I know, I know; it’s Wednesday and we’re due a creative spaces post, but there is just so much to tell you about what I’ve been up to recently, so I hope you’ll forgive me for sneaking in an extra out and about this week instead. Cologne, Amsterdam, Paris, Birmingham(!): Maison et Objet was the third stop in a whirlwind design tour of Europe and I went with the very lovely Zoe aka My Interior Stylist. We started in the Now! Hall, an area which focuses on new design talent, and were immediately impressed by VIA Design 2013, an initiative which funds and supports new designers to develop their projects. Gold of Bengal (above) was created by Joran Briand, Corentin de Chatelperron and Frederick Morand, to reinvigorate the Bangladeshi jute industry and provide an environmentally friendly alternative to fibre glass.
When we first saw the The Lactea (‘Milky Way’ in Latin) Light by Studio Niji, we couldn’t work out where the light source was, but it is the light source! It is created by cutting a sheet of electro-luminescent paper, more commonly found on construction sites at night, into a spiral. It can be reconfigured into various formations. Very clever!
Vola by Gregoire de Lafforest is a flexible storage system that simply consists of an aluminium rail onto which the user can hang shelves, pin boards, mirrors, ‘drawers’, clothes hangers – whatever they need. It’s perfect for a rented space because no holes need to be drilled into the wall. I loved the use of walnut and leather, making this a really desirable and tactile piece.
“Frondesco” (Latin for “covered with leaves”) by Statue aka Louise de Saint-Angel and Romain Guillet is a wall hanging with a folding arm, which can sit flush to the wall, or be folded out to create a cosy corner. The double thickness of the fabric means it’s even sound-insulated. I loved the bright colours and the creative way of dividing space.
Into the Interiors Hall, and there was a real Japanese influence in evidence, with quiet, understated, material-centred design the order of the day. I’m a big fan of this sort of design, so I’m delighted to be able to include these gorgeous examples in my top picks. Above is just a small selection of the works on show at Japan Handmade, collaboration of craftspeople from Kyoto that applies traditional crafts to create products that are relevant to international markets – they do a great job and had me itching to get back to Japan.
There was more gorgeous work on the Japan Creative stand, including the the Container Family above by Koubei-gama in collaboration with Inga Sempe. I love the marriage of her bold graphic style with the traditional Japanese aesthetic.
The New Standard from Karimoku represents a real departure from the traditional furniture they’ve built their reputation on. Working with designers like Scholten & Baijings, they have created a range of incredibly contemporary furniture which I for one am very excited about!
More Scholten & Baijings, this time for Thomas Eyck and some delicious retro ice-cream pastels and geometric shapes. Love, love, love!
Proof, as if we needed it, that the neons and geometry are not going anywhere in 2013! The lampshades above are part of Colonel’s first collection and were inspired by beaches and camping, and the ones below are from French design brand Sentou.
Patricia Urquiola seems to be everywhere I look at the moment. (This rug was in an exhibition I went to at the MAKK in Cologne too!) I absolutely love the warmth, the chunkiness of the knit and the colours she’s put together in Mangas Space for GAN (below). I’m a fan!
The latest addition to the Eclectic by Tom Dixon range really appealed to my inner stationery nerd. If anything can make technical drawing fun, it’s these!
L’Atelier d’exercices had more stationery and desk accessories, much to my delight – my favourite was Endless Notes by Sebastian Bergne.
More Inga Sempe, this time for Moustache, France, in the form of billowy paper lantern lights.
While we’re on the subject of lighting, I also loved the Spinning Light by Benjamin Hubert – I’m a sucker for grey, but also loved the simple form that almost looked like it had dripped down from the cable.
More gorgeous grey in the shape of this tactile desk tidy, again from Moustache….
…and finally on the grey theme, I loved the simplicity of these trays from labt, whose motto is “Fresh ideas are issued in small editions.”
You can always trust iBride to bring a slight edge to Maison and they didn’t fail us this year. I loved their ravens, which come in various standing and flying positions. A slightly macabre version of the Eames house bird, for the non-conformists amongst you.
Akin & Suri were showing some fabulous new retro-inspired textiles designs, reassuring me that my beloved grey and yellow trend isn’t going anywhere just yet!
It’s always a pleasure to see Miss Print and their stand at Maison was looking gorgeous as always. Their somehow timeless and yet definitely mid-century inspired surface designs always bring a smile to my face.
And finally, there were some fabulous examples of ceramics and pottery. Woodraw, by Content and Container, is inspired by the belief that the sense of touch is just as important as the sense of sight. Objects are cut with chainsaw, then used as moulds for poured porcelain. The wood grain appears through the porcelain, giving it a rough aesthetic quite at odds with the poured gold finish. A perfectly balanced contrast.
And I loved the organic hand-formed pots by Paola Paronetto, almost like petals on a flower.
Further reading for the especially geeky: