Going strong since 1995, French design show Maison & Objet just held its 20th anniversary edition in Paris Nord Villepinte from 4-8 September. The gigantic fair space was divided into eight different sectors, covering everything from fashion to homeware. The venue had been turned into a treasure trove of exciting new products from big names to emerging companies. Though there’s some run-of-the-mill design here, this year’s event was increasingly diverse, as exhibitors showcased products ranging from arcade games to outdoor furniture. Here are five that caught our eye, and kept the collective gaze this year.
Muller Van Severen for Valerie_objects
New, Antwerp-based design brand Valerie_objects is owned by Serax and was created by Axel Van Den Bossche, Frank Lambert and Veerle Wenes. For its first outing at Maison & Objet, the company showed a new collection by design duo Muller Van Severen. Their sculptural pieces looked more like art objects than furniture, and included innovative long-stemmed lamps and a combined daybed and chair with a retro appeal that was still unmistakably contemporary. The dark pastel colors used on fabrics gave the collection a laid-back beach vibe that works as a striking contrast to the stark design.
Belgium’s Broke— founded by three friends—has been crafting beautiful bicycles for one year now. Customers design the bikes themselves on the company’s website and, at Maison, the striking colors of the frames—from white and neon yellow—certainly caught visitors’ attention. The founders have backgrounds in web development and advertising—rather than cycling—and co-founder Lenny Benaïcha tells CH, “It’s actually an advantage; we started the company without any preconceptions.” He adds that though it might seem unusual for a bike company to show at Maison, Broke’s aim isn’t to be sold in bike stores. Instead, the founders are targeting concept stores, and felt Maison was a good venue for this market. The popularity of the Broke stand seemed to prove them right.
Another surprising find at Maison was French arcade company Neo Legend. The company started in 2007 by refurbishing classic arcade machines, but decided to focus on creating its own products in 2014. The result is thrilling for anyone who remembers playing actual arcade games, and still totally appealing for a whole new generation. Neo Legend’s own-designed arcade machines are assembled in France and sold to both individuals and companies, including airports and hotels. Each machine can hold up to 500 games, but most importantly, the machines can also be connected to new consoles, so if you fancy playing GTA on your arcade machine, that dream can come true! Neo Legend offers five different models and all can be customized, with different covers for the sides and controls available. The company works with gamers and graphic designers to come up with new designs for the machines, which are able to remain switched on 24/7; just like the old-school ones.
Danish company and CH favorite, Hay always has something good up its well-designed sleeve, and their stall at Maison was no different. The company used part of its space to show off its brand new Palissade collection of outdoor furniture. The elegant pieces are made of slatted steel tubes and come in six different colors, and was designed with brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, whose design studio is based in Paris. It gives the collection a nice local touch. Hay also showed their new Tilt top table by Scholten & Baijings, which is foldable and can be leaned against the wall in small spaces. We also liked the “Turn On” lamp by Joel Hoff—the winner of Hay’s talent award last year—whose clever dimmable light is now in production.
Tom of Finland + Finlayson
Tom of Finland isn’t exactly a name that you associate with interiors, but textile company Finlayson, one of Finland’s oldest manufacturers, has brought the classic homoerotic images by Touko Laaksonen into the home. The collection features duvet covers, pillows and towels, as well as kitchen accessories like oven gloves and aprons. At Maison, the stand was manned by a Finn dressed as one of Laaksonen’s models (complete with sailor cap), who revealed that the brand is still expanding and finding new markets for Laaksonen’s cult illustrations. The pictures of muscular men in leather and sailor outfits created an interesting monochrome design pattern on Finlayson’s products.
Images by Cajsa Carlson