Best of Maison & Objet 2017: Second Episode

We had promised on our last post about Maison & Objet that there would be a next episode, so here it is.

We were very impressed by those little cubes by Jbj Interior, a Dutch fashion and embroidery brand which is now starting a new interior line.

Then we came across the creations of the German editor Ames. We especially liked their textile pieces.

In the young talent section, there was the work of a talented resin artist called Zuza Mengham.

The beautifully simple K-Lamp by the British editor Vitamin really caught our eyes (but you must know by now that we have a thing for terracotta).

Also in terracotta: the incredible plant pots by Studio MSDS for UmbraShift.

Colonel had no new piece, but we love their 2016 neo Memphis collection very much and they are extremely talented and kind… so here they are too.

We fell in love with another extremely attractive Danish brand and it was called Handvärk. It’s very chic and minimalistic, it’s made out of very noble materials, in the direct line of Mies van der Rohe‘s design.

We are always impressed by the joint effort of a craftsmen using ancestral techniques and designers. This was the case when the Bouroullec brothers worked with the lacquer Japanese company in Wajima and created the first Wajima Lamps for Galerie kreo, and it is also the case with the Sebastian Conran workshop in Gifu (the Japanese town of paper lamps where the Akari lamps by Isamu Noguchi are made).

Then there were this piece, that we hesitated to leave in this article, because it is not what we usually call design, but it is indeed a very good idea. In fact for pilate amateur such as myself, it is a brilliant idea! I often asked myself whether it would be a good idea to have a pilate ball as a desk chair, but after searching for ages for an acceptable looking one, I usually gave up the idea. And my body paid the price for this snobism of mine. The brand Vluv has created an acceptable pilate ball, that you won’t need to hide, and my tummy thanks them for it.

The next piece is also outside of our usual box. It’s a new way, much cosier way, of designing office pieces. Here: a colorful and harmonious meeting board by the Suedish Lintex.

The last pictures for today’s post are not just simple pieces, the great Julien Renault, whom e have been following for years, have had the mission to entirely redesign a whole Belgian office furniture brand called Kewlox, and we simply love it!

The end of our tour in our next post, patience my friend!

Best of Maison & Objet 2017: First Episode

The salon Maison & Objet, takes place in Villepinte, near Paris (France), twice a year, and this edition had plenty of things to show. These professional salons give a clear indication on trends and on the state of the market. We were there last week at the end of the salon. To be honest, all the design venues are at the moment quite interesting but not revolutionary, after marble and copper a few years ago, terrazzo for the past two years, we understand that the next new thing is resin, and industrial glass, but apart from that, there is no major mouvement. But this does not prevent us from appreciating some of the beautiful pieces, that once again, dearest reader, we would like to share with you.

The first thing we came accross was the very Memphis Maison Dada from Shanghai.

We had never seen the latest Bouroullec vase for Vitra in real life. It was the star of one of the greatest editorial of the latest months for the French AD (visible on Sight Unseen). We were glad to come find it on the Vitra booth and were surprised at how big it actually is and how its anodized aluminium appears to be totally immaterial.

Next: the Danish brand Nomess and their incredibly cool booth with its trendy slightly unfinished look. We fell in love with the Memory pillows by Witek Golik made out of memory foam.

The carpet brand CCTapis and their now famous Visioni by Patricia Urquiola and After Party by Garth Roberts

We also noticed La Chance‘s very colorful booth, with their very smart valet stand, called Jeeves by the architects Tolila + Gilliland, and Tapigri, a carpet by Nathalie Du Pasquier, one of the members of Memphis who specialized in 2 dimensional works and patterns. But you will tell me that these are not new pieces. As you can see if you regularly read this blog, I am not at all into the cult of newness…

We usually dismiss the design brands that are just about tricks: about one smart idea. But this one is a bit different, because it is a good idea, but it is incredibly beautiful! Meet the Danish brand Design Letters, and their letter board.

Last piece of this first episode is by the brand Ondarreta, from the Spanish Basque Country near San Sebastian.

Best Of Dutch Design Week 2016 (Eindhoven) 2

Here is the second part of the selection of pieces we liked in Eindhoven for the Dutch Design Week. Read the first part here.

Renske Rothuizen‘s Lemonade Factory was quite something and brought the childhood and playful world back to grownups kitchens. It was influenced by post-modern design (which was one of the leitmotiv of the show) and particularly, according to us at Hlow, Sottsass‘s micro Roman architectures such as the Pausania lamp for Artemide.

Still in the kids area and in post-modernists influences: The Odd Ones by Mandy van der Heijden.

Julian Jay Roux‘s Relativistic Surfaces were very impressive for all kinds of reasons: they worked incredibly well, you could really see all the colors of the rainbow into them, but at the same time they had a very glossy finish thanks to transparent glass at its surface.

Tanita Klein‘s Norm is a big shelve which has the proportions of a standing man with his arms spread. It is at the same time very structure oriented and quite post-modern in its shapes, the combinaison of circles and lines.

Woojai Lee‘s Paperbricks are an attempt to use the rests of paper for construction as “paper is among the most produced and most discarded materials in the world. It can be recycled, but not indefinitely: with every cycle the fibres grow smaller and the quality downgrades. ‘Paper Bricks’ are made from recycled newspapers. Sturdy and stackable like real bricks they combine a pleasing marbled look with the warmth and soft tactility of paper or wood.”

Alica Pola Knabe‘s Woven Warmth, meant to “to add some natural softness to our bathing ritual”.

The congratulated ATMOSPHERICAL POTENTIAL OF BOREDOM by Maxime Benvenuto is “a lexicon of words and notions related to boredom and (…) translated (…) into a series of material and visual elements. A hard, glossy, black tile for example, stems from the word ‘silence’. And a heavy steel cubicle hanging from a frame comes from the word ‘slow’. These 3D elements form a new language, revealing how boredom can be used to shape design.”

Emma Wessel‘s world is one of great continuity between fashion and design, one of vivid color and solid fabrics. Her project, a collection and its lookbook called Hide and Sleek, is simply incredibly beautiful.

In another venue of DDW, in a place called TAC we found this great Turkish project called The New Domesticity. Here is one of favorites among their pieces.

At TAC, there was also the statement piece of yet another Eindhoven Academy graduate Teresa Mendler. This piece was the starting point of a textile project called Merging Cultures, and shown at the Academy, but we at Hlow, fell in love with the piece in itself, this self-sufficient beautiful collage:

At the Kazerne, we were more than intrigued by two pieces: a wall of Pigments & Porcelain tiles by Alissa + Nienke and the Crystal vases by Isaac Monte.

At the Klokgebouw, we found two other great projects: one firm called Stone Cycling that creates a terrazzo looking new material out of waste, and very beautiful bookshelf made out of rough stones, called Material Depot by Mieke Meijer

We finished with the Van Abbemuseummuseum, where there was an incredible exhibition called Broken White organised by the Academy, once again, and I guess, there was many other great stuffs, but we had to put an end to this post. Anyway, Eindhoven is and still will remain one of the world centers of design.

Best of Interieur 2016 (Kortrijk)

We went to Kortrijk (Belgium) design show last week, and found some treasures we would like to share with you. Most of the pieces are creations by little Belgian editors. So we thought they needed a little highlight. But you will also find international talents, huge brands, self-produced designer pieces and gallery masterpieces, so follow us in this gorgeous labyrinthe.

Our first discovery: the German brand Atelier Haussmann. Here are Petite Table d’Angle and Blumenampel.

Next, young Danish designer Niclas Jorgensen‘s Stadium Light. He was a pupil of Michael Anastassiades (whose piece for Flos will also be featured in this post).

The beautiful and ingenious Roll Collection by Verena Hennig.

Vincent Van Duysen‘s Totem for Pastoe.

Hervé Humbert‘s grid coffee table.

Dorothée Mainka‘s Mood shelves.

On the Flos booth: several masterpieces. Infra-structure by Vincent Van Duysen, Black Line by Flos Archtectural and String Lights by Michael Anastassiades.

Beltrami‘s booth was also quite a surprise, just as we thought we had seen everything there is to see concerning marble, here they come with there laser cut beautifully shaped tiles and bath elements.

The amazing gallery Maniera (already responsible for the mesmerizing desks, mirrors and shelves by Anne Holtrop) also had a booth, and shown the incredibly beautiful and elegant Corner Chair by OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen.

We could see that after Muller Van Severen, there was a trend for thin metal lines. A few interesting examples could be noticed: the armchair, and the shelves by Grint, the lounge chair by Isati Creative Studio, and a little thicker, the cartoon bench by Bultin.

Incredible Marble pillows by studio kan/o.

ISM Architecten‘s CT07.

Last but absolutely not least, the winner of the GRAND PRIZE of the Interieur design award competition: Dimitri Bähler‘s VPT&C. This work was also visible last summer at the Villa Noailles. These pieces are incredible in real life, you simply cannot stop looking at them.

Best Of Dutch Design Week 2016 (Eindhoven) 1

This week-end Hlow was in Eindhoven and in Kortrijk (of which you will also have a overview in a futur post). We discovered A LOT of great pieces. I guess you won’t have it all at once. So this is only the first part of our dicoveries in Eindhoven. We hope you will enjoy it as much we did. As a start I would like to talk about the city, Eindhoven, an industrial city, where everything is named after the big central mother company: Philip’s. But it is also a town that has managed to reconvert itself through design. It’s not only the place where the academy is located (one of the two best design schools in the world with the ECAL in Lausanne), it is also a place for all the designers to open their practice, as it is quite cheap and full of factory reconversion that are ideal for designers. As it is in the Netherlands, everybody was travelling by bike, there was nearly no cars, and the places were crowded. In Holland, we take design seriously!

First piece we came accross at the academy, was Mila Chorbadzhieva‘s Immemoral Lanscapes. It is about Bulgaria, its past and its evolution toward acceptation: ” Bulgarian society has seen great social and economic turmoil since it radically turned its back on communism. ‘Immemorable Landscapes’ offers a revaluation of an era whose impact is still so palpable. Researching period architecture, specifically the use of concrete, Mila Chorbadzhieva takes distinctive details from monuments that have stood neglected for decades and casts them in a mix of concrete and resin, to be reintroduced as architectural elements or decoration. Mila says of her visual reminders: “To confront, accept and know our past, to shake off the shame and negativism – this seems to be the only way to move on.”

Then we came across Marble Earth by BART JOACHIM VAN UDEN. Here is the text on the brochure “The ‘Marble Earth’ furniture range plays with our appreciation of chipboard furniture with a decorative top layer. We tend to like it because it is cheaper than solid wood furniture, but it has an aura of discount brochures and mediocrity. Our solution is to cover it up with imitation wood prints. But why stick to a ‘birch’ cupboard door? An ‘oak’ kitchen worktop? Why not embrace the full potential of the material? Bart Joachim van Uden re-imagines our self-deceit. He uses images from Google Earth, selected to look just like exclusive natural stone, and combines them with the aesthetic details of standard furniture production.” To me it is not any news. The people that used laminated flat patterns on furniture the Memphis group, so it is wonder, in the midst of its revival, and while Marble is at the summit of its glory, one encounters a piece like Marble Earth, but it is true the result is more than just that, it is stunningly beautiful and not kitsch at all.

The next piece, Just a Scarf by Kris Vleugels is as conceptual as it is graphic: each line on the pattern is a folding line to adapt the scarf to a different culture. It has been designed to be able to embrace as many religions and cultures as possible, and it is a way to answer with love and beauty to sterile polemics such as the one around the veil.

Dinstinctive Hue by Renée Mes, is a sort of structure or giant screen that creates warmth and delight to a-personal places such as hospitals.

Then, we encountered Forrest Wool, by Tamara Orjola, who got her diploma Cum Laude, was the nominee for the Rene Smeets Award, and the Keep an Eye Grant, and was the winner of the Brains Award. It is a very smart research on material. The idea is to use pine needles as “pinetrees are the world’s main source of timber. Every year 600 million pine trees are cut down in the EU only. But there is more to the tree than just wood: pine needles account for 20 to 30 percent of its mass.” And until now these needles are unused. With random and affordable industrial techniques, Tamara creates an ecological high quality wool. Well done!

Charlotte Therre‘s wellness devices for modern workers, called Body at Work, are less of a revolution but they are indeed desirable and elegant. The fact that Charlotte’s studio is in South Korea, somehow does not surprise me. This series looks like a form of lacquered ritual object. I am very receptive to this kind of patiently obtained sacred harmony. And I think that using it for a wellness device is also a philosophical gesture: our new religion is about preparing the body to productivity.

Next, 21G by Seungbin Yang is also a material revolution. Basically it is lacquered paper. So it is at the same time very light, water resistant, nobly finished, durable, sterilized and eco-friendly. The technique is an ancient Korean natural lacquer called ott-chil that is on the verge of dying out.

Hayo Gebauer‘s Props’s for Order is also about sacralizing the profane, it is sacrilizing the notion of order. “Sorting things and reorganising them is as natural as birds collecting and assembling sticks to make their nests. But sometimes we can get hung up on the act of establishing order. It can become an obsession. With ‘Props for Order’ Hayo Gebauer aims to show the beauty of such behaviour. Instead of hiding our storage systems away like a dirty habit, these objects are designed to use in plain sight, for all to admire”.

Eloise Maës‘s Inner Weather  is “ a design for an air cooler and humidifier, was based on Eloïse Maës’ research of porcelain sand with Studio Unfold. Porcelain possesses the ability to absorb and diffuse water. Its porous nature allows the water to soak into the cavities between the tiny grains of porcelain sand. If you add color to the liquid, the water’s path becomes even more fascinating to track, and pouring and watching it becomes like a meditative ritual. When the water evaporates, the color remains, and the process repeats when you pour again.”

Sejoon Kim is interested in “cuteness” and in why he is more attracted to it than Europeans. His hypothesis is that “with its rigid hierarchy, Confucian culture brought a hidden desire for dominance and control. The rise of commercialism and its powerful marketing aimed at children over the past decades did the rest. Kim believes that when people find something cute, there is an inherent sense of superiority, domination and even violence. Satisfying these urges stimulates the human pleasure centres. Acknowledging both loveliness and darkness can be necessary and useful; it may help alleviate the human urge for control and conquest. This is why he has incorporated these conflicting qualities in his designs.” As you will surely have guessed by now, the name of his series is Cute.

This is only half of it guys, you will soon be able to discover the other pieces. That is a promise!

Sigve Knutson‘s Drawn Objects is about relinking design, or the object production process, to the spontaneity of drawings and crafts.

Best of FIAC 2016

I must tell you that I have a record with contemporary art. I was a gallerist when I was 22 years old, I also worked for other galleries and for museums, it’s been in my life for the past 10 years, but it’s a love and hate relationship. I advise all my intelligent artists friends to become something else than just artists.  To be able to create something from scratch is one of the most amazing thing to be doing. But it really is never like that.  The art market right now is a bit depressing and self-centered. I must also tell you that although I went to the Fiac, Paris’s contemporary art fair, yesterday in order to post something about it for you, I really dislike fairs and their crowd of wannabe subversive VIPs. However as I love you all dearly, lovely readers, I still took some little pics of my favourite pieces.

This is a very catchy work of art: 2 weeks before the Fiac, Elmgreen & Dragset curated the Perrotin Fiac booth, in the empty Grand Palais. And it was identically positioned during the real Fiac.