Design Anthology UK scouted out the latest news and product launches during Paris' annual design week
Paris’s crippling transport strikes didn’t diminish the hunger for design consumption during last week’s Maison et Objet fair and off shoot exhibitions around the city, and while feet may have been left bruised by the experience, there was plenty to feast on. In the halls of the fair, local talent felt very present, with the Rising Talent’s section focusing on France’s young design studios, while the usual mix of European and Asian visitors made up the rest. The UK’s design superstar Michael Anastassiades was honoured with the title of designer of the year and showed an installation of 16 of his mobile lighting sculptures. While colour popped out here and there, there was an overriding sense that design’s preoccupation with environmental concerns has led to a surge of natural textures and neutral colour palettes.
Founded in Shanghai in 2016 by French designer Thomas Dariel and partner Delphine Moreau, Maison Dada charmed the European market on arrival in 2017 with playful silhouettes and accents, that aim, as befits the name, to bring humour and poetry to interiors. Now based back in Paris, Dariel continues to expand the collection, with new pieces that take inspiration from diverse sources, from Miro (Mira side tables), to Sumo wrestlers ( Sumo chair), African sculptor Ousmane Sow (Ousmane side table), and Empress Joséphine (candle holders). A fascination with Space Oddity era David Bowie and by association 1970s futurism and Pierre Cardin sees not only the creation of the Major Tom sofa, chair and ottoman and the Ziggy ottoman, but is also inspiring the new retro-future fit-out for the Paris showroom.
Ex.t x Marcante Testa
Italian bathroom brand Ex.t has launched a collection of sinks with the Turin-based architecture and design studio Marcante Testa. Masters of colourful yet rigorously refined detailing Marcante Testa have brought a striking play of form, colour, materials, pattern and texture into its Frieze collection, which includes a selection of sinks, hooks and trays for amenities that fix either onto a rail or, attach to the side of the sink. The studio’s tile designs for Ceramic Vogue, marble panels and contrasting paints has brought the full Marcante Testa magic to the installation. They are joined by the Nouveau round bath tub and coloured glass shower system by design duo Paola Vella and Ellen Bernhardt.
Mondo Marmo x Dellostudio
Last year the Italian marble company, Mondo Marmo, under the art direction of designer Matteo Leorato, collaborated with British illustrator and designer Charlotte Taylor to produce a set of sculptural table mirrors. For this season’s project Oscar Piccolo, Taylor’s partner in the London-based Dellostudio has joined the team, and they have sought to ‘re-interpret the representation and function of a vase as an object in its own right’. The set of vases, produced in a medley of marbles, combine the design duo’s signature preoccupations of classicism, wavy lines and cutouts. It comprises Emilie Vase (white Carrara marble), Hannah Vase (Rosso Verona marble), Jae Vase (Breccia Sarda marble) Camillo (Travertino marble)and Laila Vase (green Guatemala marble).
Hervé Van der Straeten
Hervé Van der Straeten’s Marais gallery space opened its doors on his 10th solo exhibition, with 35 new pieces on show including eight new consoles, tables large, low and side, cabinets and lighting of all genres. All coalesce under the title ‘Fun Ride’ with equal doses of colour, geometry, rigour and whimsy taking vistors to an imaginary fairground. The apparent simplicity of the yellow lacquered Zappy console, with its zigzagged profile, contrasts the technical precision of the intricate ebony and nickel marquetry in the Spider cabinet, and the complex lighting sculptures that recall Van der Straeten’s first discipline, jewellery design – but the touch of creative madness weaves the collection together.
Tucked away in its right bank showroom, La Chance is exhibiting a new shelving piece in ash and marble, Monument, by Cocorico, alongside examples of its 2019 Planet chair by La Chance co-founder and art director, Jean-Baptiste Souletie, upholstered newly in striking fabrics by Métaphores. Also new to the collection is Rocky mini, a side table that is an isolated segment of the iconic Charles Kalpakian credenza Rocky.
Philosopher gardener Fernando Caruncho is based between Madrid and Paris and has been thoughtfully designing gardens that aim to ‘connect man, architecture and nature’ for over 40 years. Working with his sons Alvaro and Fernando, he has recently extended his creative output to garden lighting. Illumination has always been an important part of his landscape architecture, and copper is a material he chooses for the way its patina adapts with nature. At his Paris base in the Palais Royal, he has launched a collection of timeless copper lanterns, floor standing and for placement on pedestals, all handcrafted in Spain.
The Belgian design brand formed by Serax CEO Axel Van den Bossche and the art director of Antwerp’s Valerie Traan gallery has extended its collection of furniture and table top items with Inner Circle, earthen tableware from Marten Baas with a characteristically irregular form. Also new is Assemble, a modular sofa system from Linde Freya Tangelder of Destroyers Builders. Like Baas’s plates, it embraces assymetry, while remaining architectural in character, the rounded cushions of its back inspired by weathered pebbles, sand washed glass or a worn piece of soap.
Always one of the biggest stands at Maison et Objet, exhibiting plentiful work of new and iconic designers, the showstoppers this year were a 1966 reissued modular sofa system, Asmara, by Bernard Govin – until recently seen only in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, but making a comeback for the company’s 160th anniversary. Other upholstered launches include the elegant Taru line from Sebastiann Herkner, and the playful 1960s inspired ‘fat’ seating by Yabu Pushelberg. They were joined by new Grid lighting pieces by Antoine Rouzeau and a number of existing designs (cabinets and shelving) produced in collaboration with Kvadrat ‘Really’, using recycled industrial fabrics.
The theatrical new Plissé rug took centre stage at the cc-tapis stand, the boundary-pushing rug makers whose work is conceived in France, designed in Milan and made in Nepal. The designer Cristina Celestino creates a clever trompe-l’oeil effect of swooshing drapes, inspired by the style of Roberta di Camerino’s 1950s designs. It joins a new piece by the in-house team which evokes the mosaic work of a Chandrigarh official who in the 1950s built a secret garden populated by sculptures that used this mosaic effect, and a new natural colour palette for Mae Engelgeer’s Bliss collection.
After throwing light on young talent from Italy, Lebanon, China and America, Maison et Objet’s Rising Talents section of the fair turned its critical gaze back home to showcase the work of six up and coming french design studios. Chosen by a jury of esteemed design practitioners and academicians, including Pierre Charpin, Galerie Kreo’s Didier Krzentowski and Pierre Yovanovitch, the work of Mathieu Peyroulet Ghilini stood out for its pure sculptural forms, produced while on a residency in Japan, while Wendy Andreu’s collection introduced more function, with shelving, tables and seating in a medley of materials, including her own textile innovation, Regen . Adrien Garcia of Studio Adret showed a modular furniture set comprising a table, with seating and side tables that box away to form a single monolithic unit, and Natacha and Sasha brought fresh eyes to a more technical arena, with an innovative ceramic hard drive design, ceramic induction kettle and glass air humidifier. Ecal Alumni Julie Richoz showed her experimentations in coloured glass with Mexico’s Nouvel studio and painter Laureline Galliot showed her explorations of pieces made by merging colour and structure.
Paris has a new lifestyle brand, created by Robert Acouri, founder of the Cider Group, and driven creatively by the Italian product designer Luca Nichetto and fashion consultant Milena Laquale. Boldly seeking not only to combine fresh fashion, product and furniture design in one place, it intends to stick its neck out and get creatives accomplished in their respective fields designing in a less familiar one. Cue the vast table with extruded aluminium legs by perfume entrepreneur and By Redo founder Ben Gorham. Other contributors include Nendo, Marco Dessi, Sebastian Herkner, Emma Boomkamp, Patrick Norguet, Elena Salmistraro, Todd Bracher. The new boutique, in the heart of the 3rd arrondissement, is designed by Nichetto to be a welcoming pace to linger and loaf. The ‘m’ from manufacture has cleverly worked its way into a number of the designs, including the interior architecture of the store.
Starting with the ‘Lines and Dots’ family of pendant lights, under the name Home Adventures, Barcelona-based designers Alvaro Goula and Pablo Figuera evolved into Gofi in 2018 and have grown the collection to include a cohesive offering of lighting, chairs, tables, shelving and prints all with clean, graphic lines, punctuations of colour and a mix of materials including wood, marble, steel and glass. For spring 2020, Gofi showed in Paris for the first time and introduced a shorter size for their Fa lamp, and a new colour, yellow. Fa is named after the musical note and was designed originally to light up paintings in an exhibition at Barcelona’s Opera House.