A mark of sophistication and chic design, the trend-setting Maison et Objet is one of the biggest lifestyle events in Paris as well as on an international scale and is an absolute must for any self-discerning design fan. In fact, due to its global renown there are now editions of the fair in Asia and the Americas.
Like fashion week, M&O takes place twice a year, in January and September, and is comprised of exhibitions, workshops, conferences as well as exhibitors presenting of some of the most beautifully designed products from around the world, ranging from furniture to wellness and food to art and home accessories. This year the fair will be celebrating its 20th anniversary and will welcome hundreds of exhibitors, from furniture designers to artists and chefs. One of the most renowned and prestigious design fairs in the world, M&O will open its doors this Friday 23rd until 27th January. Here are five reasons why it is once again be the place to be.
The Designer of the Year: nendo
Twice a year M&O rewards a designer with prestigious 'Designer of the Year' status, and this year it's the turn of the Japanese design studio nendo (meaning play dough) lead by the award-winning Toronto born Japanese designer Oki Sato. Nendo prides itself on flexibility and the ability to constantly reinvent itself, hence its name.
Sato's style is centred on clean uncluttered lines often with a touch of humour and conviviality and the designs reflect the designer's philosophy: to transform our relationship with the objects that surround us by creating a bracket, a pause. Sato's work has been shown at the New York MoMA and the V&A in London among many others. For an example of nendo's work drop in at the Chocolatexture Lounge pop-up in Hall 7 and find out more with this short video (below). For the next edition of M&O in September, it will be young hit Parisian interior designer Dorothée Meilichzon's turn to honour the Designer of the Year title.
For the 20th anniversary of M&O, visitors can expect a wonderfully head-spinning display of the world's top designers' newest furniture and accessory lines, ranging from interiors to art and gardens, and from food to spa and fragrance. With hundreds of exhibitors setting up their stands across the eight halls of Paris Nord Villepinte at this year's M&O, it is near impossible to select just a few highlights.
We are nevertheless looking forward to seeing last year's Designer of the Year, British designer Tom Dixon's Curiosity Cabinet (Hall 8 – stand C61/D62). Inspired by British heritage, the prolific design studio presents its minimalist Tank vases, marrying glass and copper for the very slick office accessory range Cube and Trove. We're also going to make a stop at the stand of the widely-acclaimed French porcelain maison Bernardaud (Hall 7 – stand F100) for a glimpse of the brand's most recent collaboration with internationally acclaimed artist Marina Abramovic, which comes after collaborations with JR, Jeff Koons, Julian Schnabel and Sophie Calle to name but a few.
Although the entire fair is an exhibition in itself, we recommend checking out Talents à la Carte (Hall 7) where the work of seven budding designers from Mexico will be on show.
And with the handmade trend taking off these last couple of years, the exhibition Human Made by Elizabeth Leriche is worth dropping by for in Hall 7. We also like the play between dance and French Bernardaud porcelain crockery in Japanese collective Espace teamLab's poetic installation (Hall 7) and Japanese artist Hibiya Kadan's floral designs (Hall 6). A must-see is Secrets d'Atelier run by the Ateliers d'Art de France, which will explore the unique skills and exceptional techniques when working various materials including porcelain, metal, glass and wood. For a different take on traditional design drop in to Techno Made (Hall 7), which will explore the role of technology in augmenting the comfort of our interiors.
The newest event: 'cook+design Studio'
The second session of M&O's new culinary event, cook+design Studio will extend across a space of 250m2 in the heart of Hall 3 and will welcome a host of chefs, culinary authors and artisans for meet-ups, demonstrations and tastings all focused on gastronomic trends and the new face of fine foods.
Not only are some of the world's top consumer design titles including Monocle (Hall 8), Elle Décoration (Hall 7), Marie-Claire Maison (Hall 7), Intramuros (Hall 8) and Milk (Hall 6) setting up shop at this month's M&O in the shape of cosy cafés, but designer of the year nendo has created a deliciously regressive space in the form of the Chocolatexture Lounge (Hall 7), which exudes peace and tranquillity – and serves Coutume coffee. However, tea fiends need not worry, celebrated French maison de thé Mariage Frères will also be present with a tea room in Hall 7. For the ultimate relaxation treat after exploring the numerous exhibitors stop by the Be (auty) Happy stand (Hall 6) created by Boudoir des Cocottes, which will be offering massages and manicures.
Maison & Objet will take place 23rd-27th January at the Paris Nord Villepinte exhibition centre just outside of Paris (accessible via RER train). The next fair will be from 4th-8th September 2015.