What is it that makes Maison & Objet one of the most incredible shows around the world year-in and year-out? It is the touch of Parisian style, of course, but it’s also the sense of surprise, the notion of the unexpected. I found it to be just as true last month as I have every time I’ve gone in years past.
The Unexpected Is Trending Parisian Style
The cementing of a one-of-kind identities made certain brands standouts for me. This is where we stand at Bruce Andrews Design and this is where I live personally. I believe we’re at a turning point at which people are saying, “Enough! We want to express a natural curiosity rather than being served an artificially scripted experience.” This came through even in the fabrics I saw, and in the paint colors and decorative objects—the elemental was everywhere! So was pale sophistication, glinting metallic surfaces, sensuality and a pink hue of coral I love.
In my favorite stands, there was an abundance of elegantissima, though not in a pretentious manner—any showing off with the introductions I saw within them may have been over-the-top but they were chic and exhibited the most noble of forms. New perspectives roared forth as I wandered the halls—ostrich feathers rose up and veins of leaves became the textural constituents in the vignettes holding decorative objects.
Mirrors were plentiful—old antiqued surfaces that seemingly rippled from centuries of being witness to our vanity were new, of course. There were the perfectly smooth modern specimens that reflected the glow of lanterns and luminaries, the most magnificent among my favorites statuesque European chandeliers hand-carved in wood.
Gold and Metals Glimmered
Raw minerals and metallic surfaces glinted at every turn. Gold was poured over the organic shapes of coffee tables or glimmered within shapes that seemed to had been fractured—it was as if they had exploded, though their gold-leaf interiors were perfectly pristine in their intended brokenness. Gold remains a standard of interior decoration for me, and the metal often defined the luxury materials I saw. Bronze also stood out. In one instance, it was mixed with ceramics and forged to look soufflé-like. Incredible!
The sense of wonder for me was most evident in the object—from the authentic and genuine to the wholeheartedly whimsical. There were myriad things on view with French savoir faire, of course—the show does take place in Paris, after all—but there were also elements that felt almost supernatural as if they married nature and science. I noticed a proliferation of raw materials and furnishings ornamented with or accompanied by precious objects. In a number of the stands, animals and insects proved how nature can be brought into interiors in sophisticated ways. These held juxtapositions of mankind and science, organic artifacts like coral, sea urchins and butterflies preserved within manmade glass cloches in ways that elevated their beauty.
Pinky Corals and Sumptuous Upholstery
The more I experienced, the more the show unfolded like a dream. But it was more a daytime reverie than a nighttime dream, as I remained grounded in the world of design and furnishings. In terms of color forecasts, pink and coral struck high notes with my senses, and the boldly beautiful sumptuousness of anything ornamental was unapologetic. I must say I adore this about France!
There was an air of folly as if there was a flirtation with opera, down to replicas of the theater chairs at Versailles, not just nods to valuable antiques but objects that modernize history. One manufacturer stood out to me—Mis en Demeure—for a level of elevated sumptuousness that projected a hint of whimsy. I found myself a bit spellbound in their stand!
Bringing Sensuality In
Beautiful candles and scents, or parfums d’intérieur, not only flickered with the romance they normally evoke, all the emotions were considered—crafted in messages in scented candles that are meant to transform energy. They now can teleport us; the memories and feelings they inspire may be thoughts of the past or the future or every time in between. There was no testing on animals with these magical non-toxic beauties and wood wicks set them apart. They will speak to the Millennial age with a celebration of love. Very heady were their aromas of orange blossom, bergamot, cedar wood and black patchouli. There were notes of grasses with hints of pine in them, and fig—natural essences of the world we live in rather than overbearing, hyper-insinuated pretenses.
The artisan was crucial in this area. One company uses ancient German hops originally grown for bitter tonic because they ease sleeping disorders and anxious states. This is a turning point, for it signals that we no longer exist in a world in which a candle is merely about a pretty fragrance in the air. We’re all tired as we travel the world and work ourselves to the bone; we require nurturing in every possible instance we can glean it and the candle/perfume offerings are an early breakaway proving this, I believe. I see this as the advent of naturalness coming into our sensory experiences in the home and this is just the beginning.
The manufacturers that will succeed in the future must follow this path, just as we already are at Bruce Andrews Design. Life is no longer a rubberstamp; the same for everyone has become a bankrupted notion—particularly in the home furnishings arena. We see how each person is craving an expression of their own uniqueness with everything from the furniture within their sacred spaces to the scents that permeate their rooms. We are ready to provide them with a distinctive experience and we canvas the world to identify the most luxurious examples so that everything we see that is worthy of elevation is filtered into our projects.
The Parisian Style of Pierre Frey
I was on my feet for days on end—Maison & Objet morphed into Colette and passementerie ateliers segued to a visit to the famed flagship of Pierre Frey. Patrick, the current CEO, has such a pointed view of textiles that contradicts how many people feel in contemporary times—his stance is resolutely that fashion and home fabrics do not relate at all, as the clothing industry changes their stripes every six months while the home is less transitory. He explains in the video above. There’s also a video on their home page that explains their handcrafted perspective, which echoes ours so brilliantly. We captured the slide below from this presentation.
I found some phenomenal fabrics while I flipped through the racks in their showroom and you can expect to see a number of them on our furniture in the future. I suppose it’s obvious but I’ll say it anyway: for inspiration where the unparalleled is concerned, Paris, is, indeed, always a good idea.
This post, The Unexpected Is Trending Parisian Style, © Bruce Andrews Design, all rights reserved. Our furniture is now available through Nandina Home in Aiken, SC; Jalan Jalan in Miami, FL; Travis & Company in ADAC in Atlanta; and the Ellouise Abbott showroom in Dallas, TX. We will soon be showing in the Ellouise Abbott showroom in Houston and in the Michael-Cleary showroom in Chicago, IL.