Colour, the Wilderness and Light: MAISON&OBJET Trends

Monday, October 27th, 2014
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Industrial metals, bright colours and taxidermy dominated the halls of last month’s MAISIN&OBJET exhibition.

The global design and lifestyle show, which took place in Paris last month, had a “sharing” theme. It explored the “dynamics of ‘creative sharing’ and foresees a benevolent future.”

The decoration and design exhibition focused on new digital trends and a globalised market – visitors to the country made up 50 per cent of the 110,000 patrons while 53 per cent of the exhibitors were from abroad.

Most stands offered the opportunity for visitors to digitally connect or try a product that featured in-built technology. Metals gleamed throughout the halls, were repurposed or built to last in array of home wares and furniture while LEDs blurred the boundaries of design. Lighting moved beyond simple illumination to decorate furniture, create ambiance and direct design through its strategic placement.

International trend analyst Milou Ket said a few key trends from MAISON&OBJET hinted at design directions for the coming year.

1. Colour and coloured material effects

“It was very clear at the show that there is a more optimistic mood, in bright colours but also in pastels with a strong, bright accent,” Ket said. “I have seen it back in the colourful suspended storage ideas and lampions of Sentou, and their wonderful aquarelle prints.”

She also referred to an array of colourful textiles and carpets in cheerful prints, colourful plaids and pixels.

“Metallic accents are also everywhere,” Ket noted, citing Nantavia’s existing metal seats and the vinyl placements by Chilewitch.

colourful chairs at nantavia.

Colourful chairs at Nantavia
Image: Milou Ket

Metals have become very versatile, complementing everything from industrial settings to luxury ones, depending on their finish and application. The material is also recognised for its strength and longevity.

“In the future we will see more variations in these metallics, where they are combined with glass or display high shine effects that are reflective like a mirror. Coloured metallics will also be applied to furniture and homewares,” Ket said. “You’ll also find that oxidised copper gets a nice interesting effect as we can see in the pebbles by Lightworks PR.”

2. History, animals and the emergence of the curiosity cabinet

“Over the last few years, my global trend books have showcased the growing design interest in animals, botanic and natural history ideas along with the curiosity cabinet,” said Ket, whose Dutch firm unveils annual trend books for businesses worldwide.

“It was striking that this trend has become quite large now.”

The MAISON&OBJET show demonstrated that the trend has moved beyond zebra prints or leopard spots to encompass the entire animal in 3D form. From taxidermy to man-made sculptures and artwork depicting animals, this was popularly presented.

“There were several booths with stuffed animals, such as foxes, birds, but also wild animals such as lions and tigers. We see also animals depicted in historic costumes as was very clear at the booth of Ibride,” Ket said.

stuffed animals at design & nature.

Stuffed animals
Image: Milou Ket

“You’ll also find the curiosity cabinet and an interest in rare animals. For example, items from nature such as sea coral and snakes are often shown under bell jars and in showcases to make the collections appear more special.”

Wall with plates with historic images by ibride.

Wall with plates with historic images by ibride

3. Technology and Light effects

Lighting was very significant and was used to illuminate walls, floors and decor. It even lent a horticultural hand.

“There seems to be no end to the exciting applications of technology in our interiors,” Ket said. “The fusion of light and architecture is ever-evolving and demonstrating the powerful design credibility illumination can offer.”

“Light, especially LEDs will play an important role in future design. There are interesting possibilities with LED pure line light as in the booth of Japanese company Icon Lighting. This incorporated space fragrance to match the lighting concept where light and scent were used to create ambiance.”

Ket also observed examples of how the specific blue and red wavelengths of LED are are optimal for plant photosynthesis – a growing trend in greenhouses for its ability to supplement daylight.

“Effects of cool versus warm light are shown in an art tableau to show the natural light effect of sunset,” Ket said of one display.

Ambiance was top of mind, with light creating romantic, futuristic and relaxing atmospheres, demonstrating its potential to softly illuminate a day spa or provide a stronger, more abstract effect in a bar.

LEDs sat behind mirrored spheres, or were applied to wallpaper and vertical stone walls. Ket noted an invisible mirror by Heewon Kim with LEDs and sensors that help the mirror image fade and disappear.

invisible mirror by heewon kim.

Invisible mirror by Heewon Kim

Another key product was Japan’s Studio Kappes’ MOMENTum, a dynamic installation where Ket said “patterns of movements of water drops on a water repellent surface give a serene effect.”

Light then synchronises with the natural elements to change the viewer’s perception of time.

MAISON&OBJET also emphasised green living, with many pieces taking an old to new approach to materials.

“Sustainability remains a basic priority but we will also see examples and experiments towards re-use and upcycling,” Ket predicted. “Designers are going back to the roots of design and are interested to experiment with materials and long-forgotten recipes, production methods and products.”

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