Do you use Twitter? I was skeptical at first but find it useful in keeping on top of activities across the Interior Design community. Just the other day, I came upon this re-tweet from the US office of Maison et Objet (@MAISONOBJETusa), the premier international Home Fashion & Interior Design trade show held in Paris twice/year (I was there in September): After clicking, I entered the blog of Esha Gupta (@designpataki) an interior designer and blogger from Mumbai, India. The colors she highlighted in her original post pleasantly surprised me as they very similar to the winning furniture entry I designed for the Grange Colorful Exceptions Design contest last year!
I am very honored that my design firm, Viola Interior Design and I are profiled in the December/January editions of both the MainLine and Bucks Life Magazines, published by Black Dog Media, Ltd.
What used to be Hôtel Marcel Dassault, is now the headquarters of Artcurial, an auction house (like Sotheby's and Christie's) that specializes in modern and contemporary art, vintage photographs, antique books and posters, and sculpture. Artcurial also presents special exhibits periodically and during 8 - 21 September, AD Interieurs 2012 (Architectural Digest, France) took place. This was the third edition hosted by Artcurial, with the support of Louis Vuitton, and the theme was "voyages imaginaires" (Imaginary Travels).
Within two floors of this building, thirteen contemporary designers were given carte blanche to design rooms; the results were dramatic and edgy, similar to Haute Couture fashion shows except for interior architecture and design.
I love the graphic nature, materiality and high contrast of Joseph Dirand's Maharajah bathroom for Louis Vuitton:
To see more, check out this link from Vogue Paris: http://en.vogue.fr/fashion-culture/fashion-exhibitions/diaporama/the-ad-interieurs-2012-show/9634
Delicate and exquisite is how I would describe the home textiles produced by Alexandre Provence, a luxury home textile manufacturer offering high quality bed, bath and tableware collections with a delicate taste. Their bedding bath and tablesets are produced using the finest Turkish linen married with handmade French lace. Using light, soft colors, the collection is just stunning. The owners, Begum Bozkaya and Merve Basegmez were very pleasant to speak with and very proud of their product and it shows.
I met French native Joelle Fevre and her bespoke ceramic lighting in the Ateliers d’Art section of the show; this is where over 150 artisans display their wares. Her sculpted pieces representing plant and aquatic life alone are beautiful,
but then she adds tiny pin lights (LED ?) that bring them to life with a soft glow. Tres Jolie and truly unique!
Probably the most unique decorative product that I encountered was the textile "taxidermy" created by Frederique Morrell - it stopped me dead in my tracks! Frederique and her team sculpt life sized forms from taxidermy molds
and then cover them with reclaimed/recycled vintage needlepoint (from flea markets, garage sales, estate sales some of which have to be painstakingly repaired prior to using) and hand stitch them to the models. Photos do not do these pieces justice! They are not cheap but when you see them and understand the work that goes into making them alive again, a re-birth if you will, you can understand the impressive price tag.
On the other end of the design spectrum is Stockinger Safes. One of their tag lines is "safety first class", and boy do they mean it. Handcrafted in Germany these masters of engineering have created an artform for securing your most valued possesions.
Their safes are made to measure and finished with any type of surface you can imagine - natural and artificial. The ones on display at Maison & Objet were lacquered in bright, bold, colors such as tangerine and heliotrope accented with graphite and adorned with striking metal sculpted handles - the one above is in the form of a lizard . . .
Besides producing and distributing classical furniture and accessories, Jansen Furniture, based in the Netherlands has identified a niche; including luxury pet houses! Their pet houses are hand made from mahogany, upholstered with linen and gold thread, and finished with gold-coloured trim. They are suitable for cats and small dogs, and the inner cushion can be removed for cleaning. According to Arno van Rijswijk, Marketing Manager Jans²en Furniture, "customers who were not initially looking for a pet house find it an attractive addition to their interiors, precisely because it doesn’t look like pet furniture at first glance.” What do you think - is Pooch or Kitty ready for an upgrade? Check it out for yourself...
Stay Tuned . . .
Quick post to describe my first day (made some updates on 10 September); I will go into more detail in later posts. The exposition center is extremely large, eight halls and over half a million square feet of space for the show. One of the things you will notice about my blog overall is that I like to discuss and highlight things that are unique, bespoke; items that you will not typically see in your day to day life. At Maison & Objet, I will also focus on home design pieces that you are not currently seeing in the States.
I started in Hall 7, scenes d'Interiuer, which provided a healthly mix of decorative objects, rugs and lighting. Some of the highlights were:
Koket a company that produced two of the most amazing pieces that I have seen. Sara Almeida graciously showed me some of their pieces and explained the fabrics used for special features. The Mademoiselle Armoire has a gorgeous butterfly in polished brass with a sumptuous silk lining creating a show-stopping exterior; the interior complements with antiqued mirrored drawers.
The second armoire is a double door pagoda topped cabinet covered in delicate iridescent peacock feathers - YES, peacock feathers! - each individually placed. The body is finished in a high gloss black lacquer; the base and top are covered in gold leaf. PS: I am noticing Peacock feathers quietly beginning to appear on the Lux interiors scene . . .
Swiss company Kitchoo Kitchens which makes compact kitchens, perfect for studio apartments (and as the owners explained, in European bedrooms as well, to satisfy the taste for a nightcap or a cold bottle of water). Some of the impressive features of the Kitchoo Kitchens were the well-engineered top that smoothly and quietly folds over to conceal the "utilities" (sink, faucet, cooktop); the silent fridge so as not to disturb, and the versatile exterior finishes such as laminate, wood and for this Parisian show, leather tiles! Owner Peter Locher and his wife Claire (both were charming and informative) mentioned that while the leather clad exterior choice may not be the most practical, it is effective in showing that anything can applied as an exterior finish to this kitchen "furniture". Don't you just love smart design?
Artel Glass, a company started by native New Yorker, Karen Feldman, who runs the company and is based in the Czech Republic, specializes in beautiful Bohemian crystal glassware.
Karen has designed all of the collections including Flora & Fauna (her newest introduction in this motif is Forest Folly, pictured above) in sumptuous jewel tones and detailed etchings with the motifs wrapping around the sides and sometimes even the bottom of the vessel. She uses gifted artisans whose glass etching work is exquisite. One would feel honored giving or receiving this glassware as a gift or perhaps starting your own collection.
Thanks to Main Line Magazine for including me in their latest Main Menu e-Newsletter regarding my trip to Paris.
Trend-spotting in Paris Merion interior designer Maria Viola will be blogging about her experience at Maison & Objet Paris, an international trade exhibition for home design and décor that will run from September 7 through Sept. 11. For her real-time reports, visit http://www.
I am traveling to Paris for Maison & Objet in part due to winning the GRANGE Furniture Colorful Exceptions Design Contest in February of this year. Besides having my furniture design hand produced at their factory Lyon, France; I was mentioned in the May issue of Traditional Home Magazine, my furniture piece will be featured in the GRANGE 2012/2013 marketing pieces and I received a fabulous French Prize......and this is it :-) As Main Line Magazine mentioned, I will be reporting on the latest trends in color, home fashion and design. I can't wait, this is going to be tres magnifique!!