Less design, more decoration – this would be one way to summarize this year’s edition of “Maison&Objet”, which took place in early September at the Villepinte exhibition center located in the north of the French capital. In the halls of the “Parc des Expositions”the focus had clearly been set on home accessories, tableware, textiles and gifts – and as such the fair returned to its roots following attempts in recent years to expand its reach as a consumer goods trade fair with the presentation of design products and furniture. Contemporary design aficionados were now able to peruse “now! design à vivre” in Hall 8 at their leisure and, confident they weren’t missing out on anything, limit their consideration of the other halls with amusing titles such as “ethnic chic.MIC” and displays of predominantly decorative items to a brief once-over.

Among all the accessories, furniture consciously took a back seat. Sofas became decorative props for stools and small table lamps. Similarly, in the “now!” hall, the long-established Finnish company Artek not only presented its complete furniture collection but also included trays, cushions and dishtowels, adorned with the “Siena” pattern designed by Alvar Aalto in 1954.

Looking at the surrounding stands in Hall 8, which according to the event’s organizers were intended to demonstrate developments in design, you often had the feeling that you had stumbled into a motley flea market. The visitors strolled among a hodgepodge of curiosities and colorful objects with allusions to antiquarian shapes and patterns.

Yet Swiss label Punkt stood out from the array of presentations here. A reduced color spectrum in red, white and black and products with clear-cut designs that strictly adhere to their function in their form: these were the ingredients that Punkt Art Director Jasper Morrison combined to create a design company that follows the maxim “one device, one function”. Their newest product “ES 01” is the outcome of a collaboration with young Colombian designer Georges Moanack: a multi-plug extension socket that also works as a cable drum and boasts a simple one-button on/off operation. This way “ES 01” cuts out cable clutter while helping the user to save electricity at the same time.

Combinations of wood with porcelain, stained glass and precious metals such as copper and brass were inevitable at this year’s “Maison&Objet”. With its wooden frame and textile seat, “Chair”, designed by Jaime Hayon for Danish label &Tradition, stood out from the other newcomers. After appearing as a prototype at the Salone del Mobile in April, visitors now had the opportunity to admire the finished product in Paris.

Vipp, another manufacturer that had made the journey to Paris from Denmark and is well-known for its 1939 pedal bin, presented its first collection of ceramics. In collaboration with Danish designer Annemette Kissow, Vipp developed a seven-part breakfast set in hand-made porcelain, glazed on the inside and water polished by hand on the outside.

In addition to wood, porcelain was one of the most frequently used materials at “now!”. Tableware sets were adorned with historical decoration, while classic blue-and-white ceramics were complemented by a layer of gold ornamentation – a plethora of reinterpretations resulting from a merging of various styles. And once again, it was not seldom that you had the feeling you were wandering around an antiques market. Whether this year’s fall edition of “Maison&Objet” was able to satisfy the demands of the more design-savvy visitor and how the trade fair will develop in the future remains to be seen.

Lamp “Halo” by the young Danish designer Nina Bruun, photo © Dimitrios Tsatsas, Stylepark
by Esther Schulze-Tsatsas
Sep 19, 2012
Historical porcelain, reinterpreted by Seletti, photo © Dimitrios Tsatsas, Stylepark
Table lamp “Woody W01” by Goodbye Edison, photo © Dimitrios Tsatsas, Stylepark
“Chair” by Jaime Hayon for &Tradition, photo © Dimitrios Tsatsas, Stylepark
Blue-and-white ceramics at Flux, photo © Dimitrios Tsatsas, Stylepark
Tomás Alonso combined ash wood and colored rubber for the manufacturer Praxis, photo © Dimitrios Tsatsas, Stylepark
Jasper Morrison and Georges Moanack designed the product „ES 01“ for Punkt, photo © Dimitrios Tsatsas, Stylepark
Richard Lampert presented the Wall clock “Alu Alu“ in new colors, photo © Dimitrios Tsatsas, Stylepark
Moustache presented the new mirror series “Side”, photo © Dimitrios Tsatsas, Stylepark
“Mousse” by François Azambourg for Moustache, photo © Dimitrios Tsatsas, Stylepark
Cork objects from Antoine Phelouzat at the booth of Galery S. Bensimon, photo © Dimitrios Tsatsas, Stylepark
Porcelain was one of the most frequently used materials, photo © Dimitrios Tsatsas, Stylepark
The first collection of ceramics by Vipp, photo © Dimitrios Tsatsas, Stylepark
“Kontro 6000” and “Secto 4200” by Secto Design, photo © Dimitrios Tsatsas, Stylepark
Portuguese designer Marco Sousa Santos showed his own label „branca-lisboa“, photo © Dimitrios Tsatsas, Stylepark
„ES 01“ is at the same time multi-plug extension socket and cable drum, photo © Dimitrios Tsatsas, Stylepark
The “Mayor Sofa” by Arne Jacobsen at &Tradition, photo © Dimitrios Tsatsas, Stylepark
Designed by Alvar Aalto, the “Siena” pattern decorated numerous accessories at Artek, photo © Dimitrios Tsatsas, Stylepark
Candleholder „abc“, Artek, photo © Dimitrios Tsatsas, Stylepark
In parts, hall 8 looked alike a hodgepodge of curiosities, photo © Dimitrios Tsatsas, Stylepark
Italian manufacturer Seletti combined tableware of various styles, photo © Dimitrios Tsatsas, Stylepark
Forestier presented the „Mesh Cubic“ series by Arik Levy, photo © Dimitrios Tsatsas, Stylepark
Accessories made of glass and wood at Slow Design, photo © Dimitrios Tsatsas, Stylepark