Maison+Objet

So you may have read about my adventures in Paris, (links here to part one and part deux if you’d like to catch up) and joining hubby who was there for a trade show. 

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

Hall 6 stretches out before me, as far as the eye can see!

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 view from outside the jardin

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. 

 

Dandelion seeds threaded onto clear line and displayed by Claire Morgan

  

Glassblowers from around the world created a bulb and then their breath was sealed within

    

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.

The master at work

   

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.   

all the flowers, none of the bugs!

  

so pretty!

 

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…

   
  

these tiles were AMAZING! So ornate

  
  

loved the different copper tones on these leaves

  
  

parquet or parked?!

  
  

can’t see the wood for the tree screens!

 

Clerkenwell Design Week 2015

As a Londoner who loves exploring new parts of the city, I was delighted to be invited to tag along to Clerkenwell Design Week. Now in its sixth year, the festival is running from 19 – 21 May across different locations in Clerkenwell with four main hubs supported by showrooms featuring exhibitions, events and product launches.


The pull for me was mainly to get out of the house for a few hours and see interesting things and places, especially as I had heard about the creepy prison, the not-so-creepy crypt and the factory building from last year’s show. I hadn’t explored around the Clerkenwell/Farringdon area much either and I’m always on the lookout for potential new work areas.

Alighting at Farringdon, we went straight to the first hub location – Design Factory – at the Farmiloe Building. The Grade II listed Victorian building is the most delightful, higgledy-piggledy trip of a building. I’m not ashamed to say that I think I fell in love with it. Is it offices? Is it a warehouse? Is it a film set? The answer is ALL OF THE THINGS.  It’s been used by Christopher Nolan for each of the recent Batman films and Inception and I walked around with a grin on my face at the kookiness of it!

You enter through the Shed area and walk through to the Courtyard off which you walk into the connecting spaces, with the front of the building having the offices and the back feeling more warehouse-y. Remember The Crystal Maze and the different zones? It felt like that, except less Aztec and Medieval and more Industrial and 40’s Noir. (If you don’t remember The Crystal Maze then, well, there’s no hope for you is there?)

Some favourite things spotted at Design Factory:

  

 Curves for days with this DeZir concept car by Renault

 A morbid mirror by Stellar Works

 Inspector Turpin’s terrariums by The Urban Botanist

 Wallpaper details and watches by Dezeen Watch Store (pic credit @futoncompany)

 Beards and bulbs by Dyke & Dean

 Faces and flowers in this beautiful Air Flake hanging screen by Abstracta

I want, basically. Gridlock at SCP Contracts

 #MyVerve by Johnson Tiles

  

 

Some interior shots of the Farmiloe.

Next stop, just as the heavens started to open, was Detail at The Order of St. John, another place I had no idea existed in London. This location featured luxury brands within the church, garden and cloisters. It provided wonderful shelter during a massive hail storm, as you can see in this picture, covering the outdoor furniture in ice and creating a new water feature in the garden! 

Whilst everything was gorgeous, nothing really grabbed my eye enough to warrant a picture…but that could have been because of the deluge pounding against the stained glass distracting me from pretty things!

Once the storm had abated, another hidden gem was to be found, literally! The subterranean House of Corrections showcased Platform. The dungeon-esque feel, coupled with the fresh rain and damp, dark rooms made this a great venue to visit, but I wouldn’t have liked to have been an exhibitor. The water found its way through the cracks and left walls and floors wet and puddle-y. Not great for wooden furniture!

 These lights by Louise Tucker must have done something terribly bad to be imprisoned.

Our final stop was an actual crypt, but I’d been told that it wasn’t going to be half as atmospheric as the prison/dungeon we’d just visited. Additions holds the smaller design pieces and interior accessories and felt homely, which was just as good as I was feeling so cold.

The very first stand as you walk in totally enchanted me, so much so that this section might just end up being an ode to Jimbobart and Zack Mclaughlin. You know me, you know I’m animal mad, so this seriously appealed to me. Lovingly illustrated plates and cups surrounded by a papier-mache bear, raccoon and lemur. WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE??!! I was so filled with warm and fuzzy feelings.

Oh yes they do!

As a lover of kingfishers (and occasional lucky spotter of our little dude on the mill pond) I immediately spotted the beautiful work by Zack Mclaughlin. Such intricate detail, such gorgeous colours, I was so enthralled I forgot to take a picture, so here is one from Zack’s Instagram (pic credit @paperandwood_)


I also loved this gorgeous owl, keeping an eye on proceedings.

There endeth my journey to Clerkenwell, as we didn’t visit the many showrooms also taking part. All in all, I really enjoyed my saunter to CDW2015.

Would I return? Yes, I thought the venues were stunning, (you’re getting entry into some otherwise restricted places) the products interesting and the atmosphere buzzy. It would definitely be a date on my calendar if I had a new home to furnish or some money to spend, or even if I just wanted inspiration. It’s always lovely to discover new things that you might not have seen before, and great to support British and London designers and brands. Displays were innovative and it was just to lovely to see some colour! Getting around is so easy, there are maps everywhere, A6 booklets with tonnes of information within as well as signage on the pavement guiding the way. They must have spent an absolute fortune on promotional materials!!

If you want to visit, registration is free, but be quick! It finishes tomorrow at 9pm.

www.clerkenwelldesignweek.com/visit/