Postcard from Paris, part three

This is the third and final installment of my findings from Maison et Objet, a major fixture in Europe’s design event calendar and not to be missed by anyone in the business of creating imaginative interiors. (Please don’t miss part one and part two as well.)

Materiality matters

The intriguing use of three-dimensional surfaces is a trend that seems destined to continue. Heavily knotted and woven elements and furniture have become rather familiar, but now we are seeing a new development in higher-quality materials and workmanship. Highlights for me were richly textured surfaces in luxury finishes such as fish leather, burnished metals and hand-carved solid timber.

Yet at the other end of the market, those who are more price-sensitive can also enjoy designing with irregular surfaces, for example with innovative plastic claddings which both surprise and delight the eye.

For many years, silver and chrome have been the preferred metal finishes used in interior design, while gold’s reputation has declined as it was deemed to be excessive and too flashy for European tastes — although it’s perennially popular in some regions as a synonym for “luxury.” However, it looks like gold is returning to favor once again, but this time in more subtle and sophisticated tones with less glitziness.

But the big news in metals is copper with its warm hues that, like all successful trends, seem to go with everything!

In previous posts I have mentioned the use of old-fashioned materials, unfinished surfaces, vintage recycling —versions of “green design” that remain popular in interiors. A new and intriguing twist in this style is the combination of contrasting materials to create unique effects. Furniture and lamps constructed from untreated tree branches have been cast in acrylic, clad with leather or encased in burnished gold.

Artificial greenery was also everywhere, from delicate, lifelike flowering vines to an ever-expanding range of faux “green walls” and lawns suitable for any situation.

Thin, thinner, thinnest — it’s not just an obsession in the fashion world. We saw many examples of interior design showpieces with super slim legs as well as ultra lightweight objects fashioned from finely woven materials.