At Maison&Objet, Designers Draw Inspiration from Online Communities
“Minimalism is over,” said Vincent Grégoire, a creative director at the international trend and strategy agency Nelly Rodi, during this winter’s home décor show Maison&Objet, which took place January 19–23. Grégoire designed several artistic installations in Hall 7 at the semiannual Paris event, all filled with playful, theatrical elements he plucked from various exhibitors: mirrors, glass cabinets of curiosities, a lounge chair made of stuffed flamingos, and a bookstore/café with tissue paper tropical greenery.
According to Grégoire, social media are disrupting the barriers among hospitality, office, and home, as well as between avocational and professional decorators. Today, everyone is a designer and curator, showcasing “work” or their personal brand on Instagram and Pinterest, framing collections or images of a favorite chair to elicit “likes” and emojis.
Grégoire’s forecast was evident across Maison, which also celebrated Copenhagen-based Cecile Manz as Designer of the Year, and Rising Talent Award winners like Marco Lavit Nicora of Atelier Lavit in Paris. The best booths played with form in a lighthearted way, with attention to craft, function, and material honesty. Pulpo, a German online boutique retailer, displayed Heron by Hermann August Weizenegger, a birdlike floor lamp made of two bent hollow-steel tubes.
Italian bath companies Cielo and ex.t exhibited products that spoke to tight urban living. Cielo’s Narciso Mini features a ceramic sink, in a range of earthy matte glazes, that sits on a steel frame with drawers below. Nudo, by ex.t, is a lithe modular storage system in brass or black metal, with a kit of parts including mirrors, trays, and leather pockets.
Though minimalist style was scarce, geometric shapes and patterns were not, as seen at CVL Luminaire, a French lighting manufacturer. Its Cercle & Trait pendant by Paris-based POOL is a balletic composition that balances a straight, LED-edged metal tube in a circle.
This trend toward things circular, square, and triangular recalls the architectonic shapes and vibrant colors of Ettore Sottsass’s 1980’s Memphis movement. CC-Tapis presents a similarly bold aesthetic with its Signature Collection, a series of abstract, hand-knotted rugs, made in Nepal and designed by Patricia Urquiola, among others.
Throughout the halls, there was a sense that designers were paying attention to their online communities. Whether or not Maison ever invites e-commerce website Etsy to create a booth, as Grégoire suggested it should, remains to be seen, but the scent of ironic fun was in the air at this year’s show.