The 2019 concept for Parisian design show Maison & Objet played close to home, highlighting the global influence of the French je ne sais quoi with Excuse My French! Vincent Grégoire of NellyRodi credits a renewed curiosity for the French with figures such as first lady Brigitte Macron, designer Olivier Rousteing, and the victorious World Cup soccer team. “In a world where things are becoming standardised, people are looking for something distinctive. We have a certain je ne sais quoi, an effortless chic, something you don’t find anywhere else,” he says.
The décor is based on the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles, with dissonance via a small truck parked in the middle of the space, and an ultra-contemporary light planted amongst traditional chandeliers. “French style is all about playing with opposites and exploiting the art of paradox,” says Grégoire.
The third edition of the Rising Talent Awards looked to China, with a jury of experts in the field of contemporary Chinese design invited to select six of the country’s best emerging talents. Liu Xu, Xing Tong-He, Qu Guangci, Tom Dixon, Luca Nichetto, Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu nominated Frank Chou, Chen Furong, Mario Tsai, Hongjie Yang, Ximi Li, and Bentu as China’s brightest young designers.
37-year-old German designer Sebastian Herkner was announced as Designer of the Year, with a dedicated space unveiling his latest creations. Since training at the Offenbach University of Art and Design and setting up his first studio in 2006, Herkner has been awarded no less than thirty awards acknowledging his innovative, yet traditional work. Herkner draws global inspiration for creating designs that combine his unconditional love for traditional craftsmanship, with a focus on new technology and unbridled creativity.
Herkner is embarking on a growing number of international collaborations, though says he has a particular fondness for French design houses. “I have a real soft spot for French culture, and notably interior architecture and design, which always ooze that sense of elegance and sophistication that are such an integral part of the country’s identity.”
Without further ado, let’s get stuck into this year’s highlights. Get ready to scroll, people! Sorry, not sorry.
Rising talents from China // In collaboration with DesignChain, the six Rising Talent nominees were invited to exhibit their creations at the fair, with the exhibition also displayed at Galeries Lafayette Homme until February 19.
Standouts include Frank Chou’s geometrical Stack Table, combining welding technology with an art-deco brass mottled finish. Ximi Li’s interlocking terrazzo, glass, and marble By 3 cabinet integrates influences from East and West, while Mario Tsai pays homage to the year of the pig with his aluminium tube-inspired Pig side table.
Scala Collection by Stephane Parmentier.
Flow Container Collection.
Stephane Parmentier for Giobagnara // Past favourites from designer Stephane Parmentier for Italian leather house Giobagnara were on display, including his Scala furniture collection, made from stacked circular forms wrapped in suede and nappa.
Rendered in suede with shearling inlays, the Flow set of abstract, decorative containers can be mixed and matched.
Spate collection by Bert Frank // An opulent nod to Art Deco styling, the Spate table lamp and wall light are comprised of a soft opal stepped glass shade, satin brass metalwork, and marble highlights. All the good things.
Dewdrops light by Giopato & Coombes // Christiana Giopato and Christopher Coombes were inspired by the simplicity of moonlit dewdrops for their brass ‘mobile’ chandelier. Two upward spotlights hidden within brass cones enhance the soft light emitted by hand-blown glass bulbs.
Kumo floor & table lamps.
Stellar Grape lamp.
New lighting collection from Pulpo // No-made design debuted KUMO floor and table lamps for Pulpo, referencing the shape of traditional Japanese paper lanterns by fusing two spheres into one hand-blown glass silhouette.
Sebastian Herkner’s Stellar Grape lamp is impossible not to love – comprised of frosted acetate semi-spheres that quite literally resemble a bunch of red grapes.
Monaco collection from Utu // Brass details enhance retro rattan mesh and opal glass spheres in this customizable light. The Monaco suspension system is inspired by mobile art sculptures, with components fixed to a moveable metal arm – a unique silhouette that is ornamental as well as functional.
Carmen pendant lamp by PaulinePlusLuis for Hartô // Design studio PaulinePlusLuis were inspired by a dancer’s skirt for this captivating pendant light. The repetitive pleats fan out to form a luminous disc, and were designed according to textile experimentation. Available in ballet slipper pink or navy blue.
Knot table lamp by Chiaramonte Marin for Brokis // Italian design duo Chiaramonte contrast rough natural fibre rope with smoky grey hand blown glass, illuminated by an LED base.