The pitch had been prepared. The ailing furniture fair in Cologne gave Maison & Objet, which opened just a few days later, a perfect start. This year several manufacturers decided to turn their backs on Cologne and exhibit only in Paris, and many international visitors did not even bother to go to Cologne at all, traveling instead directly to the French capital. After all, a weekend in Paris has its attractions.
But then came the storm. Given the great influx of exhibitors, in the past two years two tents were erected on the confined trade fair grounds in northern Paris. One of them houses textile publishers (and in doing so Paris outstripped Frankfurt's Heimtextil), the other serves as an extension to the new Hall 7, in which design manufacturers can be found. On the first morning of the trade fair the apparently inadequate manner in which way the tents were secured down proved to be fateful for several hundred exhibitors. On account of the huge storm both tents were completely closed and did not reopenuntil the afternoon of the second day. A disaster for exhibitors, visitors, and of course the trade fair organizers. Quiet Schadenfreude in Cologne and Frankfurt? Not really. Because what the storm spared made it clearer than ever where the music now plays in January. The new Hall 7 with its clear focus on high-end design has left Cologne standing, and the international nature of exhibitors and visitors alike was indeed impressive. Here you can meet anyone and everyone who was not in Cologne and the few exhibitors who showed their presence at both events leave no doubt as to where you will find them next year. The mood is relaxed but focused; Paris would appear to have found the right mix.
And it is a trade fair bursting with novelties. From the chunky but elegant armchair "Sumo" designed for Baleri by Xavier Lust, who also designed a wine cooler for Driade next door and who hopped happily back and forth between the two stands, the new collection by Jamie Hayon for Baccarat, which derives new facets from the traditional material crystal while playfully combining materials, all the way to the new collection by Paola Navone for EMU and the new concrete benches by the Austrian company Viteo: Be it home furniture, lamps, outdoor furniture or accessories, there are new and exciting things to discover wherever you look.
And so we are waiting with trepidation for next year's weather conditions. This year, at least, Paris got (almost) everything right.