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This year most of us have found ourselves spending more time than usual at home and some of us used this opportunity for a bit of DIY, to spruce up our cocoons. It is befitting that the first big event of the fall calendar in the City of Light is Paris Design Week, offering the perfect chance to learn all about the latest home decor trends and fashions.
Paris Design Week is an “off” event now in its 10th edition. Spread over several locations across town, until this year it ran parallel to the largest trade fair for the sector, Maison&Objet. Open to the general public (contrary to M&O, reserved for professionals), it was a chance for high profile brands to present their newest collections, usually in their showrooms or boutiques, but sometimes on grander premises.
This year, the September edition of M&O having been cancelled, PDW has taken center stage, and while it remains a rather confidential event, with so many foreign buyers still unable to travel to France, it shines a light on new designers and new fashions.
A few common themes seem to emerge: 1970s-inspired home decor, mix&match of periods, organic materials and eco-conscious design.
While the 1970s have already been in fashion for some time, this year it is less about bling and more about pure, geometric lines and luxurious yet understated materials. Think about young French designer Pierre Gonalons, who exhibits his latest creations against the jewel-box decor of the Hôtel de Soubise, an 18th century mansion in the heart of the Marais. Or Chahan Minassian, one of the designers behind the rebirth of Hôtel de Crillon, who finds inspiration from the same era but blurs the lines between contemporary and vintage, adding antiques to his own sleek furniture and decorative objects.
At Galerie Bonaparte, a different kind of mix&match emerges: Rinck Paris, purveyor of custom-made furniture and decor in the style of the greatest French ensembliers, has partnered with innovative British brand Fromental and young curator Julia Van Hagen to recreate the home of a connoisseur in Julia’s art gallery. In the pocket-sized spaced, epochs, styles and inspirations coexist and make traditional pieces feel new and hip. This is the perfect kind of inspiration if we wish to update but not revamp our interiors, as it lets us give a new lease of life to vintage pieces or fatigued family heirlooms we care about.
Looking at many of the PDW displays, it feels as if even designers have heeded the call of the great outdoors and felt the urge of bringing them inside our homes, judging by the profusion of organic-inspired materials presented. It is not just a matter of using natural materials, but also of producing organic-inspired objects, like these lamp bases by Japan-born ceramist Shizue Imai at Chahan Gallery. The colors are soothing and the textures inviting to the touch.
Recent events also seem to have amplified the important trend of eco-conscious design, judging from what a younger generation of designers presents at the Paris Design Factory in the Marais. From tiles made of marine sediments, to a new type of eco-friendly wood varnish, these emerging creatives suggest new ways to make our environment more pleasant without wasting precious resources. And while their creations feel less luxurious than those of their older peers, exhibited in the more genteel Saint Germain des Près, their boundary-pushing creativity might be more attuned to the less-than-normal times we live in.
All in all, it was almost exhilarating to see so much creativity unleashed. And it felt really good, despite the masks and physical distancing, to see professional and amateurs alike enjoying spending time together, in real life.
Paris Design Week will run until September 12. To find out more about the 250 participants, check out the PDW website (https://www.maison-objet.com/en/ paris-design-week) or download the PDW application.
Lead photo credit : Period mix & match Fromental, RINCK. Credit © Sarah Bartesaghi Truong