As is traditional of this time of year, the inner circle of interior design professionals meets for the Maison & Objet fair, which takes place from the 6th to the 10th of September at the Parc des Expositions in Villepinte (in the north of Paris). A crucial date in the interior design calendar, this is where designers, creators, architects, decorators and other people from the sector meet to present and discover the new trends for the next year. This year, the fair’s focus is on design in the work space, presenting the theme “Let’s work together” as the centre of this edition.
The working world is changing rapidly and as a consequence, so is its design, hence why the Maison & Objet fair has decided to highlight the theme of designing the workplace.
The old rules have been replaced by new values which question the reductive and austere minimalism of traditional office design. With the rise of independent, freelance working, it is now rather co-working spaces, start-up incubators and even workplace nurseries which have become references for this new generation of workers.
There is a new desire for comfort in the workplace in stark contrast to the sad, traditional open-space offices of large companies. “Making workplaces feel like home” is this year’s slogan for the fair, which accurately suggests the importance being placed on new office design by interior designers today. It is clear why this year’s organisers have decided to dedicate 1000 square metres of stands to furniture and innovative equipment for the workplace.
Each year the Maison & Objet fair awards a prize for Designer of the year. This year, the prize has been awarded to Laura Gonzalez, an exemplary graduate of the Paris-Malaquais School of Architecture. She has most notably made a name for herself decorating the Bus Palladium, La Lorraine, L’Alcazar, 86 Champs and many other restaurants, bars and hotels for which she has helped to establish a stellar reputation. Her latest project, the “La Gare” restaurant in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, has charmed the public with its decidedly innovative interior design.
Moreover, Laura Gonzalez did not take long to establish her reputation. Aged 37, she has been the head of her own agency since 2008, the Pravda Arkitect agency, that she founded aged just 26. She describes her style as “revised classical”, which is one way to say that she knows how to exploit the new and the old, modern and vintage and marry these opposites harmoniously. Next November, Laura Gonzalez will unveil her new showroom, a show house she acquired in the magnificent setting of the Vexin. Her “living space” as she described it, resonates with this year’s theme for the Maison & Objet fair.
For each edition of the fair, Maison & Objet showcases the work of young designers who represent the future of interior design. Having celebrated China last year, this year the section “Talents à la Carte” places the spotlight on six American designers: Alex Brokamp, Bailey Fontaine, Green River Project, Harold, Kin & Company and Rosie Li. These selected designers have begun to make a name for themselves in the industry on an international scale.
It is no coincidence that five out of the six are based in Brooklyn, an area that embodies multiculturalism and international open-mindedness. This translates into a frenzy of creativity which highlights an inspiration in a return to the traditions. Despite coming from varied backgrounds, these designers all share a common taste for artisanal design, which is evident in the importance they place on texture and choice of material in their work. This is doubtless a talented generation, who find themselves in New York at the crossroads of international trends in creativity.
The Maison & Objet fair is only open to professionals. Tickets must be bought from their website and cost between €50-70, depending on how far in advance the ticket is bought. The fair opens at 9.30 am on Friday September 6th and closes at 6 pm on Tuesday the 10th of September. The RER B goes straight from Paris to the Parc des Expositions and shuttle buses from Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport are also available during the fair.