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Maison et Objet Trends; Fashion or Not

Maison & Objet Trends; Fashion or Not

A week or so on from Maison & Objet is a good time to reflect on what all the fuss was about and try to glean some design relevant conclusions whilst the feet recover.

The interdisciplinary trend continues with fashion, as ever, playing a large role with Roberto Cavalli adding to the ‘luxury textures’ and rivaling ‘Fendi’ for most eye catching fashion conversion. The idea seems always to promote luxury as a design element – it is not – it is a byproduct of perception, a contributor in terms of fine material, finish or craftsmanship. Would it be more honest to use the term ‘exclusive’?

“Trying to define luxury is a little more complex than exhibitions would suggest.”

Individuality is also a less easy thing to define and many interesting twists and reinterpretations figured this year. Portugal based Boco do Lobo created a stand of contrasting textures, relying on a mixture of colours and materials that promote the urge to touch, with unusual pieces, such as the Heritage cabinet and sideboard, drawing inspiration from blue and white china.  JNL, on the other hand, who equally tactile but coming from a completely different standpoint with clean, sharp furniture, geometric profiles, and a fantastic selection of state of the art lighting stretching off into a much more decorative, organic vein.

This year was also marked by the inclusion of Emily Johnson with her company 1882 Ltd.  Emily graduated from Inchbald a few years ago.  1882 has its energy firmly focused on producing contemporary china, using traditional craftsmanship and expertise. This policy reinvigorates the traditional skills associated with central England’s potteries, through contributing designers such as Fay Toogood, Deborah M. Allen and Lindsey Adelman.

Source: Emily Johnson 1882 Ltd

It seems that the combination of contemporary and classic is the sub text here; looking to history for design clues, or craft and materials that juxtapose form and surface detail, creates exciting contradictions. This might well fall under the heading ‘variety is the spice of life’ which has slightly more clarity than ‘eclectic’ as a response to what is in vogue at the moment.

History informs and elucidates the present and in design terms, rather than political ones, we have the skill to recognise that when an influence or a reference has been absorbed and re-invented as something new, it is valid has an individual originality. If the influence has not had time to simmer in the brain of the designer, if it surfaces too quickly, it runs the risk of being shallow and pastiche.

Maison & Object is always a combination of the original and the pastiche, with varying degrees of success. So when pundits select the key elements, this year’s colour, green, this year’s fabrics, soft Chanel inspired, they are quite rightly summarising – this is the overview but I would suggest that most visitors focus on singular impressions, some aspect that triggers and appeals to the individuality in all of us. As Interior Designers this is our strength. We need to respond to specific circumstances whether it be a client, a place or a memory that inspires. We do not want the next new style regardless of relevance.

“Exhibitions such as Maison do make the design world go around and the variety is welcome ensuring that the ‘one size fits all’ mentality will not prevail.  That is perhaps the only design conclusion that is relevant.”

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