The Maison & Objet January 2018 Paris show signalled a return to traditional techniques, but with a contemporary feel
There was a notable return to design touched by the hand of the maker at Maison & Object 2018. Brands and designers known for industrial processes have turned to traditional techniques for a new kind of visual and tactile richness.
The event was also awash with references to the 1970s and 80s: pared-back utilitarianism made way for a decorative hybrid of flash, colour and scale, creating the impression that the Paris show is the place where many brands like to get out there and shake their tail feathers. Here are some highlights.
Czech bespoke lighting fixtures producer Sans Souci launched a collection inspired by nature and the emergence of life in Paris Maison & Objet 2018. In a nod to Czech artisanal glass-blowing, the new line fuses traditional glass techniques with modern technology like nano-coating. The result is thoroughly contemporary looking lighting solutions, grounded by the weight of time-honoured craftsmanship.
Case is primarily known as a furniture brand but flipped the script at Maison with an expansive collection of home accessories by the likes of Eleanor Pritchard, David Irwin, Ann Kristin Einarson and Matthew Hilton, who designed a range of candlesticks finished in raw brass. Einarsen’s Sip self- watering planter - with a nylon wick to draw water out of a glazed tray - illustrates the collection’s general thrust: a simple idea executed well.
It’s always a party at the Tom Dixon stand at Maison & Objet. Perched amid new terrazzo candles and smoky-glass teapots inspired by chemistry beakers, were the designer’s latest efforts in boucle, print and embroidered textiles. Inspired by 1970s wall hangings, the thick, knobbly abstract pillows hand-tufted in Varanasi use methods from the rug and carpet industries. British artist Josephine Ortega created watercolours digitally printed onto linen for Paint, while Geo features a series of monochrome, abstract embroidery.
La Chance made an exuberant display of six limited edition Ronin chairs by Werner Valbak and Emil Lagoni – a mash-up of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese marble with textiles from historic Parisian upholstery house, Pierre Frey. The unsung hero, however, was Sunday – a family of timber-topped tables with cylindrical marble legs that reference the company’s seminal Bolt stool.
French furniture and accessories brand Petite Friture held true to its reputation for witty design with Thin – Max Enrich’s series of nesting coffee tables in simple, geometric shapes. The slender steel surfaces and hulking, tubular legs slot together at different heights, and the effect is at once minimal and voluptuous.
One of the standout collections at Maison & Objet 2018 – certainly the most Instagrammed – was Milan- based CC Tapis’ series of hand-knotted rugs from Italian designers Elena Salmistraro, Leonardo Talarico and Eligo Studio. Featuring clusters of geometric shapes in earthy tones, the ‘bidimensional universes’ of Samistraro’s Cartesio and Cartesio Outline are brought to life in Himalayan wool, hand-spun by Tibetan artisans.
The experimental and unique nature of German brand pulpo’s output was front and centre with a new collection, Crystal, comprising work from Sebastian Herkner, Hermann August Weizenegger and Michael Schmidt. Herkner’s squat, glass side tables and Weizenegger’s Heron lamp, a looming twist of metal meant to mimic the imposing presence of a water bird, made up part of a wider, slightly otherworldly, family of pieces.
Boundary-pushing glassware brand Nude debuted the anticipated Pigmento collection from Studio Formafantasma – a range of serving plates and vessels made of mouth-blown, frosted glass. Each opaque piece has a colour detail in yellow, blush pink and grey that echoes the haphazard effect of spray paint on a flat surface.
Carrying on the theme of hulking, geometric forms was the new Prime collection from Canadian designer Martha Sturdy. The hand-poured resin furniture in popping, primary colours was a diversion from so much on show at Maison, as well as Sturdy’s past work. Bold and decisive, the stools, wall decorations, table and shelves are made up of simple shapes such as cylinders, cubes, squares and circles.
Terence Woodgate for SCP