Patterns are making a strong resurgence in the home as we look for more sources of joy, a premise that the “Enjoy” theme at the recent Maison & Objet in Paris is predicated on. We saw this in many of the booths and Elizabeth Leriche, a regular trend forecaster at the fair, devoted her “What’s New?” exhibit to the topic through a “Pattern Factory” of five rooms that stage patterns in a way that feels daring and enticing to visitors.
“Since COVID, the context in which we have been living has been so difficult that I now feel a very strong appetite for fantasy,” said Leriche. “Immersive, even hypnotic, pattern allows us to have fun.” It provides optimism in an anxiety-provoking world.
We actually live with patterns, which are with us all the time because they’re everywhere, from the most modest object or fabric to the most sophisticated composition. They are also a medium of history and narration with many stories to tell, affirming our desire for artistic and creative personalization. Patterns share with art the representation of reality and life.
Leading to the five rooms, Leriche created a large, immersive hallway where visitors are completely surrounded by patterns that merge different eras and designs: “The idea is to encourage visitors to be bold and dare to make associations which may seem improbable, but which will nonetheless make sense nowadays as we see many decorators creating very daring interiors by mixing panther patterns with geometrics.”
The exhibit also goes behind the scenes to show printing techniques and sources of inspiration in the creation of patterns. A designer inspired by an animal theme, for example, goes deeper into historical elements to reinterpret it and come up with something more layered and less predictable. The stories can be very personal, like the way a scarf with vases and geometrics started with the designer’s memories of his grandmother’s perfume bottles.
What’s interesting with patterns is that everything is possible. They make it possible for each person to express their personality and fantasy.
“The creation and use of patterns is certainly very personal as well, as cultural, and as a style agency we pay attention to everything that is happening in all areas, finding inspiration in the kitchen, the museums, in the cities—reflecting this diversity in patterns,” says Leriche.
Faced with impersonal industrialization, there is a strong desire for the artisanal, such as block printing using hand-carved wood to create patterns on fabrics—an ancient technique still employed by a featured Italian studio that still prints manually on linens that are also woven by hand. Another featured technique is Japanese shibori dating from the 8th century, a manual resist dyeing process.
With her five installations, Leriche highlighted different products within the theme through bold associations.
We’re seeing a true revival of the ’70s recently through a combination of geometric patterns and more arty patterns in a free pictorial aspect that can be found in fabrics and comfortable seats. The expressionist composition, based on freeform shapes, combines brushstrokes with stylized geometric forms, epitomized by the Pierre Frey Arty fabric upholstery of the Togo sofa, which Leriche combined with the CC-Tapis carpet. Pop motifs of Mapoésie Paris hem the ceiling, Japanese shibori patterns frame the space.
This is all about nature, so we can see patterns that have been created as one large landscape. The enthusiasm for large, panoramic-view wall murals most certainly reflects the need to escape and reconnect to nature. This arrangement consists of a lush jungle mix of palm trees and unusual fauna with geometrically patterned weaves and trellises.
This Eden Garden reflects the current craze for rattan and furniture pieces that have “a very charming and narrative aspect, which combines figurative and geometric shapes, very evocative of verandas.”
This theme evokes travel and world cultures, between Africa and Asia, combining totemic forms, primary motifs and wild bestiary. Covering the floor is a leopard pattern, “which has never been out of the spotlight since Napoleon,” says Leriche. “There’s a very rooted aspect with warm, earthy tones and contrasting browns. There is an interest in animal patterns which add a sense of wilderness to our lives.”
A vibrant and fanciful pop universe combines flowers, stripes and checks with happy colors that spell fun. Within this very optimistic room, Leriche combined orange and green, complementary colors that create good energy to project a positive vibe.
The patterns here are inspired by architecture like Bauhaus and Memphis and optical effects with stripes that hypnotically energize the space, combined with a palette of blue, green and red. Associations were created between wall patterns and furniture pieces. The idea is to dare to combine things that may initially feel that they don’t belong together, but through experimentation can work.
“What’s interesting with patterns is that everything is possible,” says Leriche. “They make it possible for each person to express their personality and fantasy.”