Refocus, regroup, indulge your senses, reconnect with your inner self, with others and with the environment. Ahead of Maison&Objet Paris getting set to shine a light on these highly meaningful forward-focused values, we take a look at what to expect from the design laden week ahead…
The major social, economic and political upheaval we are all currently experiencing is inciting everyone to stand up for their convictions. It is also encouraging brands to be more transparent, inclusive and responsible when reaching out to consumers, who are themselves more invested than ever in the way in which they engage with brands. Now is a time for straight talking, taking action and being open-minded, even if that means beating a drum in order to drive forward change. With this in mind The theme ‘take care’ is set to sweep across the entire fair, extending through to the talks and the trend zones.
The design on show at Maison&Objet will look to challenge the modern-day aesthetics of what is Beautiful and provide a springboard for what is Good. Taking care is something that has become a veritable necessity at a time when we are all actively seeking meaning and tranquillity. Above and beyond the increasingly responsible approach being adopted by the trade fair itself (recycling 50 per cent of waste, using more and more LEDs, storing and reusing signage, donating unsold food to the Red Cross, sourcing water locally and turning down the heating), an ever-increasing number of exhibitors at Maison&Objet Paris are themselves keen to defend these pivotal values with a view to shaping a desirable and inclusive future.
There is Noma, for example, the French design house that works solely with recycled materials. Or la Ciergerie des Prémontrés, which perpetuates the traditional expertise inherited from the Pères blancs monks at l’Abbaye des Prémontrés. Other good examples would be Care By Me, the Danish brand that designs soft and warm clothing ranges and accessories, or Laines Paysannes, whose rugs are crafted solely from locally sourced materials. These are all just a tiny handful of so many stands that bring joy to our hearts and meaning to our interiors.
Brands and designers are now looking beyond simple aesthetics to come up with increasingly meaningful creations that invite us to take care not only of our bodies, as is the case with Waterrower’s wood and metal sports equipment, but also of our mental health.
The fair will encourage visitors to take their time and clear their heads in spaces such as the ‘what’s new?’ trend zone, curated by Elisabeth Leriche and appropriately named ‘In the air’ as an invitation to openly embrace lightheartedness and relaxation. Trend-spotter François Delclaux will encourage us to get onboard with ‘slow hospitality’ by whisking us off on a journey that inspires us to take the foot off the accelerator. The soon-to-be-announced ‘Designer of the Year’ meanwhile, will put together a peaceful and atmospheric space to help us disconnect from the stresses of daily life.
For a number of years, the trade fair has been awash with up-and-coming socially minded brands, who are proactively embodying a brand-new ethic that is finding a foothold amongst consumers, echoing the slow living trend. These include La Fabrique à Sachets, which inspires us to give nature a helping hand by sowing our own seeds, or Dopper, which is highly committed to fighting the good fight against single-use plastic bottles with its own attractive, ingenious and sturdy vessels. Knife maker Jean Dubosc designs pieces whose handles are made from waste plastic that has been collected and recycled in France.
For the past few years, the brands that boast the most exemplary CSR initiatives have been singled out by an independent jury of experts to feature on the trade fair’s ‘Sustainable’ itinerary. It is also worth noting that as of December, Maison&Objet’s digital platform, MOM, is set to showcase products that can help us save energy, a testament to just how red hot – or perhaps that should be green hot – the topic is this season.
François Bernard’s zone that helps visitors home in on new trends, ‘What’s New?’ will shine a light on the relationship between raw materials and nature in an installation titled ‘Grounded’, illustrating a new kind of luxury that sees gold and glitter make way for simplicity.
Maison&Objet tracks down and celebrates hot new talent every single year, and the January edition will place seven Spanish “Rising Talents” firmly in the spotlight, all handpicked from the country’s vast pool of up-and-coming talent by some of its more well-established design names. These talents all represent a socially minded generation, with their creations echoing the widespread desire to care for the world around us. Those self-same values are shared by the three design talents that have been invited to be part of the new ‘Future on Stage’ programme, which allows recently launched brands to showcase their convictions.
Also, in a carte blanche given to Ukrainian designers entitled ‘The art of resilience’, Maison&Objet wants to show that Ukrainian design, like all of us, no matter where the war has dispersed us, survives and even grows. Designers are still creating, launching new collections and producing. A tribute to the courage and spirit of freedom of this generation that is helping to write the history of design.
Taking care of our heritage and expertise, brands are increasingly placing the accent on all things local. Reine Mère works with wood from the Jura region. Cristel’s saucepans are 100 per cent Made in France. Then there are designers such as Samuel Accocebery, who collaborates with craftsmen in the Basque country, or Youssouf Fofana from Maison Château Rouge, whose creations celebrate this French capital’s district. They all reflect a mindset that is underpinned by a sense of commitment and the desire to root design in a specific region, drawing on local expertise and culture.
Young brands and centuries-old firms present at the trade fair are all keen to ensure this valuable heritage gets passed down to future generations. In France, brands such as Drugeot, Delavelle and Sollen are giving French cabinetry a resolutely twenty-first-century spin with collections that flaunt overtly contemporary silhouettes. AS’ART, meanwhile, selects pieces from South Africa, encouraging and promoting traditional expertise with a view to contributing to the socio-economic development of artisan communities.
With all this information noted and onboard, Hotel Designs’ will be scouring the stands to bring you a curated round-up of the event.
In addition, coinciding with Maison&Objet and marking Hotel Designs’ first networking event outside of the UK, MEET UP Paris, in association with Arte, will take place at the Arte Showroom in Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
Main image credit: Maisons&Objet