Photo of the Week

ParisUpdate-JohnGoodmanforFrenchPresident

Humor on the hoardings spotted before the first round of the French elections: “John Goodman (Jean Gentilhomme) for President,” the candidate of the “Nice Peoples' Party. That would make a change. © Paris Update

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Paris Update What’s On

Links to events happening this week in Paris.

Silent films from Switzerland?

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> They’re rare, but they do exist and can be seen at the Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé, Paris, through May 2.

Retail heaven
> You can buy just about anything at the century-old Foire de Paris, a gigantic pop-up store. Porte de Versailles, Paris. April 27-May 8.

Voices from the North
> The Pølar Festival celebrates Northern European culture with films, concerts, talks and more. Various locations, Paris, through April 29.

Photo walk
> Eight Paris galleries hold special photography shows and events for Parcours Fotofever. Various locations, Paris, through May 1.

Photo shows galore
> Le Mois de la Photo has been moved from autumn to spring, with 96 exhibitions taking place all over the greater Paris area. See Web site for locations and dates.

Art videos
> The theme of this year’s Videobox Festival is “noise and movement.” Carreau du Temple, Paris, April 27-29.

French film with English subtitles
> Lost in Frenchlation shows Nicolas Boukhrief’s La Confession, preceded by a themed cocktail party (€4.50). Studio 28, Paris, April 28.

Virtual reality
> Drop in on Saturday or Sunday from 2pm to 8pm for a free virtual trip at the VR Express festival. Forum des Images, Paris, through June 30.

Dance in historic sites
> Monuments en Mouvement offers free dance performances in national monuments like the Pantheon in Paris, the Abbaye de Cluny and châteaux. Various locations, through Oct. 21.

African culture festival
> The 100% Afriques festival showcases dance, theater, music, fashion, design, art, food and more from all over the continent. La Villette, Paris, through May 28.

 

Hot Topics - Exhibitions

 

Maison & Objet September 2015

Inside the Closed Doors of
Interior Decoration Show

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A table by &Tradition. Photo: Colin Eaton

Maison & Objet, Paris’s biannual home-
decoration trade fair, celebrated its 20th anniversary in September by changing its approach, focusing less on specialization and more on broad-based trends and lifestyles in an attempt to stay in tune with consumers’ evolving habits.

This ties in well with the current retail trend as the numbers of “multi-offer,” “concept” and “lifestyle” stores increase. What’s behind it all? Financial reality! Retailers can no longer survive by selling just one item or brand. The global recession and e-stores have placed huge pressures on physical stores, particularly mid-range and mass-market ones. How to survive? Create a brand/lifestyle and step into the world of “experiential shopping.” A consumer can now pop into a store and find everything from furnishings to fabrics and food, all with a defined brand identity.

At Maison & Objet, this translated into the rearrangement of offerings into three categories: “Maison” for interior decoration, furniture, home accessories, lighting and fabrics; “Luxury, Design & Interior,” for unique and bespoke products and technical innovations; and “Objet,” for the small or distinctive additions that enrich our interiors, from the useful to the frivolous: kitchen utensils, home fragrances, candles, etc.

Processes, the nature of luxury and the provenance of materials were strong themes this year. Trendcasting agency Elizabeth Leriche chose “Precious” as its theme, with artisans, artists and designers demonstrating how they rewrite the rules of opulence to create a post-bling aesthetic, examining such questions as What is truly precious? Will the ultimate luxury be immaterial?

A highlight was Showzi Tsukamoto, who came from Tokyo to demonstrate Kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with

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lacquer mixed with powdered gold, silver or platinum, treating breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.

Another standout from Japan was Fedeca, a Japanese cutlery brand founded in 2014 by Kanzawa Works, a company with 120 years of history. “Tools designed to create art” was

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Fedeca’s exhibition theme, with live demonstrations showing its tools being used to make wooden chairs.

Fedeca is now manufacturing kanna, wood-working planes, which the user pulls

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rather than pushes, as in Western planes. Tokunga Furniture uses these planes when making its products instead of sandpaper, which rubs away the natural pattern of the wood.

Also from Japan, the Arita 400 project showcased new porcelain designs by Arita, founded in 1616. Its products are highly

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valued in Japan as works of art and are also widely used in restaurants and homes. Newsflash: the items exhibited at Arita 400 are now on sale at the Maison Wa store (8 bis, rue Villedo, 75001 Paris).

Other highlights of the show:

• A collaboration between Finlayson, a Finnish textile manufacturer founded in 1820, and Tom of Finland (Touko Laaksonen), who

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once said, “I know my little ‘dirty drawings’ are never going to hang in the main salons of the Louvre, but it would be nice if – I would like to say ‘when,’ but I better say ‘if’ – our world learns to accept all the different ways of loving. Then maybe I could have a place in one of the smaller side rooms.” He may not yet be in the Louvre, but he was showcased at Maison & Objet.

Cinq Points, a new French contemporary architecture products label,  founded by Laurence Calafat, an architect who designs and

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produces games and stationery with a refined, sober monochromatic designs. Her mission is to spread contemporary architecture to the wider public.

• Danish design company &Tradition, which references the old masters “while giving space to new designers to define future classics,”

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presented a series of three multi-tiered tables mixing marble, oak veneer, brass and steel by Spanish designer du jour Jaime Hayon, who took inspiration from Alexander Calder’s kinetic sculptures.

• British designer Simon Hasan presented prototypes of his wrap pendant light made from vegetable-tanned leather and brass fittings. His work is inspired by the collision of industrial processes and ancient crafts during

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the Industrial Revolution. I particularly liked his molded vegetable-tanned leather and glass vessels, which had an almost medieval feel to them.

Max Benjamin, an Irish fragrance company, sells candles handmade in its workshops in rural Ireland using soya, coconut and beeswax and Italian cotton wicks for fabulous burn quality.

Colin Eaton

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