10 launches we liked from the return of leading European interior design fair Maison&Objet
Danish design at its best, Finnish bamboo, Swedish tech, material innovations, and new rising stars from our three-days-visit to Paris.
By JOHAN MAGNUSSON
April 06, 2022
A few years ago, Charlotte Thorhauge Bech took over as creative director for the German family business, adding new and more contemporary dimensions to the design company. Last year, it celebrated 100 years running and this spring, blomus presents the new Eli line by German Copenhagen-based designer Theresa Rand. Made of solid FSC-certified oak, it comprises a bench, a bar stool, a footstool, and a classic stool that may double as a side table. Described by the designer as ”both practical and versatile”, the design is robust with rounded edges and made to be easily transportable within the home and suit multiple uses.
After spending a few years studying in Finland, emerging French entrepreneur Marie-Caroline Curt has drawn inspiration from Scandinavian landscapes when creating new and high-end eco-design furniture label Off/Grid. The first product, called The Tipy Chair, is a tribute to her own grandfather, René Curt, who first designed it.
— So, the Tipy Chair, she explains, has been in my family since 1959 — and I now wanted to share this object, that has been so meaningful to me.
Handmade in France using responsible materials, which include PEFC certified French wood, Econyl, and reused leather waste, the brand not only works with local craftsmanship but also a sustainable supply chain. According to Curt, her grandfather’s design also offers great comfort, thanks to an ingenious distribution of the seat’s pressure points. The chair’s adjustment system also enables customization in order to assure maximum comfort. During Maison&Objet, Off/Grid also unveiled the Mini Tipy Chair, making it possible for the entire family to enjoy some well-needed reality escape.
There are two different production methods for the production of — what many consider — renewable bamboo textiles: mechanical and chemical. Based in Tampere, Finland, innovative lifestyle brand Luin Living decided to go for the mechanical process when manufacturing its Bamboo collection, which includes a large towel/scarf/throw, a kaftan, and bathrobes. This mechanical process is rare today, being considerably more time-consuming and expensive than the chemical one. However, according to the brand, it retains all the inherent properties of the bamboo fibre — which is breathable, absorbent, antibacterial, and antistatic — while the chemical process means that some of these properties are degraded.
Kristina Dam Studio
The Copenhagen-based designer aims to design products with a sculptural approach, described as Sculptural Minimalism, and a new sculpture is added within each collection. To celebrate the studio’s 10th anniversary, the label presents The Frame Sculpture, its biggest to date. Using graphic lines on black powder-coated stainless steel, it plays with the light and can be used both as a side table and a statement piece in any room, both in and outdoors. The sculpture is also deconstructed into an abstract poster design, using a monochromatic colour palette and limited to 100 pieces.
The Swedish modular electronics brand’s eye-catching designs have taken the world by storm. The latest drop, Light Speaker, is its first-ever portable speaker, crafted in the form of a traditional outdoor lantern and combining portable sound with light. The brand has thoroughly analysed the look and feel of real flames, such as how light and bright they are as well as their movements, to give the speaker a simple, natural light that glows with the music. The light is adjustable and can even be used as a bright white reading light. The 10 hours of battery life and a detachable handle for easy transportation makes this the ultimate companion on the go. Given the smaller size, the sound is surprisingly big, and, last but not least, its modular design lets you repair and upgrade the speaker over time, eliminating harmful electronic waste.
As a big part of major design events, Maison&Objet is accompanied by a wide selection of exhibitions, presentations, and events. Our favourite during ”Maison&Objet in the city” was VALD, an agency highly focused on established as well as emerging Danish design brands. One great example of the latter is Copenhagen-based creative studio Niko June, showing a selection of its quirky and playful homeware. Seen here is Eros Torso, a series of one-off vases designed by the brand’s founders Oliver Sundqvist and Frederik Nystrup-Larsen, handmade from upcycled plastic.
At the fair, The Trade Council at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark gathered a bunch of the country’s new and established interior brands in a special Danish Design Pavilion. One of them, Verti Copenhagen, showcased its wall module, to be hanged separately or, as here, together, made of innovative material. Using no plastic, this material is plant-based, made of plant waste like potato peels and other residuals and produced in Denmark. All in all, the result, according to the brand, is 95% less CO2.
The French brand is inspired by the likes of Jean Prouvé, Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand, and Raymond Loewy, drawing inspiration from the urban environment around all of us and with a special fascination for the Bauhaus school and other design movements. According to them, the new coffee table presented at Maison&Objet, called curb, is like a tasting menu: each new bite is a surprise. Designed by Bertrand Jayr, it’s clearly full of details, including the decorative bas-relief frieze, which picks up on the mentioned Bauhaus school. The overall shape is inspired by Modernism with elements of Brutalism while the dark grey tinted glass is a subtle homage to the late 1970s. For concrete products like curb, the brand uses a special recipe — developed over 5 years using the right balance between the three ingredients water, sand, and cement — which, however, will remain a secret.
Maison&Objet puts a lot of attention on craft, including a special prize — The Rising Talent Awards. One of this year’s winners is Japanese ceramist Toru Kurokawa. After more than 10 years of research, he creates works, such as the pictured One folded ring, with pushed and twisted forms that have neither fronts nor backs, inspired by the human body as well as mathematical theories on the cosmos.
And finally, it’s about time to look out for Christmas. At least according to one of the leading Scandinavian interior design brands, Broste Copenhagen, that premiered a series of handmade ornaments at the fair. Made of upcycled cotton fabric waste from the cotton industry and afterwards painted by hand, each piece is sculptured by hand by Nepalese women in the Himalayans as a part of a social initiative. Mixing colours is typical for the brand and this launch gives a colourful twinkle to the existing, popular pulp collection, also made of upcycled cotton.