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Paris hit near-record-high temperatures as the sizzling designs of Maison&Objet and Paris Design Week lit up the city!

green background with modern furniture at design fair

Designer(s) of the Year, Muller Van Severen's, Oasis, installation at Maison&Objet.

Paris was abuzz with excitement and anticipation during Maison&Objet. GRAY visited the fall 2023 biannual furniture and design fair this September which took place in tandem with Paris Design Week. The immersive events bring design enthusiasts and professionals into the streets of Paris, introducing them to designers, makers, brands, and new spaces for a greater understanding and appreciation for design. The two entities celebrated longevity as well as emerging designers and concepts, mirroring that of Paris’ own spirit.

Maison&Objet’s central theme this year was “enjoy,” and we found there was something new to behold and enjoy at every turn of the fair. We wandered through the the trade show’s Designer(s) of the Year gallery-like exhibit, peeked at winning pieces from the Rising Talent Awards, and took a peaceful stroll through the Jardin du Palais Royal to view Réflexions, a temporary installation by glass artist Emmanuel Barrois. Here, we highlight a few more of the finds we enjoyed in Paris this month.



gallery of modern furniture at design fair

blue background with modern furniture at design fair
At each of their biannual events, Maison&Objet carefully chooses a Designer of The Year, celebrating the most dynamic individuals in the industry and highlighting global talent that continues to push the boundaries of creativity and redefine the world of aesthetics and functionality. The honor of the September 2023 Designer of the Year went to the Flemish design duo, Fien Muller and Hannes Van Severen.
Strolling through Oasis, their stunning display was a peaceful retreat on Maison&Objet’s show floor, reading as a gallery installation of their combined mastered artistry. The exhibit featured some of the studio’s most iconic furniture pieces including the Crossed Double Seat from their Future Primitives series, the ALLTUBES Bench, and The Standing Lamp.


heavily patterned interior design and product vignette

Elizabeth Leriche's "Pattern Factory" for Maison&Objet's "What's New?" organized a selection of exhibitor pieces in playful combinations of pattern and color.

With their eye on the future, design forecasters Elizabeth Leriche and François Delclaux presented two separate spaces for Maison&Objet’s “What’s New?” installation. The focus of each emphasized the show’s “enjoy” theme and featured pieces from fair exhibitors which embodied pattern play, colorful character, and eye-catching vignettes.

globe light and colorful orange and green pattern interior design
The first, Pattern Factory, designed by Elizabeth Leriche, presented a whimsical experience. Displayed as a collection of rooms, Leriche played with the balance of color, texture, and pattern to immerse guests in a bountiful feast for the eyes. Revealing itself at the end of the hall of eclectic spaces was a corridor meant for exploration. Guests were invited to experiment with five different exercises in style by mixing and matching materials to their heart’s content.

green product design
Then there was Wondernature, designed by François Delclaux. It involved a reconnection to nature and prompted its audience to ponder how we should be making things and what we can do to help preserve life on Earth. The botanical space embodied this mental tug-of-war of the juxtapositions of things such as city and countryside, nature and culture, and heritage and modernity. Within its core, Wondernature presented a unique approach to finding harmony within our interior spaces.


Colorful modern chair design

The "Boo" seating collection by Tim Leclabart is made from sustainable and locally-produced materials and intended to create an emotional attachment to inspire longevity.

At each iteration of Maison&Objet, the fair selects a country from which to spotlight a selection of emerging designers. During September 2023, the Rising Talent Awards returned to France, showcasing a handful of designers and studios chosen by their distinguished jury (which included creatives such as Philippe Starck, Alexis Georgacopoulos, and Constance Rubini). Catching our eye were masterful objects in furniture, fashion, sculpture, and lighting set on the improvement of life through design.

colorful ceramic art rising talent
Rising Talent Craft prize winner, ceramicist Jeanne Andrieu, with her collection.
The notable award of the Rising Talent Craft prize recognized the work of craftsperson Jeanne Andrieu, a young ceramicist who’s work easily relates to art rather than pure functionality. By drawing from her studies of flora and fauna as well as her inspiration from the art of fantasy authors and filmmakers, Andrieu’s pieces are a lasting representation of her intimate relationship with clay.

Equally as colorful, yet dramatically opposite in form, we couldn’t keep our eyes off of the geometric seating collection Boo, presented by Tim Leclabart, made from sustainable and locally-produced materials. Leclabart’s philosophy of “souvenir design” is what drives his approach to making pieces intended to create an emotional attachment, resulting in objects living on in time.

vintage style lounge chair in a peaceful undersea design

Friedmann&Versace's installation brought visitors into a dream-like state. The space, calm and serene with a fountain lightly bubbling in the corner, became a peaceful reflection of well-being.

Emphasizing “day-to-night venues,” the Hospitality Lab at Maison&Objet dove into the ever-developing range of uses for commercial spaces from hotels and department stores, to restaurants, workplaces, and more. September’s Hospitality Lab included an exhibition by the winners of the Accord Design Awards, and three showcases by interior design agencies Roque Intérieurs, The Socialite Family, and Friedmann&Versace, who staged spaces inspired by the variety of roles hospitality design can fulfill.

warm browns hospitality design with large silver table
The hotel lobby space by Roque Intérieurs immediately invited us in. Luxurious materials enveloped the design, beautifully layering numerous textures and drawing the eye to their central feature: a multifunctional, three-tiered table which fulfills several functions from a hotel reception desk, to a communal workspace for travelers, and finally a cocktail bar complete with a built-in ice bucket.


Reflections art installation in Paris Jardin du Palais Royal

Emmanuel Barrois’ latest project, Réflexions. On display at Jardin du Palais Royal through November 15th.

We stood in awe at the sight of glass maker and artist Emmanuel Barrois’ latest project, Réflexions. On display at Jardin du Palais Royal through November 15, 2023, the structure is the world’s largest glass scaffolding, standing at 15 meters high and boasting some eight tons of flat glass. Barrois’ masterful work is a testament to the craftsmanship and technological feat involved in erecting the contemporary piece. While rainbows of reflected light dance across the surface of the interlocking glass prisms, the structure invites viewers to reflect on the material and the immaterial, contemplating sustainable development and man’s place in the future of our world.


Hairy metal table in blue

The metal Hairy Table by Mark Malecki, a selected designer who exhibited at Paris Design Week Factory.

Factory, a highlight of Paris Design Week, is a program dedicated to showcasing young French and international designers. Galerie Joseph rue de Turenne, Espace Commines, and Galerie Joseph rue Froissart — all located in the Marais district —collectively housed the 90 select participants in this year’s program. Most Factory exhibitors are chosen through the annual call for projects, allowing the select few a notable opportunity to participate in one of the top events for spotting emerging and youthful talent.

modern metal and fabric stool
A design that immediately caught our eye was the Rooly Pouf by Paris-based multidisciplinary designer, Raphaël Pontais. The seat is a play on a dichotomy of mediums in which he combines his favorite material, metal, with the softness of fabric. The design resulted in a piece that would suit a myriad of applications, from residential locations and workspaces, to residing in galleries and commercial practices.

Maison&Objet returns once again in January, 2024.
For more information, visit their website.

Images by AETHION & Meghan Burger.


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