Thursday, March 15, 2012

Article on Maison et Objet in online magazine THIS MAGNIFICENT LIFE

I recently attended the Maison et Objet World Trade fair for Interior Design in Paris and the array of product on display was a visual and sensual treat! I have written an article on the fair for an online magazine which celebrates passion for food, art, design, travel and living well - click here to subscribe - you will find some wonderful articles, including this one below which was published today. 

 By Trudy Andrews

'Trade show' seems an inadequate moniker to describe the huge variety of ideas and talent that were recently on display at Maison et Objet, Paris. This stunning collection of objects and interiors form the heart of this world trade fair for Interior Design held in Paris in January 2012. It's impossible to describe in detail the thousands of exhibitors represented from all over the world, but after scouring the 8 huge halls at the Parc des Expositions in Villepinte, there were some things that stuck in my mind as emerging trends. While the official theme for this event was 'crazy' it was also a feast of the quirky, the sensual and wonderfully roughed up glamour.
   Magnificent glistening chandeliers flirted with the idea of ruin by contrasting their beauty and elegance with a backdrop of the aged and weathered. The resulting aesthetic had an unexpected lightness - sort of Marie Antoinette meets Ralph Lauren as partners in what appeared to be perfect roughed up luxury.
   Next on my radar was the spirit of the game hunter - animals everywhere, and not just any animals, but the taxidermy variety.
 Perhaps some will think this a hideous trend, but in reality most of the animals were not real, but did a convincing task of looking so. Some stands did use the taxidermy look in conjunction with an 'Out of Africa' aesthetic, but the majority combined these wildlife statues with conventional furniture and objects as a subtle nod to a colonial English feeling.
   Reconnection with nature appeared as a dominant Mother Earth theme - tree branches, stingray skin, shell, eggs, bone, stone and horns, all handcrafted into furniture, objects d'art, wall paneling and even bathroom products. A number of exhibitors showed beautiful natural stone, honed and polished to create free form sinks - the exterior left rough to contrast with the smooth inner lining. Animal horn was used for furniture; ostrich eggs on display and then with the shell pulverized to create interesting exterior coatings on paneling. All had a warm, sensual and handcrafted feel while still being exotic and adventurous. The use of the natural in interior design has been developing for the past few years and with innovative products...
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in this category it appears to still be gaining momentum.
   Also continuing a trend of the past few years, the idea of vintage and referencing bygone years was popular. Furniture with decidedly retro lines, products modeled and manipulated on those recalled from childhood along with flea market finds were seen across all categories. Together with this, manufacturers are offering many options to tailor products to suit individual taste and living environments so that the end result is a space that reflects the personality of the people living in it. Individualism is increasingly tied to the idea of vintage finds and this trend is becoming even more apparent with the increasing options available to consumers.
   What Maison et Objet overwhelmingly demonstrates is that while trends often start or are noticed conceptually, it is the agility of clever designers and manufacturers who turn the intangible into the concrete. Most products on display are a reflection of subtle changes in technology and our lives that manufacturers are quick to adapt to. Of course that's a two way exchange as in the end the question remains the old chicken and egg scenario - do the trends reflect our lifestyle changes, or do our lifestyle changes reflect the trends? Either way, the chicken, the goose and the golden egg can be found at Maison et Objet.
   Trudy Andrews is a design aficionado - enjoy more of her musings