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Category: Maison & Objet

Reporting from Paris: Blofield inflatables breathe some life into indoor-outdoor furniture


The Blofield inflatable Chesterfield sofas from Dutch designer Jeroen van de Kant caught our eye at the fall 2009 Maison & Objet fair, and the company is back in Paris this week with additional variations on the blow-up theme.

Maison_Blofield2 With a cheeky nod to classic design and an ironically formal look, the Blofield pieces set a new standard for air-filled outdoor furniture. Now, in addition to its  armchairs, love seats and three-person couches, Blofield introduced a four-seater in new colors including black, red and orange. Blofield also introduced the Baby Blo, a kid-sized armchair.

These armchairs and sofas are comfortable, easy to clean and so handsome that it’s tempting to imagine them in a chic loft instead of poolside.

“You could use them inside,” said a spokeswoman at the salon, “But they’re really made for the outdoors.”

Made from heavy-duty PVC, the Blofield combines the classic elegance of a Chesterfield sofa with the technology that has revolutionized the air mattress. Each Blofield piece comes with an electric air pump and wheeled travel bag (plus a repair kit to patch up any holes).

-- Kristin Hohenadel

Photos: Kristin Hohenadel

Reporting from Paris: Beltima's Mistral cabins,
the micro-backyard retreat


The Belgian company Beltima is stopping passersby in their tracks at the Maison & Objet design show in Paris this week.

Beltima's row of small, colorful, freestanding structures includes greenhouses, dog houses, caravans and outdoor sheds. 

Its narrow single-use Mistral cabins are a charming foil for an outdoor shower or toilet, a covered room for your garbage can, as a dressing room or as a compact garden shed.

And for urban dwellers without a yard, the Mistral cabin could function as a small country oasis in an open-plan loft or living space.

We've got a couple of additional photos after the jump, including one of the cabin configured as a water closet.

Stay tuned for more reports from the Paris show.

-- Kristin Hohenadel

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Reporting from Paris: Urban gardening
for the design-minded (or yard-less)


The Maison & Objet Salon in Paris was a showcase for urban garden design, with a range of solutions for bringing greenery to those without space for a traditional garden.

Maison_Garden4 French designer Patrick Blanc’s vertical gardens have inspired a host of copycats and created a market for bringing the space-saving living wall look into the home.

The Miroir en Herbe, top, designed by Jean-Jacques Hubert for Paris-based H2O Architects, is a sleek work of art that brings a sophisticated touch of greenery to any urban space.

The Cloison Vegetale Etcetera designed by Vincent Vandenbrouck for Paris-based French company Edition Compagnie is an elegant way to hang a garden's worth of potted plants in a single wall installation.The Boske Sky Planter, right, designed by New Zealander Patrick Morris, is a simple idea: “turn gardening on its head.” Each Sky Planter is suspended by a ceiling hook so it can be hung anywhere. Upside-down orchids, palms and other plants are planted in soil and watered through a porous base in the planter.

Because the water directly reaches the plant’s roots, the designers claim you can water just once or twice per month, using 80% less water.

And for those who want a vegetable or a flower garden but don't have  the space, the BACSAC portable garden bag is made from recyclable,  sun-resistant double-walled geotextile fabric that can be used inside or outside, on a balcony or a deck. It's a ruggedly stylish and practical solution for those who want more than decorative greenery but aren't blessed with the soil to make it happen. We've got pictures of this design as well as Vandenbrouck's wall installation after the jump.

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Reporting from Paris: Missoni, Moroso get pretty in pixels at Maison & Objet design show


A kind of pixelated vision is appearing throughout the Maison & Objet design show, running through Tuesday in Paris. Designers including Rosita Missoni and Ron Arad are dreaming in blocky bits of color.

At Italian company Missoni, which is opening its first Southern California boutique on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills in March, both fabric and floor coverings were a blur of multi-colored pixels that were a nice foil for fabrics with a cactus or flowered motif. Designer Rosita Missoni said that the motifs evolved from experimenting with checkered geometric patterns.

“We like to play with patchworks, fractions of colors,” she said of the micro-pixel Lobos fabric, left, with its  multicolored tiny blocks layers on a subtle larger check. “We call them pixels but they are born from checks. When you start to play with patterns, it’s an endless game.”

Tel Aviv-born, London-based Ron Arad’s pixelated Do-Lo-Rez collection included both rugs and seating. The rug, produced by Barcelona-based Spanish company Nanimarquina and the sofa, produced by Moroso, can be combined to create a real-life 3-D effect or used separately.

The name Do-Lo-Rez is inspired by the phrase “do low resolution” and Arad’s design in a vibrant pattern of reds, blues or grays is a playful nod to the virtual world of the pixel. Each rug is made in three tones and two pieces that can be fit together like puzzle pieces to customize the look.

More photos after the jump ...

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Maison & Objet 2009: City of Light, indeed

Le Deun chandelier

Design dispatch from Paris, No. 5: Some of the most arresting examples of lighting at the Maison & Objet show this week were strikingly simple, low-energy fixtures from Paris-based designers Le Deun Luminaires.

Le-deun-circle-light Designer Jean Luc Le Deun uses exposed LEDs to illuminate slender aluminum hoop frames that have been painted white or black and mounted on a free-standing base. Simple circles become sophisticated yet fanciful light fixtures equally suited for a classic 19th century apartment or a contemporary house.

“They’re a little bit makeup-mirror, à la ‘A Star Is Born,’ a little bit ‘Stargate’ -- and they also remind you of a lit-up circus ring,” said Philippe Dufour-Loriolle, who mans Le Deun Luminaires' Paris showroom. “The idea is to not be ashamed to actually expose the LED light bulbs, which are usually hidden. Instead, we make a feature of them.”

Here at Maison & Objet, Le Deun also showed a room divider embellished with lighted circles near the base, above left; pendant lights made of hovering circles, above right; and a new series of cubes with lighted sides that can be used as floor lighting or fitted with a metal tray to become a side table.

-- Kristin Hohenadel

Photos: Le Deun Luminaires

Maison & Objet 2009: A Brit blesses America

MaisonAMartinUnionJack God-bless-america-andrew-ma

Design dispatch from Paris, No. 4: The Maison & Objet design show booth of Andrew Martin, one of Britain’s largest privately owned textile and furniture companies, added some new looks to its signature mix of vintage-inspired pieces, oversize animal sculptures and cheeky sofas and chairs printed with Union Jack motifs. This year, bold fabrics also included prints with New York subway signs. One chair showed off London-based designer Martin Waller’s new God Bless America fabric, the phrase hand-scribbled in chalky capital letters on a brown background.

So just what did that all-American phrase mean to this particular Englishman? “Well I suppose to me it’s just a quintessential piece of Americana, like 'Dragnet' and Ford Motor cars and Coca-Cola and cowboy movies,” Waller said. “I guess 'God Bless America' is just a phrase I heard that got stuck deep inside my psyche.”

In Los Angeles, Andrew Martin is available at H.D. Buttercup. Waller insisted that the company's new God Bless America fabric was merely a design statement, no political or religious agenda intended. "Then again, I probably wouldn’t have dared to do it when people were rioting in the streets of London protesting against the war,” he said. “But that mood has changed.” Any Obama-themed fabric in the pipeline? “Not yet,” he said with a grin.

-- Kristin Hohenadel

Photo credits: Kristin Hohenadel

Maison & Objet 2009: Frédérique Morrel, the needlepoint hunter?


 A person could go blind perusing the fall Maison & Objet design show here in Paris, with booth after booth peddling the latest in high-end home accessories. But the eye-popping insanity of French designer MaisonMorrelFrédérique Morrel’s life-size needlepoint-covered trophy-head sculptures was impossible to miss.

Made from polyurethane taxidermy molds, covered in vintage needlework and finished with real antlers, each piece is unique and made by hand. Morrel came up with the idea to work with vintage needlework after her grandmother died and her grandmother's needlework was unceremoniously tossed out. Once you get over the initial shock and kitsch of these pieces, you realize upon closer examination that each tells a story thanks to the idealized scenes of life -- animals, nudes, hunters, flowers and more -- pieced together by the artist.

Morrel’s work also includes a life-size deer sculpture, a series of life-size human sculptures covered in needlepoint that she calls Ghosts, plus poufs, cushions, footstools, lamps, trays and other accessories for the home. Check out her website for a behind-the-scenes look at how she does it.

-- Kristin Hohenadel

Photo: Philippe Cluzeau

Maison & Objet 2009: the ultimate wall of plates


Also new at the Maison & Objet design show in Paris: the first fruit of Italian designer and architect Paola Navone’s recent assignment as artistic director of Richard Ginori 1735, the historic, nearly 300-year-old Tuscan porcelain manufacturer. They made a big statement with a vertiginous plate-covered wall.

Richard Ginori 1735 showcased a reissued edition of Art Deco Gio Ponti china as well as whimsical new designs from Navone: the Broken line of white plates "sewn" together with imaginary painted black stitches; another series of tableware with the spontaneous allure of an artist’s palette; and a rose-patterned set of dishes for which Navone interpreted an 18th century floral pattern in a contemporary needlepoint vibe. (For a peek at some of these, click to the jump.)

“I’m inspired by everything!” Navone said, making rounds at the show. “People, travel, color, flowers. I’m very spongy!” And which dishes does she use at home? “I mix a lot,” she said. “Depends on the food, on the friends, on the house!”

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Maison & Objet 2009: In Paris, cool outdoor design

Secret garden for Foppapedretti

Maison & Objet, the biannual design show in Paris, has become one of the world’s leading showcases for outdoor furniture. The M&O that closes today includes an Outdoor Indoor Hall where displays include the brightly colored, scalloped-edge folding steel tables made in France by Matière grise and being ogled by scouts for CB2.

The Spanish firm Kettal showed a sophisticated gray and white outdoor living room designed by Marcel Wanders. Blow-up Chesterfield sofas and armchairs, below, from Dutch designer Jeroen van de Kant were scattered outside the hall’s doors.

Even more appealing: a partially vine-covered swing, above, from the Amelkis Secret Garden collection by Talocci Design for the Italian company Foppapedretti Atelier. It recalled the front porches and swing sets of days gone by, and it was as easy to imagine in a backyard as in an airy urban loft.

-- Kristin Hohenadel

Blofeld chesterfield sofa

Photo credits, from top: Maison & Objet, Kristin Hohenadel


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