Elizabeth Leriche, a designer and stylist, presented a powerful collection of both burgeoning and established artisans in her Human Made exhibition on the show floor, one of three “inspiration rooms” presented at the fair that underscore the year’s theme. “Making involves our very humanity itself…today there is a growing interest in a philosophy of manual production, an appreciating for the hand and a multitude of skills from yesterday. It is a precursor to the advent of a new productive society.”
One of the strongest spaces was that of Copenhagen-based designer Eric Landon, founder of Tortus ceramics studio. Landon, who is American, never creates works that adhere to a set dimension, choosing instead to let each creation evolve naturally. He refers to his process as “Unika” which is a Danish term used to categorize singular objects made by hand. During the show Landon created works in real time.
In another area of the Human Made exhibition, South African ceramics designer Louise Gelderblom presented her latest Vessels collection. She writes from her Cape Town studio: “The work on show here has been produced by coiling the clay, which means it has been built in layers from the bottom to the top of the piece. I try…to challenge the preconceptions of what clay is capable of and push the limits of what is possible in hand-built ceramics.”
Amsterdam-based studio FormaFantasma presented Migration, a needlepoint rug from their collection they created for Nodus. The studio, headed up by Italian designers Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin, is known for highly articulated works that marry craft and industry. The trio of rugs were inspired by ornithologist James Audubon, and each depicts a large-scale bird in flight. The rugs are wool, and feature oak buttons.
A detail of the intense needlepoint technique, which references both tapestry and embroidered clothing production methodology, particularly that of traditional Portuguese rug production found in Arraiolos, located in the Evora region of the country.
Precious material goods always figure into any interior design-focused show, and there was no dearth of opulence this year, particularly in the accessories. Belgian designer Michael Verheyden presented his Komm tray, a massive two-foot wide bowl carved from a single slab of antique marble from Italy, as well as vessels incorporating python and copper (alas the images garnered from the show floor were pretty sad representations—we’ll do an update next week when Verheyden uploads better shots). On the lighter side of things, architects Stine Gam and Enrico Fratesi presented their elegant Karui trays for Skultana, a series trio comprised of Swedish leather and spun metal. Interesting factoid: Swedish leather is particularly prized, not only because it’s relatively rare (Sweden isn’t known for its large cattle population), but also because the colder climate means there are less insects, which means there is less irritation for the animal, which means the hide is more supple and in better condition for production.
In the rug world, designer Ines de La Fressange has created Marius, a winning 100% cotton design for French floor coverings purveyor Toulemonde Bouchart that plays with scale and punctuation.
Speaking of fun scale and color, it was great to see Dwell favorite La Chance debut a generously sized booth at Maison & Object this year, a first for the duo. We’ve been watching them closely since their 2012 debut at Salone del Mobile in Milan, and judging from their strong jumble of offerings, including pieces by Noe Duchaufour Lawrance, Luca Nichetto, and Note Design Studio, all presented in a confident backdrop underscoring exuberant colors and forms, things are progressing nicely.
While we’re on the subject of tracking emerging talents of the design world, we’re always excited to see the latest from London-based designer Liliana Ovalle, who hails from Mexico (look for our profile on her in our upcoming April issue). As part of the Talents à la Carte exhibition at this year’s Maison & Objet, Ovalle was invited to present some new pieces. Her Cumulo series, a delicate carafe and glassware collection featuring an overlapping pattern of lines that, when grouped together, present a moiré pattern. By sharing this work at the show, Ovalle is hoping to snag the interest of manufacturer who can help bring it to market.
This was a busy show for De La Espada, which launched twenty new pieces from four different design houses, each with its own room vignette on the show floor—Matthew Hilton, neri&hu, Autoban, and Luca Nichetto. Shown here is the neri&hu concept, which features their new Shaker dining table and chairs as well as the Frame collection, which includes a bed and sofa system with a wood-frame structure onto which accessories may be clipped.
Design legacy, as guided by children and grandchildren of famous creators, was another theme in development at this year’s Maison & Object. Vitra, which presented their “Home Complements” line of accessories and objects on the show floor, is working closely with artist Kori Girard, grandson of the late Alexander Girard. Well known as a careful preservationist of his own works, as well as objects that pleased him—Kori mentions a certain loaf of bread injected with formaldehyde among his grandfather’s archives—Alexander Girard was keenly aware of every technological advance related to how items might by shipped and stored. As a result of this, the family has a minutely catalogued larder of never-before produced textiles, objects and other works, and they are working with Vitra (Alexander Girard’s choice) to bring these pieces to market.
Another vaunted design name that is getting a fresh look is that of Pierre Paulin, courtesy of Ligne Roset. The items in the collection, nine in all, are mostly re-issues of Paulin’s original designs from the 1950s on. The one exception is La Bibliothèque Fil, a steel-wire shelving system that Paulin designed for his own use in the early 1980s. This is the first time the piece has been in production, and it will be available in the US market this summer.