I was given the opportunity to tag along on the Saturday and headed to the Parc des Expositions de Villepinte, located outside Paris near CDG airport. It’s super easy to get to, just catch a RER train from Gare du Nord.
If you’ve ever been to a trade show you’ll know how big the venues are, but this was something else. Imagine the NEC, then double it, and double it again. Then multiply by EIGHT! There are eight different halls each with their own little theme.
- Hall 1 – Eclectic
- Hall 2 – Cosy
- Hall 3 – Elegant
- Hall 4 – Elegant
- Hall 5a – Complements, Fragrances, Craft, Cook & Design
- Hall 5b – Actuel
- Hall 6 – Fresh, Fashion, Beloved, Kids
- Hall 7 – Scenes d’interieur Gallery, Now! Design a Vivre
- Hall 8 – Maison et Objet – Projets
Thankfully some spaces are a little smaller than others, but most are filled with row after row of exhibitor stands. I’m not going to write about each and every hall though as that would leave me with a blog the size of War & Peace! The entire show was so huge and overwhelming at times that I think I ended up show blind; everything started to look the same so it had to be really special to warrant a glance – once you’ve seen five hundred throws/cushions/plates/candles/lights, you’ve seen them all, so I’ll just write about the things that caught my eye.
The Jardin Floral Flotant (Floating Floral Garden) was a collaboration between Team Lab (a Japanese digitech group, famed for their amazing interactive installations) and M+O. Featuring 2,300 flowers, including some very rare orchids, the flowers are suspended by their roots and lift up as a person approaches. The perfume of the flowers changes throughout the day so the experience is always unique. One or two people are allowed in at a time and you have two minutes to explore, but refrain from touching, the flowers. I saw this as an amazing chance to finally be surrounded by flowers without fear of bees or wasps – a major fear!
Another feature in Hall 7 was the stunning Precious installation. This was a collection of precious metals and other beautiful items used in interesting and unique ways.
I had heard of the Japanese art of Kintsugi before and love the idea that something is made more beautiful for having been broken; isn’t that an amazing philosophy? It was a real honour to see a master at work here. Showzi Tsukamoto repaired broken and cracked bowls with a special gold lacquer.
In terms of actual suppliers and sellers at M+O that I liked, there were just so many stands there that I can’t list them all but here are a few of my favourites:
Elli Popp – gorgeous fine bone china with animals-I loved the Kingfisher!-and stunning 3D wall papers. Based in London and I found out when we were chatting that she knew my old workplace!
BEdesign – their deer shelf is a stunning take on the stag head on the wall in metal. Want!
LineART – imagine you’re a megastar and you like taking your bathroom wash station with you on tour, or you like a sink you can pack away and not have to look at. The Cabine is a gorgeous oak cabinet containing a sink and storage. It makes me want a lovely new bathroom to fit it in!
Lenz & Leif – super soft cashmere scarves, throws, cushion and hot water bottle covers in bright colours, including neons and neutrals. So cosy!
Renaissance – embroidered tablecloths in high quality cottons that made me think of my grandparents and times gone by.
Neó by Rosanna Contadini – cute storage bags and pots in a chunky knit made from lovely squishy neoprene.
Chisel & Mouse – super amazing 3D cityscapes, landmark frontages as well as bespoke commissions. I’d definitely get one of the Mill if we moved.
Haoshi Design Co – they say time flies but with these pretty bird clocks, it actually does! I love the Swallow wall clock with different wing positions acting as the hour markers.
Storytiles – these beautiful tiles make me want to tile all my walls. Available in both modern and old Dutch style, they’re like miniature paintings with whimsical designs of fairy tales and animals. My personal favourite might just be Jumping Fox.
Masai Gallery – taxidermy isn’t my forte and I’m not so great with dead things, nor am I a fan of hunting, or killing animals that I wouldn’t eat. The animals used had all died from natural causes in zoos/sanctuaries or there were fibreglass replicas – I’d never realised how huge rhinos are! Plus I got to stroke a very haughty looking polar bear (although a I really wanted to give him a bear hug!)
Silk-ka – flowers are brilliant but they wilt, die and attract bees/wasps which is a no no for me. Enter Silk-Ka with the most amazing silk flowers that I have ever seen. These guys had almost every flower under the sun, with a plethora of colours. If I ever want to decorate my home with the equivalent of an orchard of cherry blossoms, then I’d go here.
Maison & Objet is overwhelming through size and quantity but there’s tonnes of quality. I would recommend a visit if you need inspiration of any kind, especially if you’re renovating or redecorating your home. Shows are bi-annual, held in February and September with tickets costing about €70.
My best advice would be to go over a few days; don’t do like I did and attempt it all in one! Take trainers – I didn’t think I’d beat 17km from the day before, but managed to do 22km, 18 of which were in the show! Oh and find the beach jungle cafe. Here’s a few more photos to whet your appetite…