There was no surprise in the coldness of the morning. This is Paris in January. A time when the world of decoration descends on two interior events - Paris Deco Off unwrapping the latest wallpapers and fabrics, and then all that’s new for the home in Maison et Objet.
Paris is unchangingly elegant. Its wide boulevard openness contrasts with its quartiers, that are like a patchwork of villages. Paris Deco Off is in Saint-Gemain-des-Prés where the Left Bank and Right Bank collide in a hub of creativity with around a hundred brands. It’s a warren of close-coupled streets where oversized fabric clad lanterns line the way and direct us hordes of visitors.
If you don’t have a showroom then no matter, take a gallery space which is just what de Le Cuona did to launch their Refined Rogue collection at the Nicolas Deman Gallery on 12 rue Jacques Callot. This range is pure heritage chic by Bernie de Le Cuona at her best. Her weaves feel precious yet lived-in. Each design has a unique tactility which combines to create contrasting and luxurious layers of balance and beauty.
Not normally a fan of exhibition halls and with a deep dread of trade shows, I was glad to get to the heated halls of Maison et Objet. The key to unlocking these endless halls is in the title. MAISON is interior decoration. OBJET is concept and retail, while the third section INFLUENCES encompasses luxury, design and architecture.
I hate going to shows where everyone asks about trends – it reminds me of having a clipboard when visiting museums as a child. I just want to be in the moment and enjoy the experience.
OCHRE is sublime and the new bell-shaped pendant called Surya was a highlight at Maison - - a romantic wood-turned green oak shade with rare touches of decorative gold. The natural cracks of the timber are part of its charm. The natural texture is enhanced by touches of water gilded 22-carat gold, creating a look inspired by the Japanese art of Kintsugi – restoration with gold seams.
I always make a beeline for the Kyoto Connection and discover original materials that fuse modern and Japanese beauty. Materials inherited from the traditional crafts of Kyoto refined through the passage of time.
I also look forward to the annual installation by Elizabeth Leriche. The theme this year was SILENCE and a space devoted to sensual, poetic, harmonious and luxurious minimalism
Yes, it was inspiring and thoughtful but fighting with fiddling instagrammers was annoying at times. It wasn’t a very silent experience but I guess that was the point. We live in a world that relentlessly seeks to draw our attention with a multitude of images and one that demands the urgency of contemporary exchanges. Silence provides time to see things in a new light. This how Elizabeth describes her work.
‘Like a remedy to the interminable racket of words and images, silence has a calming effect on the hyperactive, garrulous and loud times we live in. Home is a place where calm is restored and a growing desire for serenity can be expressed. Lifestyle and style give us the ‘silent treatment’. Beauty is unburdened from the artifice of pointless ornamentation and devotes itself to a quest for the essential. The reduction of materials, geometric abstraction, transparency, halo effects, wireframe structures, ethereal hues and black and white comprise the formal rules of silence. The spartan simplicity of archetypal shapes foster contemplative moments during which the mind is at rest. Sensitive, discrete and elegant objects re-establish inner tranquility.’
Then a quick train ride back into Paris and after a quick supper in one of the art nouveau cafes which spill over to wicker-lined streets, I was back at Gard du Nord and before I knew it in London.
It was a whistle stop two days and I left feeling utterly freezing but inspired.