Natural and durable materials
As in other sectors, sustainability is becoming the new normal in the interior design world. Numerous brands have released innovative products in which the ecological aspect is central. The Belgian Ecobirdy, for example, transforms plastic waste into furniture with a remarkable terrazzo look for children and for outdoor use. The French company Noma Editions also has eco-design in its genes. This brand brings high quality and contemporary furniture made from recycled materials. In addition, we see an increasing demand for natural raw materials such as sustainable and luxurious woods, something that furniture manufacturers such as Belgian indoor and outdoor brand Gommaire specialize in. What is striking is that walnut, with its warm brown glow, is increasingly replacing oak, the wood species that has been ubiquitous in recent years. Natural stone, and especially various types of marble, is and remains a favorite material for numerous designers to design both large pieces of furniture, such as the dazzling Guilia dining table by the XVL brand, and smaller interior objects such as bookends or side tables.
Round shapes and tactile materials
A sense of security and femininity runs like a common thread through contemporary furniture landscapes. Armchairs, sofas and footstools are characterized by their soft and round shapes. They offer us a safe cocoon in which we can snuggle up and relax when the outside world seems too hectic or dangerous. This inviting look is not limited to just the shape of the furniture. The materials used also follow this cozy trend. The fabric of choice we encountered everywhere is a woolly and elegant bouclé fabric in lovely shades of white, pink and nude, such as the upholstery of the Bamboo Armchair by PH Collection. They are tactile materials that ask to be touched and cherished. One thing is certain: minimalist sofas with a rounded and stretched form in a warm white bouclé, such as the Amore sofa by Eichholtz, will become a fixture in a contemporary interior anno 2022.
Playful and cheerful with a touch of retro
Now that the covid pandemic seems to be on its last legs after two long years, it’s time for renewed cheerfulness. We also saw this in numerous interior design brands that opted for bright and warm colors. Influences from the optimistic sixties and seventies were also clearly present and give contemporary furniture designs a touch of retro. A good example is the brand new brand Popus Editions that stands out with their striking vintage prints. In addition, we see iconic designs from the swinging sixties given a new look, such as the famous Pipistrello lamp by Italy’s Martinelli Luce. Finally, playfulness is not only in the poppy use of color, but we also saw brands like FAS pendezza with games and even foosball tables in a contemporary version with fifties pastel colors or even retro-futuristic designs made of translucent plastic that also look great in the relaxation areas of cool offices.
While on the one hand we are looking for high-tech techniques and materials that are fully up to date, on the other hand we are going back to age-old traditions that give character and authenticity to the objects in our interiors. Maison & Objet responds to this growing demand by offering a Métiers d’Arts department where artisanal products are exhibited. Ceramics in particular are ubiquitous today. The rough and earthy character of objects made from this material lends itself perfectly to the creation of special interior objects such as sculptures, vases and bowls, and moreover they are often handmade and unique. In line with this, ceramic tiles are also making a comeback. Experienced producers include Portugal’s Viùva Lamego, known for their hand-painted tiles, or Gorbon Tiles, which has been making tiles for decades using traditional production methods, and which adorns the walls of the recently opened Nobu restaurant in the Ritz Carlton hotel in Istanbul, among others.
Special wall coverings
In addition to colorful furniture and objects, we are also seeing more and more remarkable wall coverings that revert to traditional methods such as hand-painted motifs. Today, we don’t just want art on our walls, but the walls themselves are being transformed into outright works of art. For example, the French Maison Ananbô manufactures panoramic landscapes that make us dream of distant and exotic places. Maison Martin Morel reinterprets textile prints from the 19th and 20th centuries and gives them a contemporary twist. Whatever you prefer, an exclusive wall covering as an eye-catcher in your home is definitely the right thing to do today.
Focus on Japanese emerging talent
Finally, the Rising Talents Awards are also worth mentioning, a renowned award that highlighted the land of the rising sun during this edition of Maison & Objet. Six talented winners were carefully selected by a jury chaired by renowned architect Kengo Kuma. One of the promising finalists was Yuma Kano, whose The Rust Harvest surprisingly reinvents rust as a special material through innovative techniques. Kodai Iwamoto, on the other hand, used traditional glassblowing techniques to transform PVC pipes into contemporary art. Finally, the award for the brand new Rising Talent Awards Craft category went to Kurokawa Toru. “The sculptural artworks of Japan’s Toru Kurokawa are impressive. His research has allowed him to make his designs dance and warp without losing their balance, without ever collapsing,” the jury said.