This past January, designing eyes turned to Paris as the City of Light played host to “Maison et Objet,” a biannual interior design fair at Paris Nord Villepinte Exhibition Centre, and “Déco Off,” which focuses on trade showrooms. I was fortunate enough to attend and, despite the many trains and subway strikes making it difficult to get around the city, thought it was fantastic. It was wonderful to see all the new spring offerings in the trade and the passion that everyone involved in our industry has for interior design.
The last several years have given us the rise of online furniture — fast, inexpensive and generally generic. What has been lost and minimized is the time-honored traditions of custom-made furniture, lighting, fabric and wallpaper houses. It was wonderful to see beautifully constructed materials and furnishings that are still being created for homes. I was delighted to meet many of the owners of these venerated companies. Their love and commitment to their products reassured me that there is still a vibrant industry with many gorgeous product offerings available to the public through interior designers.
The industry offerings at “Maison et Objet” included those from many American companies as well as from businesses around the world. The diversity of products and design viewpoints was inspiring. There were several takeaways from the weeklong fair. First, color was everywhere. Fabrics and wall coverings at “Deco Off” had many bold patterns and felt fresh again. Wall coverings were au courant, offered as they were in paper weaves, grass cloth and vinyl. Thin pieces of wood veneers are making the scene, creating outrageous wall coverings. Hair-on-hide was also popular and was featured on many wall coverings. Prints, either bold and graphic or antiqued, took center stage on walls. Wallpaper panorama panels were new and suggested an interesting way to create a feature wall if you don’t collect art. The panoramas also popped up on fabrics, giving plain panel window treatments a new focal point.
Custom rugs were woven in sisals, leathers, wools and some mixes of all the materials mentioned. I also found leathers that were so beautifully woven and colored that they looked and moved like fine fabric — perfect for dining room chairs, ottomans, pillows and, for full-on luxury, club chairs or sofas.
Other huge hits of the shows were the performance fabrics. The new performance fabrics can withstand spills and heavy use and are becoming harder to distinguish from finer fabrics. Although they are initially more expensive to use on upholstered furniture, their ability to withstand kids and pets is unparalleled in the marketplace. Many clients don’t realize that fabric that is on their furniture and used heavily only has a three-to-five year lifespan. Performance fabrics can withstand a longer time frame or at the vey least “perform” better by holding up to stains, pets and kids. For active households they should be a definite consideration.
Spending time at the fairs allows you to see upcoming trends and innovations in the field, expanding the knowledge you can give to your clients. The new trends also invigorate your work and creativity. They also include the use of environmentally friendly paints, stains, fabrics and furniture that is ethically sourced as well as the mixing of materials. There were tables made of wood, metal, marble or some combination of these and rugs made of combined wool, leather, natural fibers and cotton. A delicious edition — chunky throws to curl up with or those made of the finest wool and cashmere..
Whatever your style is, mix in some of the newer trends to freshen up your rooms. Update them with a new wall covering or a bold color. Recover that old sofa in a new performance or panorama fabric. Then sit back and savor the transformation.
For more, call 203-661-4700 or visit camidesigns.com.