THE MOST RECENT LEG OF THE HOME EXHIBITION ROAD SHOW WAS HIGHLIGHTED BY TWO OF THE WORLD’S PREMIER DÉCOR AND DESIGN EVENTS, MAISON & OBJET IN PARIS AND THE LONDON DESIGN FESTIVAL, SHOWCASING LATEST TRENDS AND CREATIVE INITIATIVES FROM AROUND THE GLOBE.
REINVIGORATING CREATIVITY IN PARIS
Maison & Objet’s theme for the September show in Paris, House of Games, was designed to focus on a world of full of signs, shapes, colours and tales, “to reinitiate the creative mind”. Noting that playfulness is fed by the aesthetics of board games, games of chance and games of balance – chessboards, pawns, playing cards, dice, dominos, tarot, etc. – Marie-Jo Malait, editor-in-chief of the Inspirations Book, said, “Anything is reason to have fun.”
And the rules of this game? “To bring drama to décor, to bet on joyous and elegant maximalism, to play the card of Strange Beauty. In the luxury of this new decorative art, the colour red trumps all others. Sensuous materials and precious know-how are a winning bet. Games play with rules, times, styles and genres. Dada collages and the juxtaposition of heteroclite elements shuffle the cards of unexpectedness.”
Another highlight of this year’s exhibition was Le Fil Vert, an annual event during which Maison & Objet presents its Green Itinerary awards to spotlight exhibiting brands and companies that have developed an eco-friendly approach to design. In 2016, the jury honoured 12 companies with activities in upcycling, waste reduction, local production processes and social initiatives.
Every year, Maison & Objet also spotlights “the most outstanding names on the international design and decor scene today”, and the designer honoured at the September show was Britain’s Ilse Crawford, who started her career as a journalist and was the founding editor-in-chief of Elle Decoration UK. After over a decade in magazines, “with a mission to put human needs and desires back at the centre of design”, she founded her multi-disciplinary practice Studioilse in 2001.
DESIGN INNOVATION IN LONDON
With a programme this year of 563 projects and events, the London Design Festival consolidated its status as one of the most influential industry events in the world. The 2016 theme was “Design is in the Detail”, and more than 2,000 international businesses exhibited at the five “Design Destinations”: 100% Design, Decorex International, designjunction, Focus/16 and London Design Fair.
The inaugural London Design Biennale, in partnership with Jaguar and Somerset House, included installations, artworks, prototypes and designs from 37 countries and territories – “an entertaining and inspiring exploration of the role of design in our collective futures”. Visitors were able to interact with new work by leading architects, designers, scientists, writers and artists in a broad exhibition that included large-scale kinetic sculpture, immersive digital installations, culinary pop ups, performances and VR renderings of the future. “Underlying much of the Biennale,” said the organisers, “are a number of pressing, universal issues that designers around the world are seeking to address, among them sustainability, migration and conflict, pollution, technological innovation, water scarcity and social equality.” The seven “Design Districts including a newcomer, the Brixton Design Trail, “a series of events that use the power of design to amplify identity and create a sense of place”. Under the theme of Rebel Rebel, the Trail paid homage to “the enduring influence of one of the world’s design icons, David Bowie, a Brixton local who redefined the boundaries of creativity and identity”.
Leading designers, artists and architects at the festival also lent their support to Who’s Casper?, a collaboration between designjunction2016 and British furniture company Modus to raise funds for refugees. Proceeds from the project benefit the charity Movement on the Ground, “which supports refugees at the forefront of the European crisis. Affecting the men, women and children forced from their homes by climate change, poverty and war.”