Feathering your nest is the big theme to take away from Maison et Objet, the huge international five-day interiors show in Paris, where Oxfordshire-based James Perkins shaped great clusters of ostrich plumes, in a choice of 14 brash brights or subtle neutrals, into shades for outré standard lamps or chandeliers.
Perkins, a music business veteran and restorer of historic houses, bought Aynhoe Park country house for its intact 1800 Sir John Soane interior, flamboyantly renovated it for venue hire, and now exotic furnishings are being made in workshops on the estate under Perkins’s label of A Modern Grand Tour.
Over from Shoreditch, Sheridan Coakley, founder/director of design store SCP, brought new upholstery crafted in his Norfolk workshops.
Coakley has nurtured fresh talent since the Eighties.
Now with their own showrooms, these inspired people produce fine pieces for the home, including new seating and a coffee table by Matthew Hilton, and the Penguin Huddle book clamp by Jasper Morrison. This portable, über-slim shelf expands storage from 18 to 27 volumes.
Newer to SCP’s stable and both UK-based are French designer Philippe Malouin, with a chic velvet tub chair, and Reiko Kaneko, who shapes tubular steel into a striking chair.
PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES
British designers are pushing the boundaries of aesthetics, technology, craft and materials.
Paul Newman of Case Furniture in SW18 has an ambitious new edit of sparkling talent, elevating bread boards by Gareth Neal, cork boxes by David Irwin, three-legged stools by Terence Woodgate and “self-watering” plant pots by Ann Kristin Einarsen into fine objects.
From Object Studio, near Walthamstow, the long, low, silky black Nodum desk in ebonised ash has a sinuous twisting base that defies all laws of woodworking. It is carved in 43 components with traditional joints.
Woolwich furniture designer maker Sebastian Cox is using fungus to “grow” wood waste into a compact light new material, while also perfecting his trademark wood-weaving techniques.
For fabrics and wallpapers, digital prints from small studios such as Susi Bellamy and Helen Wilson to larger outfits such as House of Hackney have varied motifs, from silky marbled blotches to subverted bouquets, or Gothic noir.
ANCIENT AND MODERN CRAFTS
From the looms of UK craft weavers Tori Murphy and Eleanor Pritchard come elegant, modernist cloths for the connoisseur in textured plains and geometrics.
Michèle Oberdieck’s sublime glass vessels are wreathed in merging coils of colour.
London’s Sebastian Conran was enlisted by 14 makers from the Gifu region of Japan to bring their ancient craft skills to a Western market.
Resulting products include finger-jointed furniture, super-sharp knives with textured blades and ergonomic handles, ceramics pooled in a glossy blue glaze, and lamps fashioned from paper with a 1,000-year pedigree.
THE SWAN CHAIR HAS LANDED IN LONDON
Star turn at Maison et Objet was this ethereal white chair on a silvery pedestal, encircled by a cluster of swans with arching necks, bright yellow beaks and those distinctive black-framed eyes.
You sit in a feathered nest, as though surrounded by some fluttering corps de ballet.
Created by Alexis Verstraeten and Pauline Montironi of Belgium’s AP Collection, it is available in London exclusively at The Wedding Gallery in Marylebone Road, NW1, priced £6,000.
The shop, in the vaults of a converted church, has been called “the world’s first wedding department store”.