Postcard from Paris, part two

This post continues on the theme of the recent Maison et Objet show in Paris, which I also wrote about in my most recent blog post. An essential design destination for Europe and beyond, the event showcases the best in interior design innovation, and after two exciting days there I came away full of new ideas for our hospitality projects.

Illuminating ideas

Another big theme at the show this year, and one that shows no limits in designers’ imaginations, was the intriguing development of lighting design. Advances in technology continue to offer unbounded opportunities to create new forms of interesting and beautiful yet functional lights. Perhaps because LEDs are becoming the standard choice of lamp (they’re small and don’t overheat), lighting products have also gradually reduced in size since larger shades and fittings are no longer a necessity. But of course lights are also decorative features; a single LED suspended over a dining table lacks ambience and certainly will not suffice in large voids that require suitably scaled fixtures in order to provide impact and illumination. The response from lighting designers to this scenario is the creation of products that come in clusters or can be arranged in various configurations to suit. We saw “swarms” of butterflies, “schools” of fish and other small abstract forms as well as groupings of more conventional-style lamps realized in new and unexpected materials.

Another trend arising from LED technology — stylized two-dimensional forms — really emphasizes the capabilities made possible due to these bulbs’ light weight. Here designers played with traditional outlines, scales and materials to create objects that are clearly intended to embody an element of fun, yet without compromising functionality.

Since old-fashioned incandescent lamps have been banned in Europe, many “bare-bulb” lights inspired by their predecessors are appearing in various forms — except these new versions are illuminated with an LED lamp or even a candlewick.

Perhaps it’s human nature to find nostalgic charm in outdated technology while at the same time embracing new frontiers!