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Arlene Hirst | January 24, 2012
The mood at this year’s Maison et Objet—Paris’s premier design show—was definitely upbeat, despite the Euro’s woes. A wealth of new products shone in every category: furniture, rugs, lighting, textiles, wallpaper, tabletop and housewares. New wares also debuted in small galleries all around town. Here’s the crème de la crème of the crop.
1. David Weeks - Shell For the last three years, Triode, a small gallery on the Left Bank, has staged an exhibition it dubs “Americans in Paris”—an array of products produced by young U.S. talents. This year’s presentation was far and away the best, with new polished work from Lindsay Adelman, Bec Britain, John Pomp and Jason Miller among others. But the star of the show had to be David Weeks, with his stunning collection of black and white Shell bowls that look like bone china but are actually a lightweight aluminum. triodedesign.com
2. Normann of Copenhagen - Bunny The Danish company is best known for its deftly designed housewares, but for the past few years, it has been dabbling in furniture. The Bunny chair by Iskos Berlin is a piece in which anyone would love to cuddle. The company will introduce more furniture for Milan this April. normann-copenhagen.com
3. Fernando and Humberto Campana - Nodus The multi-colored swirling patterned rug, a two-dimensional take on the duo’s Sushi chair, comes in two colorways and is sure to be on people’s most wanted list. nodusrug.it/en/
4. Tracy Kendall - Sequin & Drape From a distance, the eye-dazzling pattern looks printed but up close you can see yards and yards of hand-stitched fringing. Kendall says its her homage to traditional wallpapers that mimic draping fabric. She’ll show it at ICFF in May where she also plans to introduce outdoor wallpaper. She also presented her Spot Sequin design in a blinding white to give walls a fresh, crisp sparkle. Kendall presented her Spot Sequin design in a blinding white to give walls a fresh, crisp sparkle. tracykendall.com
5. L’Ame de Christofle The fair has always had an abundance of cutlery to offer, but this year’s designs were truly cutting edge. Christofle’s steak knives, designed by Philippe Starck protégé Eugeni Quitllet, are dramatic in their sleek, one-piece forged simplicity. The knives are available in brushed or polished steel. Starck himself celebrated his 25th year of work with Laguiole with a series that celebrates the elements—earth, wind, water and fire. Only Earth was on view. The others will be released sequentially throughout the year. forge-de-laguiole.com
6. BlackBody - OLED The French company made a triumphant second appearance at the fair with a vastly more sophisticated collection of OLED lighting. OLED (the "O" stands for organic) is an advance over LEDs, but the material has been too expensive for mass production. Blackbody seems to have conquered the problem. The sparkling pendants were outstanding. blackbody-oled.com
7. Arik Levy for Forestier Arik Levy’s way with wire were put to good use by Forestier. The Israeli-born, Paris-based designer produced a comprehensive collection of pendants, floor and table lamps. The pendants are a modern take on classic French wire candelabras. forestier.fr
8. Tom Dixon - Eclectic The English designer launched Eclectic, his very first collection of accessories at the fair and the work ranged from witty to beautiful. All the pieces are made of enduring, sustainable materials—copper, brass, marble, cast iron and wood. A cast iron miniature factory makes an excellent candleholder. tomdixon.net
9. Applymage - Apply 18 Fire extinguishers are a necessity for every household, but their industrial size—and looks—can create a design problem. Applymage introduced a pint-sized version that could easily be mistaken for a flower mister but has greater capacity and power than its clunky brethren. applymage-design.com
10. Baccarat - Chateau France’s luxury crystal company is challenging Riedel for supremacy in the wine glass business. Its new Chateau Collection, with a rounded concave bottom and wide base, closed-angle side and vertical chimney has won praise from serious oenophiles and top French chefs. Baccarat.com