The haute couture week closes, to throw open the doors of the coolest interior design exhibition in Europe: Maison et objet (maison-objet.com).
130,000 square metres of stands, 3,000 brands, of which half are international. So, for retailers there are four days of amazing shopping.
From sofas in Egyptian cotton and ultra deluxe Murano lamps, and from small, handmade, ceramic cups to the most amusing gadgets (not to be seen even in Japan!)… you can buy everything. In this sea of colours, fabrics and styles, I broke free from the classic items, I steered clear of the copycats and I got the feel of the new trends, confirming the timeless ones. Very few of them lay down the law.
As far as the artefacts are concerned, Mason Martin Margiela wins hands down, offering delicate but provocative accessories, closely linked to the cult pieces in his fashion collections. The soles of the famous Tabi boots become book marks, white feathers are lighting fixtures, or pens for writing letters on immaculate hand-sewn notepads. Wallpapers emulate 19th century doors.
The Italian design company Seletti also occupies the field of play with kitchen furnishing by Toiletpaper which is reminiscent of the Fifties: oil-cloth tablecloths, formica kitchen chairs, tin mugs with amusing graphics, all against a pastel background. That way you, too, can have a bit of Cattelan in your house, while spending very little.
And if the accessories are provocative, I cannot do less than quote the company Ibride that brings animals from the savannah and the forests into our homes in the form of étagères and tables. Light but solid ibex bookcases and ostrich tables break up the austerity and elegance of a nineteenth century apartment.
The real fauna is brought to us on our trumeau from l’Atelier Davoy who bases the whole of his new collection on the natural world, in display cases or under bell jars. Butterflies, insects, bats, praying mantis – the more wings the better – so becoming the top decorations of 2014. But also corals, skulls (these are reproductions) and skeletons… to put alongside antique books, globes, candelabra, dried flowers and bottles of cognac. My favourite genre.
If, on the other hand you are looking for sofas, armchairs and kitchens it’s undeniable that it is the inspiration of the Fifties that dominates. Marchi kitchens and Softline are the most obvious examples. Cone-shaped legs, strong colours, rounded shapes. And in the wink of an eye the big square sofa is out.
The most austere/minimal people will undoubtedly fall prey to the latest tendency, which has been all the rage for at least a couple of years. Pastel shades on opaque ceramics, natural woods and simple shapes for chairs and stools, wool covers and posters with optimistic phrases: the charge of the Scandinavians is underway! Is that a definite tip? Have a look at the House Doctor site (en.housedoctor.dk).
And the words “shabby chic” and “Provençal” leave our vocabulary with their heads down.