A return to retro, playful prints and striking metallics are all key to spring’s decidedly refreshing new mood, writes local interior designer John Law
They call Maison & Objet the trade show that knows, and along with an always welcome weekend in Paris, our bi-annual trip to Europe’s biggest design show offers an all-important glimpse into the future of interior design.
While we’re always inspired by the sheer breadth of what’s on display, this year saw a smile-inducing upturn in playful home adornment, from flamingo fabrics and wallpapers to hanging test-tube like vases and cacti, and colour was everywhere. The uniting theme of show, intriguingly, was silence, and yet the fascinating bit was that everyone had very different ideas on how that sense of serenity, or place to feel truly at home, can be achieved and expressed.
Here are just a few of the themes that really captured our imagination . . .
We saw the whole spectrum of palettes from caramel, rust and oranges to calming creams and browns and yet our favourite combinations were the vibrant green on green schemes or the wash of blush pinks and pastels that proved popular on myriad stands.
Ligne Roset embraced pink with its rose colour modular Ethan wardrobe, and Pierre Frey showed us fuchsia fabrics and ethnic prints which would be perfect for adding bright pops of colour and pattern to more neutral Georgian backdrops.
We were particularly taken with Portuguese brand Jetclass, whose smokey pink velvet neoclassical sofas and marshmallow-hued armchairs contrasted against gently curved furniture and retro pouffes to create the scheme of Lady Penelope’s (and our) dreams.
Inset: Pierre Frey’ bright fabrics
Many of the stands seemed to take inspiration from the past, with a particular nod to the mid-century modern movement, albeit brought bang-up-to-date with a few very 21st-century influences. Essential Home offered a masterclass in how to balance the eras, with its bold, statement furniture that is both supremely elegant and cosy at the same time. Pink fringed sofas, retro panelled sideboards, off-kilter diamond mirrors and other novelties from statement gold-fronted cabinets to wing chairs made their stand a place you wanted to hang out. These pieces evoked memories of things you’ve definitely seen before at your nan’s, except its versions were supremely glam and covetable in the extreme.
Also adding glamour to proceedings was the wealth of gold and gloriously mixed materials on show, from ornate mirrors to inlaid pieces of furniture. We were drawn like magpies to various sculptural lighting brands, probably because we’re always advocating how the right sort of lighting can make such a dramatic difference to any room. Schwung Home’s wall sconces and floor lamps made in burnished and lacquered brass with mouth-blown glass globes were like very beautiful pieces of art in their own right, and we loved the 20th century-inspired chandeliers from Magic Circus. Our favourite chandelier 01 offers a floating deconstruction of a Sputnik space probe that’s both theatrical and completely beautiful and would look amazing in Bath’s high-ceilinged drawing rooms.
The theme of marble – whether real or imitation – on table tops and textiles, walls and floors cropped up again and again across the show. Antolini showcased a wealth of marble in unusual colours that looked so exotic, Casa Deco adorned sofas to curtains in lovely grey and midnight marble fabric and we adored the work of British designer Tamasine Osher. Her tables mix chic marble tops with striking architectural bases – some look like spider’s legs – and we could definitely see her coffee table taking up residence in our own home.
Just like the latest catwalk fashions you probably won’t wear head-to-toe, breathing new life into your interiors space is about picking the pieces that you really love and making them work for you. We put in orders for everything from console tables to beautiful glass vases, zigzag inlay chests of drawers and plenty of decorative items, which will be trickling their way through into the showroom soon, should you need some extra temptation to hit refresh in your home.
John Law is a director at Woodhouse & Law, the well-established full service interior and garden design partnership, with a showroom and studio on Bathwick Hill. Visit: woodhouseandlaw.co.uk