally follow a solid sculptural form based around a traditional approach to handle ergonomics. Paris brand Bonnemazou, founded by two architect / interior designers, Bonnemazou Manuel and Agnes Cambus, recognised the need for a whole new approach.
Made entirely of solid brass the handles are made in France and offered in polished brass or lacquered in youthful colour combinations. It is the shapes that are the key however. Gone is the solid carved lever replaced by an open loop or graphic flat handle. Now, I'm not suggesting that they will feel better in the hand than many traditional door handles but they do present a real option for those who want to shake it up bit and use door hardware as a design feature.
The Bonnemazou range of handles won the Decouvertes Maison & Objet 2015 Award.
Giulio Iacchetti's small furniture and homewares label Internoitaliano released a new timber bed side table by LucidiPevere called 'Noce' (Italian for 'Night'). The design opts for a lift up lid rather than a drawer so that books, watches glasses and other paraphernalia can still be hidden if desired but also looks good when open. A marble shelf adds a nice contrast of materials.
Of course it's not all just about products. Each Maison & Objet there is a core installation to enliven the spirit and set the mood. Returning after their last cherry blossum and bird song laden offering shown as part of the January Maison & Objet, Japanese techno-artists teamLab were commissioned to create an installation called the 'Floating Flower Garden'. Consisting of 2300 orchard plants suspended upside down from wires, the flowering plants moved up and down in slow organic rhythms reacting to the movement of people through the dome of flowers hung at the centre of Hall 8. The concept was delicate and beautiful and introduced not only an amazing audio-visual but olfactory element to the fair. Creating a serene space for visitors to relax and take a break from the intensity of a trade fair, 'Floating Flower Garden' was an delightful bridge between technology and nature. Below is a video of the installation as it appeared at the Miraikan National Museum of Science & Innovation in Tokyo.