Review of Maison & Objet September 2019 and Paris Design Week 2019, France

The international trade fair for the decoration, design and lifestyle sector, Maison&Objet 2019 ran from September 6 – 10, at the Villepinte Exhibition Centre in Paris. The show marked by dynamic international business, confirming the attractiveness of inspiring events.

Maison&Objet’s capacity to attract the crowds is primarily down to its outstanding ability to scout and showcase the sector’s up-and-coming trends, coupled with its capacity to drive forward promising business tendencies. Industry professionals from the home decor, design, crafts and lifestyle sectors were able to get together, meet at Maison&Objet to exchange ideas, make discoveries and sense market trends.

It was in a positive business climate once again that the doors of the decor, design and lifestyle fair, located at the Paris Nord Villepinte Exhibition Centre. The strategy adopted over the course of the past year: that of organising the offer into two separate hubs, ‘Maison’ and ‘Objet’, in the aim of making the event clearer and more intuitive than ever.

Rising talents and iconic design brands, young graduates and museum institutions, freshly launched design houses, artisans and designermakers with inspired and inspiring hands all flock to Paris to invent and showcase their vision of a desirable lifestyle. A lifestyle that is in harmony with nature, that leverages technology to bring people together, whilst drawing on traditional expertise that is handed down from generation to generation, bearing witness to the passing of time. Desirable Development helps strike that subtle and much longed for balance that sets us on the path of uninhibited revival.

The desire and inclination to reconnect in person were palpable, ranging from the most promising rising talents to the most highly acclaimed interior designers. It’s crucial for anyone working in the decoration and design sector to be able to discover and actually touch and feel new collections, Whilst clients were finally able to get up close and personal with products.

The achievementof the September edition was also down to the choice of the WORK! theme, which delivered on every level, attracting exhibitors and new visitors alike. For a number of yearsthe lines between our working and leisure environments have gradually been becoming blurred, forcing furniture makers and manufacturers to adopt the codes of home decor and develop ranges that meet a demand for mobility, sociability, comfort, personalisation and flexibility.

Covering some 1,200m² staged by Philippe Boisselier, the WORK! zone at MAISON&OBJET showcased a creative range of work space design solutions accompanied by a conference programme, a space presenting exciting new finds and accessories (sourced by Chantal Hamaide), a specific WORK! itinerary covering the entire trade fair, and a brand new area that hosted over 500 business meetings. A whole host of opportunities to glean inspiration and spark new business opportunities.

Starting with the Hotel and Restaurant trade, for whom Maison&Objet had put together a dedicated itinerary taking in everything from furnishings and tableware to cookware, lighting, textiles and fragrances, all addressing that industry’s specific needs in terms of safety standards, accessibility, solidity, etc. The September trade fair featured an itinerary specifically tailored to their needs accompanied by a series of conferences to help them address the challenges of decorating, equipping and designing each zone. Something else that was new this time around was the opportunity for hoteliers, restaurateurs and interior designers to take part in over 300 business meetings with a selection of some hundred dedicated brands.

Constantly on the lookout for new talent, MAISON&OBJET also celebrated the work of architect Laura Gonzalez, who was named this edition’s Designer of the Year. In the same way some conquer summits, this 37-year-old, who trained at the Paris-Malaquais School of Architecture, already has an impressive list of design conquests to her name, including fashionable venues, restaurants, bars, boutiques and hotels. The event also turned the spotlight on theUSA by championing six up-and-coming American talents, simultaneously triggering a rise in the number of exhibitors (55 brands) and visitorswho made the journey from across the pond.

Since 1995, MAISON&OBJET has been the world’s foremost event for professionals in the lifestyle, interior design and design industries. Each edition brings together some 3,000 exhibitors and more than 85 000 unique visitors, half from outside France. Promoting new contacts and emerging talents, the twiceyearly fair presents the latest sources of inspiration. By shedding light on current and future trends, MAISON&OBJET has become a catalyst for brand development and business growth.

For 24 years, Maison&Objet, organised by SAFI (a subsidiary of Ateliers d’Art de France and RX France), has been engaging with and bringing together the international design, home decor and lifestyle communities. Maison&Objet’s trademark? Its unique ability to generate connections and accelerate business, both during trade fairs and via its digital platform, but also through its unique talent for highlighting trends that will excite and inspire the home decor world.

Maison&Objet’s mission is to reveal talent, spark connections and provide inspiration, both on- and off-line, thereby helping businesses grow. Through two yearly trade fairs for industry professionals and Paris Design Week, a public event in September that brings the creative energy of designers and brands together in the City of Light, Maison&Objet is the go-to platform for the entire interior design sector.

Launched in September 2016, the digital platform MOM (Maison&Objet and More) offers a comprehensive overview of up-to-date news and products from the manufacturers, artisans and designers who exhibit at the fair. The digital platform enables buyers and brands to continue their conversations all year round, launch collections and create connections beyond physical meetings. The weekly roundup of exciting new finds constantly stimulates business across the sector. A bottomless source of inspiration, it also provides a tool for visitors to communicate directly with thousands of brands throughout the year.

To take things even further, the Maison&Objet Academy now provides industry professionals with an exclusive web channel that broadcasts monthly content focusing on training and on deciphering market trends. Our social media platforms, meanwhile, keep all those design discoveries going by engaging daily with an active community of almost one million members on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Xing, WeChat and TiKTok. As the spearhead of Paris as the capital of creativity, Maison&Objet is a catalyst for positioning Paris as one of the world’s leading design centres.

The MAISON&OBJET trade fairmaintains its reputation as a global showcase for design. The 2019 September edition saw 3,137 brands showcase their latest creations, with 863 exhibiting for the first time ever. The trade fair is also becoming an increasingly international event, with 61% of brands heralding from overseas, calling 69 different countries home.

Paris Design Week
Paris Design Week is a design trail that brings together 200 addresses all flying the flag for design across the French capital. Coinciding with the moment when new collections hit store shelves and the latest post-summer concepts are launched, the event galvanizes support from shops, galleries, showrooms, hotels, restaurants, inviting them to spend eight full days sharing their experience of design and creation with the general public. The event also invites both the general public and industry professionals from France and overseas to discover the best Parisian addresses for design, along with some of the industry’s most avant-garde ideas during the 10-day exhibition, LE OFF.

Paris, the showcase of design: such was the image the City of Light projected for ten whole days during the ninth edition of Paris Design Week, running in parallel to the MAISON&OBJET trade fair. 100,000 design enthusiasts made a beeline for the event, making for record crowds at the 230 sometimes unexpected venues, which included showrooms, galleries, workshops, museums, institutions and hotels, scattered around five different neighbourhoods and each turning the spotlight on a shared design theme: hybridization. A celebration of amalgamation that made this particular “OFF” resolutely “in”.

Paris Design Week turned the French capital into a dream destination for anyone with a passion for multi-faceted design. It whisked design-hungry explorers north, south, east and west, from the traditional furniture districts to the newest creative hotbeds, covering the Vertbois, Pigalle-Stalingrad, Opéra-Concorde-Etoile, Les Halles-Marais-Bastille and Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighbourhoods. All five districts focused on hybridization, keeping their fingers firmly on the pulse of global design and echoing MAISON&OBJET’s WORK! theme dedicated to today’s new workspaces.

All five districts were a hive of creative activity, with eight design-led trails right across the French capital guaranteeing something to suit all tastes. It was the perfect opportunity to explore the many faces of modern-day design and discover not just art but a whole host of expertise, including gastronomy, fashion and upcycling.

Paris Design Week’s highly anticipated fringe event, Le OFF, which reveals up-and-coming designers each year, chose to set up home in the Vertbois neighbourhood for this particular edition. Nestled between République and Arts et Métiers, this brand new epicentre for Parisian creativity holds a mirror up to our times, with its abundance of concept stores, restaurants and permanent or pop-up galleries, deemed some of the city’s most forward-thinking.

Its magnetic attraction couldn’t fail to seduce Paris Design Week, which chose the area as the platform to present new global design talent and explore different takes on design during round table sessions chaired by Chantal Hamaide. The Vertbois Award also made its first ever appearance, with inaugural winners Timothée Concaret & Nicolas Mérigout, the pair behind Formel Studio, picking up their prize at the official Vertbois event held on the evening of September 7th. Lille Métropole, named World Design Capital 2020 by the World Design Organization, also took the opportunity to start sharing its plans for the coming year.

Every last inch of Paris fell under the spell of design with an endless list of must-sees. On Rue du Bac in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Cassina unveiled a new project by Patricia Urquiola for the flagship showroom it first opened almost 17 years ago. Made in Design celebrated its 20th anniversary with a limited edition of 20 pieces created in collaboration with 20 design houses and designers. dyptique chose PARIS DESIGN WEEK to launch its inaugural collection of curiosities for the home, diptyque’s bazaar.

The BHV Marais inspired a true sense of dolce vita by turning the spotlight on Italian creativity with its “Design Italia” event. Every single one of the department store’s floors showcased a carefully curated selection of Italian lifestyle products and pieces from iconic designers, all under the watchful eye of Milanese design Queen Rossana Orlandi. Designers Marco Lavit (Atelier LAVIT) and Nicola Spinetto (Nicola Spinetto Architectes) even took over the courtyards linking the BHV to EATALY with an on-site installation created especially for the event.

This year, American design also found itself centre stage, with the expert jury behind the MAISON&OBJET Rising Talent Awards singling out six extremely promising winners. Anyone who enjoyed the Made in US trail had the opportunity to further indulge their passion by heading to the Joseph Gallery in the Espace Froissart for the “American Design in Paris” exhibition, which featured not only the very best up-and-coming American talent, but also a selection of pieces showcased by the Triode Gallery and WantedDesign.

Lastly, several well-known cultural institutions also lent their support to this year’s event. Starting with the National Archives, where a collective of young designers going by the name of Ublik set up home in the courtyard of the Hôtel de Soubise, installing a spectacular 5-metre-high stool. The aim? Make the stool a monument in its own right to trigger a change in thinking. Design as food for thought. Equally admirable was the poetic cloud of paper birds designed by Céline Wright that adorned the appropriately named escalier d’honneur, the building’s main staircase.

A short distance away, the Bibliothèque historique de la ville de Paris presented the Noir & Sens installation featuring 11 guest designers who had been invited by France Bois Forêt to exhibit their work with wood. The large courtyard at the hôtel Lamoignon, meanwhile, was kitted out with outdoor furnishings from Fatboy, turning it into the perfect space to socialise and relax.

Over at Les Ateliers de Paris, Martial Marquet and Döppel studio presented Fantasmagorie, an exhibition featuring a variety of luminous items from some fifteen designers from France and overseas, including Pierre Charrié, Superpoly, Studio Martes, Studio Mousse, Adam Ruiz and Units. At the Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine, meanwhile, a retrospective exhibition of 250 pieces of furniture from architects and design houses was on display, exploring the changing face of design from 1960 through to 2020.

Lastly, several cultural institutes also got involved, including the Mexican and Swedish institutes. The former presented an 8-piece collection created by Constance Guisset for a residency in the Oaxaca region, whilst the latter threw open the doors of its six studios, used by artists and researchers in residence, to show off the renovation work completed by six designers and architects each paired up with Swedish brands.