The January iteration of the bi-annual fair featured more furniture and lots of emerging designers, while Paris was abuzz with design-focused events and exhibitions.
Kicking off the new year, and closing out the winter design season, Maison&Objet—the bi-annual furniture and décor fair—took over Paris in January. Held at the same time as Paris Déco Off (a celebration of fabrics, wallpapers, trimmings, and wall coverings), the trade show featured the latest in furniture and accessories, while also spotlighting emerging talent and innovations in materials and technology. Outside the Parc des Expositions de Villepinte, Paris was buzzing with events and exhibitions dedicated to design—from a new partnership between the Invisible Collection and Le Mobilier National to an exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs dedicated to the work of French graphic artist Étienne Robial. Below, find the top things we saw in Paris last month.
THE INVISIBLE COLLECTION X LE MOBILIER NATIONAL
The Emergence floor lamp by architect and designer Diane De Kergal at the Féu Boiseries. Image by Rodrigo Rize.
Last month, the partnership between the Invisible Collection (an e-commerce platform established in 2016 to highlight bespoke products from emerging and established designers) and Le Mobilier National (a heritage institution whose mission of preserving and promoting the distinctive French aesthetic) was celebrated at the Féau Boiseries atelier. In 2020, Le Mobilier National launched an unprecedented call for submissions to acquire exceptional pieces from designers and galleries. The next year, 53 items (seats, light fixtures, desks, etc.) created by 31 designers were added to Le Mobilier National’s collections—a selection of these items was on display, tucked amongst the gorgeous wooden panels and ethereal rooms at Féau Boiseries. Designers whose work was on display include Space Factory, Niveau Zero Atelier, Diane de Kergal, Anasthasia Millot, Anothy Guerrée, and others.
ART OF RESILIENCE SHOWCASES UKRAINIAN DESIGN
The Art of Resilience exhibition at Maison&Objet brought Ukrainian design talent to Paris.
A highlight at Maison&Objet, six designers and seven craftspeople from Ukraine displayed their work on the show floor. An exhibition titled Art of Resilience and co-curated by Société Maino, Sana Moreau, and Anastasia Biletska, the display featured work that embodied the heritage of design in Ukraine and the idea that creativity is a form of freedom. In a country that is still embroiled in war, engaging in creation amongst an overwhelming sense of loss and destruction is a strong political act. Each of the artisans presenting their work pulled inspiration from traditional craft techniques. The exhibition employed an overarching tonal palette (cream, brown, gray, and black) and the use of natural materials to create a cohesive presentation of high-level design. From gorgeous, Brutalist ceramics by Hochu Rayu to handwoven chairs by Mariia Puliaieva, the objects are infused with a pride of place that is ever more poignant given the state of the country at this time. “Please don’t forget about us,” Moreau said. “We’re still here and we’re still creating.”
RISING TALENT AWARDS: SPAIN
Designer Miguel Leiro with his handcrafted daybed at the Rising Talents booth at Maison&Objet.
During each iteration of Maison&Objet, the fair chooses a country from which to showcase the work of a handful of emerging designers. For the January 2023 edition, they looked south to Spain, and in partnership with the Madrid Design Festival, a jury of leading creatives in Spanish design (including Jaime Hayon, Imna Bermúdez, and Álvaro Matías) selected the exhibitors. A mix of architectural, industrial, and interiors designers presented furniture, lighting, and textiles, and a special winner in the Craft category, Josep Safont, uses natural materials including onion skins, and cotton fabrics stretched across embroidery hoops, to create pieces that straddle the line between art, craft, and design. We also couldn’t stop eyeing the work of Miguel Leiro, whose minimal daybed was upholstered in a meticulously woven checkerboard patterned cloth made by Spanish artisans.
DESIGNER OF THE YEAR: RAFAËL NAVOT
Design of the Year Rafäel Navot's installation at Maison&Objet.
The recipient of January’s Designer of the Year award is Rafäel Navot, who identifies himself as a “non-industrial” designer—working with modes of traditional craftsmanship Navot pushes materials to their limits, embracing their textures and combining them in new and interesting ways. As the Design of the Year, he created an immersive lighting installation at the fair’s Apothem Lounge, meant to evoke “visual emotion.” The experience cocooned fairgoers in a dark, circular space dotted with pieces from his Nativ collection with Roche Bobois. The central lighting installation changed in intensity and went through a meditative pattern that brought respite from the bustling show floors beyond.
FUTURE ON STAGE
Sas Minimum, a winner of the Future on Stage Awards, is a durable and attractive material that gives new life to plastic waste.
Back again after its debut at September’s show, the Future on Stage program serves as a springboard for promising emerging talent in the decor, design, and lifestyle fields. Three award winners, selected by a panel of experts, were spotlighted at the fair, giving designers and buyers an opportunity to view their work first, and encouraging innovation through experimentation and creative thinking. The winners included Noppi, a furniture company looking to address the problems of noise pollution and lack of privacy in certain spaces; Gwilen, a tile made with marine sediments that don’t require firing; and Sas Minimum, a material made from plastic waste that can be used on walls and floors, for counters, work planes, and desktops.
NEW SHOWROOM: DESIGNHEURE
Lighting manufacturer Designheure's new Paris showroom.
French lighting designer and manufacturer Designheure recently opened a showroom in Paris’ 3rd Arrondissement. Designed by local firm DZ Architecture, the space features light-hued herringbone floors and white walls topped with crown molding that serve as a backdrop for the sculptural light fixtures while retaining the neighborhood's historic charm. In one room, a long, double row of steel racks, inspired by museum galleries, display hanging lamps for easy viewing, (much like art pieces), while furniture-filled vignettes create a relaxed, living room atmosphere.
EXHIBITION: ÉTIENNE + ROBIAL. GRAPHISME & COLLECTION, DE FUTUROPOLIS À CANAL+
(A SUIVRE), Cover, 1977 © Étienne Robial
Open through June 11, 2023, at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Étienne + Robial. Graphisme & Collection, de Futuropolis à Canal+ presents a retrospective of the work of graphic artist, designer, professor, and artistic director Étienne Robial. With a career spanning more than 50 years, Robial is known for his concept of ‘habillage’— audiovisual presentations used to craft the visual identities of television networks including Canal+ and M6, and he co-founded the publishing house Futuropolis, with a focus on comic books. The exhibition invites visitors into Robial’s world, showcasing his work, as well as pieces from his private collection that include books, decorative objects, light fixtures, and design tools.