Continuing from its buzzing inaugural show last year, MAISON&OBJET ASIA returned to shore with a second edition held over three days at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Singapore, from 10 to 13 March. Stephanie Peh does a review.
MAISON&OBJET is a trade fair known to celebrate high quality decorative arts and home fashion in interior design. This year’s affair in Asia stuck closely to that purpose, a distinction from other events happening as part of the Singapore Design Week 2015.
Exhibitors ranged from coveted brands for accessories, fragrance, furniture, jewellery, lighting, wallpaper and textile to new blood, offering up new perspectives for residential, contract and hospitality projects. Naturally, the fair attracted a range of visitors including retailers, consumers, designers, developers, hoteliers and restaurateurs.
The trends evident in this year’s fair included the honouring of traditions, handmade techniques, unexpected material marriages and dedication to sustainability and smart design – epitomised amongst various exhibitors highlighted below:
NENDO x INDUSTRY+
In an open stage-like setting on fairgrounds, Industry+ unveiled 22 pieces that formed the result of its collaboration with Japanese studio, Nendo – designer of the year for MAISON&OBJET PARIS. Tokyo Tribal Collection consists of home pieces that collectively utilise neutral solid oak as its skeleton structure and volcanic sand plaster for top board finishes. Each piece comes complete with a charming bamboo rattan feature hand-woven by Filipino artisans, such as a backrest or table leg. The collection marries the concepts of furniture products and small interior goods, aptly celebrating the ideals of MAISON&OBJET.
Outdoor furniture maker, Maiori showcased its passion for sustainability and engineering capabilities through its collaboration with Christophe Pillet and Normal Studio. The Christophe Pillet’s A600 series built in Aluminium 6061, a high-performance stock for use in aerospace were also utilised as seating for the cafeteria of the fair, providing a warm and unfussy touch with its Mediterranean palette.
The AT800 series designed by Normal Studio combines soft metal (aluminium) and hard wood (teak). Employing a modular system, tabletops displayed features aluminium cut corners, enabling it to sit into the table’s crossbars and legs for the ease of disassembly and transportation. The element of perforated sheet metal also allows sunlight and rain through, creating beautiful shadows and reducing weight all round.
apaiser illustrates why it is a forerunner in rethinking bathware design and form to a level of understated luxury and sophistication. The Australian luxury bathware company showcased its collaboration with interior designer, Kelly Hoppen who describes bathrooms as a “place to unwind”, as she redefines bathwares as sculptural art.
Established by Ethnicraft and designer duo Jan & Lara, Universo Positivo created its contemporary home universe within a sizable stand, utilising small to large scale European made pieces from an extensive range, including the Replenishment Rack, Turtle 75, B-desk and Agent Solo – each bearing the brand’s signature solid oak and lacquered metal mix.
Family business, Nani Marquina returns this year showcasing the Rabari collection by Doshi Levien. The rugs, handmade in India through Sumak techniques of hand knotting and weaving, were a visual adrenaline that married modernist graphics and age-old techniques.
Belgian design and production house, SEMPRE presented its earthy, handmade range of indoor and outdoor furniture and decorative pieces made out of a range of materials including oak, iron, Belgian bluestone, glass and reclaimed teak wood.
Six Asian designers were identified as Rising Talents, including local design studio, Outofstock who presented Animo, an ‘eco-laboration’ with Ekobo, featuring a set of sand play toys made of bamboo fibre in forms borrowed from ocean creatures; Eindhoven based, Seoul-born designer, Wonmin Park who exhibited pieces from his Haze series, defined by basic geometrical shapes and pastel coloured resin; and Indonesian designer, Abie Abdillah, who is redefining rattan to resurrect interest in the material that his home country supplies majorly worldwide. Other three talents included Monica Tsang, Poetic Lab and Zhang Zhoujie – watch this space for an upcoming interview with the latter.
The fair also witnessed full house attendance in keynote summits such as the presentation by Designer of the Year for MAISON&OBJET ASIA, Neri & Hu Design and Research office.
A slight veer from the French edition, the last day of the fair was dedicated to celebrate SG50 through a series of talks titled “Singapore is Design”, where local design veterans including Nathan Yong, Patrick Chia and Takenouchi Webb addressed the touchstones of Singapore as a design nation.