Maison & Objet is one of the biggest and best interiors trade shows in the world and takes place twice a year in Paris. Having not been in two years, I was thrilled to attend this time around and happily made my way over to Paris at the end of January (I mean who doesn't want to go to Paris, right!?!).
I've attended Maison & Objet many times in the past and it is brilliant and HUGE! Want some facts? It covers 246,000 m², was visited this year by 135,875 visitors, who saw 2,871 exhibitors. Those are impressive numbers I'd say! And because I hadn't attended in a couple of years, they'd gone and changed things around so the bits of the show I once knew I could skip, I had to explore all over again - you know, lest I miss that one amazing brand!!
Take a quick look at this video for a quick taster of the exhibition:
Needless to say I walked my feet off for two long days, but it was worth every ache. I loved it! I got so much inspiration, so many ideas, saw lots of new brands & products and met with some of my current lovely suppliers, with whom it was great to catch up face to face.
For me this has always been one of the most important reasons for attending such shows - to nurture and cement relationships with suppliers in person. After all, we do business with people right?!
There was a lot to see as you can imagine and it's taken me a little while to go through all my findings, catalogues and brochures, but I've narrowed my long list of wonderful finds to the following 7 brands. Three are available at Pomegranate (how could I not include them!?) and four are new. Here goes:
ALL ACROSS AFRICA
This company works with cooperatives and artisans across four countries in Africa, to produce an extensive range of Fairtrade and ethically produced baskets and other accessories which provide livelihoods for the people who weave them.
I thought their stand was stunning with so much colour, pattern and vibrancy (and you know how much I love pattern!). Covered in an array of beautiful baskets, hanging on the walls, on shelves and strewn about on the floor, this display was eye-catching and I had to stop and find out more.
The ladies on the stand were so enthusiastic about the mission of All Across Africa, that employs over 3000 artisans in rural Africa and helps provide access to education and crafting cooperatives that ensure they are able to earn an honest and fair living.
They explained that the sales of 10 baskets equals rent, nutritious food & school fees for a family for 1 month and that what they do has an impact on over 18,000 people in Africa. Pretty admirable. Take a look at the video below the pictures to see for yourself.
And they make some pretty spectacular baskets...
If you've seen their collection, then you probably know that they partner with several high profile designers and architects to produce ranges for them, which they then produce in their workshops in Italy using their unique silk-screen printing and enamelling techniques.
Their long-standing relationship with Paola Navone continues this year with the range of candles and giftware. And I loved their latest range designed by the Egyptian/American designer Karim Rashid, in his inimitable bold and colourful style.
Some of the candles are already in stock at Pomegranate, which you can see here. Would you like to see the Karim Rashid range added to the collection as well??
I thought some of the giftware pieces were rather sweet too. They included mini diffusers, bowls and containers, presented in pretty gift boxes. They're quite seasonal but might be nice around Christmas...
There's an area within Maison & Objet that's all about celebrating craft and which promotes young designers, makers and small businesses. I love these types of areas as I'm always interested in great craftsmanship and in finding new talent.
In this area, I came across a wonderfully talented wood turner who makes amazing sculpture-like vessels, bowls and platters from wood. Pascal Oudet from La Vie en Bois somehow manages to work with the wood to achieve the most stunning lace-like texture. The pieces feel like they're made from paper - quite exquisite and unique.
They're the kind of pieces that need to be in a gallery or exclusive accessories shop, the type of pieces you really need to feel before buying (the prices are slightly eye-watering), but I thought his work was really great.
The stands by our Lebanese brand Images d'Orient are always exciting, colourful and bold. It was lovely to catch up with Peggy and Charbel, the dynamic brother/sister duo, who founded this brand, and to see some of their latest collections live and in person.
I love their newest collection, Birds of Paradise, inspired by Persian mythology, as well as their elegant and feminine Andalusia collection. They are just so wonderfully detailed and beautifully drawn and made. There are quite a few in stock right now, so do take a look, but here are some pictures of their fantastic stand.
You really get a feel for their patterns and colours with these great wall displays. This one shows off all their trivet designs.
This fantastic display shows off many of their tray designs (there are a few in stock at Pomegranate - just sayin...)
The wall of coasters was pretty impressive too.
I really do think that the Birds of Paradise collection is one of their most original and delightful creations. I have a few pieces myself and they just make me smile - plus I'm sure my coffee tastes better in my BoP mug.
Another wonderful range is called Safra, which is Arabic for Yellow. I love the intricate patterns and strong colour contrast of the bright yellow against the bold black and white. Genius.
Finally, a little reminder that Images d'Orient make great gift sets! Like this one from the Moucharabieh Mosaic collection.
I was thrilled to meet mother/son duo Veronique and Arthur who have set up and run the colourful family business that is Windy Hill. Together, they design a wonderful range of table linen, cushions, rugs and glasses, all inspired by their love of pattern and travel.
Their collection is so fresh and happy, it was a joy to look through all the lovely patterns, designs and products. All their textile pieces are handmade in India, where they work with an NGO who help women make a fair, safe and honest living. The designs are made using a traditional block-printing technique.
They also make a range of paper placemats and napkins, also featuring their strong designs, but this time made in Belgium or Germany.
I really enjoyed talking to Veronique about her brand and hearing her story. I think this line would be a good addition to Pomegranate, particularly for spring and summer. What do you think?
One of the wonderful things about Maison & Objet is that it attracts lots of international visitors as well as exhibitors.
This makes the exhibition wonderfully diverse and interesting and a great place to find products which may not otherwise be easy to find. One such example is the Iranian brand Zeeen which I stumbled into in one of the nine exhibition halls that make up this fair.
Iran has a rich cultural and artisanal heritage and I was happy to see that Zeeen celebrated this with their collection, but also added a modern edge by working with contemporary artists and makers. Looking to the past for design inspiration and craftsmanship is great, but I really do love it when artists fuse traditional skills with contemporary designs.
Some pieces were more successful than others but hopefully the collection will grow as they work with more contemporary artists to grow their collection.
Part of the more traditional collection by Zeeen, showing a number of designs and motifs.
Contemporary ceramics by a young Iranian artist, made with the use of sand to give a slightly rough texture to the outside of these bowls.
Nicely patterned modern ceramic plates in fresh colours, inspired I imagine by elements of traditional textile designs
I couldn't resist taking pictures of some of their delightful pomegranate platters - how could I not??
Ok just one more! Mouth-blown glass pomegranate bottlesby Zeeen designers :)
Finally, as the first picture up at the top may have hinted at, I'll finish off with one of my favourite (and yours !) brands, also exhibiting at Maison & Objet, which is of course the fantastic Zenza.
Zenza's stand is always one of the most striking and attracts lots and lots of attention. Well how couldn't it? It's fabulous array of dramatic shapes, intricate patterns and rich designs is like a magnet to anyone who walks by.
Of course they had their best sellers and signature pieces on display, like the Gabs Filigrain pendant light and the Filigrain Table Lamp but also some of their newer designs like the Buddah you can see in the photo at the top of this post, and Grace with its bulbous shape that tapers off into a long metal tassel - very deserving of its name!
I also noticed some new accessories such as great throws, marble chopping boards and platters and a really nice range of beautifully packaged candles handmade in Morocco. I will definitely be getting some of those on my next order :)
I'm not really a big follower of trends in general and especially not in the interiors sector, which is much less seasonal than fashion. I believe if you like an item for your home, then it shouldn't really matter if it's 'on trend' or not. As long as you like it and it has an appropriate place in your home, then that's really all that counts.
But of course, for my business I do have to be aware of trends and the three main trends that stood out for me at Maison & Objet this time were a distinct penchant for greens, teals, acquas and blue-green colours in upholstery fabrics; an abundance of pattern everywhere and on everything; and a definite increase in awareness for crafts, heritage, and ethically handmade products - music to my ears.
'till next time...
Photo Credits: All by Nicole Antar except for: Wooden platter by Pascal Oudet courtesy of Pascal Oudet and Tablescapes by Windy Hill courtesy of Windy Hill. Video of Maison & Objet courtesy of M&O and video of basket weaver courtesy of All Across Africa.