Maison et Objet: the home of chic

One of the first continental European shows in the calendar, Maison et Objet in Paris is definitely worth a visit. Sarah Selzer braved the snow and flight delays to send this report.

Maison et Objet: the home of chic

It’s a few years since I’ve managed to get over to Paris for what has always been one of the smaller but resolutely chic European shows. It fits neatly in with the Home event a week before in London and gives a good grounding before Spring Fair and Frankfurt (and ultimately Chicago – if you still have the energy and money left in the bank account!).

While it offers quite an eclectic mix, with anything from chairs and chandeliers to jewellery and candles, Maison is fairly regimented and conveniently split into eight halls (and two satellites), with Hall 3 the main venue for housewares (our very own Kitchen Craft, Rayware and Creative Tops among the Brits exhibiting).

There were some rich design pickings in the other halls too, with most concentrated in Halls 6 and 8 (including a British contingent supported by the British European Design Group) and other brands we recognise from the UK like Anne Black and Ferm Living.

Trends were very much about colour. Lots of red, pink and bright citrus. Zuny, poised to sign with a UK distributor, had knife blocks, bins and ceramic non-stick cookware in colours like orange, pink and green, while Tina Frey Designs from the US had resin bowls and platters in cobalt, dark green and orange.

Vintage and nostalgia as designs were strong on ceramics, espresso pots and shopping trolleys (CMP Paris – a recent UK arrival). And exhibitors also did eco with great style: drinks bottles and kids’ lunch boxes from New Zealand, cherrywood place mats from Japan, and bamboo tableware, with some companies, like Ekobo, actively funding the artisan villages where the goods are produced.

Hall 3 had also brought in a gourmet food area, something I still wish we would embrace more at our UK housewares shows, with chocolates, sugar sprinkles and stylish sugar lumps, and some offering the French syrop, several carrying the Baba Papa licence.

The tea story was also quite prevalent, with beautiful Oriental-inspired teapots and tea caddies and the loose teas themselves, a notable example being Vivons Le Thé.

Silicone was very much in evidence, through French players Mastrad and CMP Paris and also Yoko, which is making its UK debut at Spring Fair. Sefama handed me a 115-page catalogue of everything from corkscrews and napkin rings to a brilliant casserole/tagine, as used in the show’s main restaurant.

I saw one or two faces across the halls I recognised amongst the visitors, and stands reported visits from the trendier major retailers. A trip to Maison – and it could be feasibly done in a day – really does give you the edge. There were companies exhibiting that don’t show at Frankfurt or come to the UK for Spring Fair but are keen to do business with us. Vive la difference!

The next edition of Maison et Objet is September 6 to 10 2013.

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