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The Good, The Bad et Les Ugly. Maison & Objet For Beginners

Twice a year, Maison & Objet, the vast interior design and furniture show, held in the vast purpose built centre on the outskirts of Paris, attracts design professionals, journalists and enthusiasts from Europe and beyond. It is, make no mistake, an essential destination. It would be easier to list the European manufacturers who don’t participate than to even list the old friends and favorites we bumped into. And, of course, there is no place like Paris.  But be warned, bumping into old favorites probably isn’t the best strategy for this show. Just as in Milan, you need to focus.  The show is organized into eight halls – seasoned and returning visitors all counseled those visiting for one or two days to restrict their adventures to two or three halls. So let me declare myself now, if you were somewhere other than halls 5, 7 and 8 – sorry, maybe some other time.

My personal highlights included both big, well established brands and the smaller producers. Perhaps unsurprisingly I found myself drawn to the very sort of people we like to see on Modenus, companies who combine quality of production with wit and innovation. I was delighted to be a guest of UK PR agency Murray Weir Willats and their clients who include Ligne Roset.

  Ligne Roset furniture doesn’t look like anyone elses. The pieces are all the work of established or up-and-coming designers. They have stories. Here are a few of my favorites from the show. One of the chairs above is Fifty,  by Icelandic designer Dogg Gudmundsdottir and owes much to the classic Flag Halyard chair. It works well indoors or out and is irresistibly comfortable.

The other is the Derive2 rocking chair, (I seem rather keen on rocking chairs these days and that is worrying me) is the result of Ligne Roset deciding  to produce the chair originally given to renowned musician Pierre Boulez by Claude Pompidou. I love its flowing simplicity and I’m also in love with  the vase you can see in the background below.

  Asira by Aurelie Tu is made from hand woven felt, hand crafted and a fun contrast to all those sharp geometric shapes we keep surrounding ourselves with these days. And talking of Felt, the chair by Fabien Cagni and Laurent Matras, otherwise known as Delo Lindo, is called Felt. There is something comforting about its almost traditional shape. We really cant get away from the 50′s, can we?  The whole chair is clad in a removable natural wool felt cover giving it visual impact and making it is a very pleasant place to sit.

Missoni Home at Maison et Objet

A couple of other big brands to mention – hiding behind a curtain in its iconic stripes, Missoni Home continues to delight. And not just because of fond memories of my favorite ever tie – the only tie I have ever worn out. It’s all about the combination of wit, quality, style and the confidence of having created something so iconic and knowing it will always be loved. One look and you know it’s Missoni.

Doreen Westphal and Tim Bogan at Maison et ObjetLots of other companies and designers caught the eye. The ever wonderful Doreen Westphal was showing her extraordinary concrete lace along with a range of leather bags she started when her range of bags made of bicycle inner tubes sold out. The world is by far a better place because Doreen is part of it. Sorry about the bald bloke who seems to have snuck into the picture.

Objekto at Maison et ObjetObjekto are a French firm with a focus on Brazilian design. I was rather taken by their Gavota rocking chair, apparently inspired by the designer, Richardo Bonzon, looking at his body print in deep snow in the French Alps. And to think the rest of us would be wasting our time making snow angels. The light, Nuala, was designed by Renaud Bonzon and is made from plywood. It is over two meters high and, well, rather elegant.

 

Rina Memardi has already featured on the Modenus blog but that won’t stop me showing it again.  Wonderful Italian porcelain with such a freshness and simplicity that I just wanted to hang around their stand and breath in.

 

Ok, so much for the good – how abut the bad and the ugly. Well, I tend to be a fairly liberal sort of person who believes that that there is a market for most things, but a stuffed dodo and a humiliated and preserved lion?

And that’s my thoughts from Maison et Objet. Except the highlight, which was meeting and spending time with some lovely entertaining people. I am sure there is a lot I have missed. What would be great would be if someone organised a whole group of lifestyle and design writers to give the place the once over. Some sort of Blogtour maybe? Now that would be sweet!

 

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