Maison & Objet has always moved with the times, lockdown included. So when the safety of its exhibitors and visitors was at stake, a digital show was the only way to go. It was a smooth transition for the premier design, decorating and lifestyle show in Paris because of the existence of MOM (Maison & Objet and More), their digital platform established in 2016. And what a show this recent edition turned out: 4,300 brands from 77 countries presented more than 50,000 new products through 6,400 digital showrooms, not to mention several dozen e-conferences.
The most eagerly awaited conference, of course, was the one by the Trend Laboratory. How indeed does one decorate during these trying times? As we have experienced for ourselves, aside from baking, eating, working out and Netflixing, decorating is a top activity that should keep us occupied for the coming year and beyond.
François Bernard suggests we go Modernastic. This life of isolation has turned us into monks, converting our homes into the holiest of design sanctuaries by decluttering as rabidly as we disinfect the virus away
“It’s not a clean sweep of our stylistic desires,” however, according to the trend forecaster. Purity actually ennobles the form and brings out the sensual power of materials, which we become more sensitive to as we acquire this “feeling of things” binding all our senses and making us perceive the object more. Very Shinto, when you think about it, a very Japanese aesthetic. Bernard calls it “a spirituality without religion guiding a simple, comfortable, minimal and poetic creation where crude meets rigor, focusing on the essential.”
In architecture and interiors, religious sites are naturally ideal for this aesthetic, replacing the favored industrial sites of yore. Modern and rationalist masters of the 20th century like Charlotte Perriand and Marcel Gascoin are inspirations for this new sensual austerity, influenced as much by Japanese tradition, vernacular aesthetics and modern art.
It’s no surprise that the Modernastic color palette was influenced by what people were seeing a lot and purchasing online during confinement: staple foods like eggs, flour and sugar with their clear, soft shades; as well as colors of nature like leaf green, sky gray, Crimean black tomato, sunflower and lemon yellow.
For François Delclaux, the health crisis raises questions on relocation and proximity with today’s creation favoring the local dimension: “There is a call for a vernacular approach, a new cultural and heritage ethic which places the terroir, the craftsman, the local know-how and its traditions and the material at the core center production of the object.”
Naturally, this approach goes hand in hand with an ethic of environmental responsibility, social equity and sustainable development. Just like food is the result of a terroir, an object is the result of a place and a convergence of various factors unique to the place.
“The place itself is the new form,” says Delclaux. Thus you have artists in residence close to local art, radical ruralism and new rural communities producing authentic handmade textures and weaves reflecting a simple and rustic art of living, updated craft traditions, an assertive rusticity of wood and plants in all its forms, and local traditions perpetuated with raw and authentic materials.
Patterns are a narration between abstract and native geometries and poetic and graphic figuration. There is a wealth of materials and know-how: glazed earthenware, enameled metal, traditional brassware and porcelain, blown glass and stoneware. Although there is a search for purity, there is also a discovery of unexpected kinships and convergences between artisan traditions of Europe and Asia resulting in a dialogue of cultures and heritages. Colors are mineral and woody, earthy browns and glazes like celadon green and porcelain blue.
Elizabeth Leriche predicts a vibrant expressiveness in the art of living, inspired by the abstract, expressionist and modernist forms and rhythms of the second half of the 20th century: “Free and loose shapes, geometric shapes, totemic shapes à la Brancusi, lines and brush strokes, dripping with Pollock, the cubist faces of Picasso, and round and organic shapes.”
Colors are warm and muted with saffron, terracotta and garnet contrasted by tones of sage, fir green and turquoise blue; punctuated by neutrals of chalk and black. Materials are authentic and rustic like ceramics, sandstone, terra cotta; natural wood, as well as stone like travertine; blackened metal and colored glass. Textiles are of natural material like terry wool and felt.
“It’s sophisticated and cultivated, coupled with a bohemian fantasy with objects, shapes, textiles, rugs coming into the home like so many pieces of art, unique pieces to form a collection guided by eclecticism and pictorial staging,” says Leriche. It’s a reaction to an overly formatted and trivialized decorating style. “The artistic and unique claims a freedom of taste and tone that sets one’s universe apart.”