When the weather is fine in Paris – as it was this past September – it seems like the whole city is out and about: strolling along the Seine, sipping and smoking in outdoor cafs, sunning in the Tuileries and Luxembourg gardens. Those of us covering the late-summer edition of the twice-yearly Maison & Objet took our own sweet time sauntering through the lovely, leafy grounds of Paris-Nord Villepinte Convention and Exhibition Center, reluctant to enter one of its seven large halls. Fortunately, the main attraction – the launch of a new annual event, the M&O Outdoor_Indoor show – brought the outdoors in. It helped that it was held in hall seven, the smallest and sunniest of the lot.
A smashing success, M&O Oudoor_Indoor gathered together 92 exhibitors from 13 countries (the bulk from France, Belgium and Italy), representing the biggest names in outdoor furniture. Here was B&B Italia, showing off Patricia Urquiola’s folksy yet futuristic collection of woven seating; there was Fermob, flaunting Pascal Morgue’s modern yet romantic range of furniture in perforated metal. As with these, the designers of the best items on show took something old, had fun with it, and made it new. For Some Furniture, Robin Delaere came up with an ergonomic lounger that turns into a comfortable chair; for Symo, Davy Grosemans crafted a parasol whose rustling “raffia” is made of polypropylene; and, for Viteo Outdoors. Danny Venlet created a weatherproof outdoor waterbed.
Other shows-within-a-show this September included scnes d’intrieur, focusing on home fashions; M&O projets, bringing together consultants, architects, designers and hoteliers; and now! design vivre, highlighting cutting-edge design.
1–CANASTA To create this outdoor collection for B&B Italia, renowned Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola took her inspiration from interlacing Vienna straw. Amplifying the traditional pattern, she made use of vinyl plastic, which guarantees sturdiness, lightness and durability over time. Canasta comprises a linear sofa in two versions, with high and low backrest, an armchair with the same alternatives, a large circular armchair and a bed/chaise longue. Fixed or removable cushions come in several different fabric combinations. www.bebitalia.com
Designed by Pascal Mourgue for French manufacturer Fermob, Rendez-vous was introduced at last year’s Maison & Objet. New in the range of perforated metal furniture are a bridge chair and nest of three tables. Available in a wide range of colours, including nutmeg, willow green, fuchsia, lemon and azure blue. www.fermob.com
3–KYO TO Designer Wolf Udo Wagner’s Kyoto chair for Germany’s Fischer Mbel is based on origami – he folded paper until he found the proper shape. The U-shaped frame is stainless steel; the shell is made of sun-fast and weather resistant foam. Both sidechair (pictured) and armchair are stackable. The Kyoto range also includes a dismountable table in four different sizes, along with sun beds and lounge chairs. www.fischer-moebel.de
4–POOLMATE For Belgium’s Some Furniture, Robin Delaere has designed an ergonomic lounger that – thanks to an ingenious hinge – turns into a comfortable chair. An anodized aluminum frame is covered in Batyline. Poolmate is available in black, white, brown and beige. www.some.be
5–ROCKING CHAIR Each item in French designer Pascal Buclon’s collection of plated and stamped steel furniture for Ex’primae is a work of art. Available in 12 colours, the collection includes two different rocking chairs, a chaise longue and dessert cart. The steel is treated with zinc and then thermo-lacquered, making it rust-resistant.
Of all the young companies exhibiting at now! design vivre – Maison & Objet’s hippest show – I was particularly drawn to Lumbroso, based in Bordeaux, France; and Mode, based in Cardiff, U.K.
Lumbroso, which takes its name from one of its two designers, was founded this past April. With their sculptural and streamlined furniture, Raphal Lumbroso and Arnaud Puig aim to combine German functionalism and Italian emotionalism. At now!, they introduced two sofas, Anno and Carat, both with a chassis wood frame and foam upholstery (Anno’s legs are made of brushed stainless steel); and the Slice table, with a metal structure and a leather-like textile top. www.design-lumbroso.com
Founded in 2004 by designers Duncan Taylor and Kevin Champion, and later joined by Alun Jones, Mode specializes in clever, sometimes kooky, home accessories. New this year is Fridge Monkey, a flexible rubber mat designed to stack all sorts of bottle or cans in the fridge; Goo, heat-resistant placemats/coasters/trivets made of silicone rubber; and Sticklebook, an aluminum bracket and combed strip that grips the cover and pages of paperback books (“It’s new and it’s original, ” enthused design guru Ron Arad). www.modestudio.co.uk
1–FROU FROU The traditional raffia parasol inspired Davy Grosemans to design a parasol of his own – one whose polypropylene “raffia” dances in the wind and makes a soft rustling sound. Available in white, black and green, Frou Frou was created for Sywaya, a new brand from Belgium-based Symo, which has been manufacturing special umbrellas and parasols for 75 years. www.symo.be
This Italian collection of objects (vases, flower boxes and more) was “designed to exploit the best of production and materials technologies (PE resin, light and resistant).” And to look cool, as well – as evident by Giullo Iacchetti’s oversized Cubalibre (over three feet tall) and Cactus (over four feet tall), both available in bold colours. www.euro3plast.com
3–BRIDGE Christian Biecher designed the Bridge armchair for Maison Drucker, the French company that has been making chairs and furniture of cane bar – with Rilsan weavings in various motifs – since 1885 (you’ll find them in many a Paris caf). With a frame of steel tube, Bridge can be made to order in any of Maison Drucker’s 30 shades. www.drucker.fr
Danny Venlet designed this weatherproof outdoor waterbed – made of foam and polyester – for the Fresh Design series of Austria’s Viteo Outdoors. The top layer and extra-soft cushions are available in outdoor skai and other Viteo textiles. www.viteo.at