France’s strained social climate had everyone fearing the worst. But Maison&Object, which has been constantly reinventing itself for the past 25 years, managed to retain its magnetic attraction. Marking the event’s quarter century, this particular edition of the international trade fair for the decoration, design and lifestyle sector, which ran from January 17th to 21st at the Villepinte Exhibition Centre in Paris, demonstrated outstanding resilience, recording only a slight decrease in the number of attendees (-3.5 percent), and an increase in the number of exhibitors (2736), which included 609 new firms. According to the organiser’s estimates, the retail transactions completed by industry professionals over the course of the 5- day event stood at almost 2 bn euros. Maison&Objet’s impact could also be seen in the indirect economic effects it had across France. The trade fair generated pre-tax revenues of 145 mn euros – including 100 mn euro for Paris and the surrounding area -, secured over 21 mn euros of VAT and raised half a million euros in tourist taxes, underscoring its ability to create value.

Generations Y and Z under the spotlight
To herald the start of the brand new decade, Maison&Objet decided to dedicate both its 25th anniversary year editions to the same inspiring topic: (RE)GENERATION! The aim? Give visitors the chance to get to grips with the consumer behaviour displayed by generations Y and Z, which is both intriguing and unsettling in equal measure. Assisted by style consultancy Nelly Rodi, the January edition explored the level of engagement these new meaning-driven consumers exhibit (with a specific itinerary flagging up eco-friendly brands having already been launched last year). The September edition, meanwhile, will turn the spotlight on how these digital natives are an augmented generation, raised on a diet of the Internet and social media. The ‘What’s New?’ exhibits staged by Elizabeth Leriche, François Bernard and François Delclaux also cleverly explored the way consumers are bringing meaning, nature and virtuous materials back into their homes – all themes close to the new generation’s heart.

This shift in consumer behaviour is something that was at the forefront of absolutely everyone’s minds. Starting with the Hotel and Restaurant trade, for whom Maison&Objet had put together a dedicated itinerary taking in everything from furnishings and tableware to cookware, lighting, textiles and fragrances, all addressing that industry’s specific needs in terms of safety standards, accessibility, solidity, etc. Something else that was new this time around was the opportunity for hoteliers, restaurateurs and interior designers to take part in over 300 business meetings with a selection of some hundred dedicated brands.

Designer of the Year: let there be light!
“Simplicity takes a lot of hard work”. That’s how Designer of the Year 2020 Michael Anastassiades, whose lighting designs were showcased at Maison&Objet, chose to present his craft. It was actually a kind of homecoming for this Cypriot designer, as it was at Maison&Objet that he first presented his eponymous brand back in 2007, after studying engineering and graduating with a Masters in Industrial Design from the Royal College of Art in London and then going on to set up his studio there in 1994.

Young Talents in the limelight
Constantly on the lookout for the global design scene’s rising stars, Maison&Objet came up trumps yet again with a carefully curated selection of six Rising Talents who, for once, all heralded from France. Hand-picked by a six-member jury, all experts in French design, Adrien Garcia, Julie Richoz, Laureline Galliot, Mathieu Peyroulet Ghilini, Natacha & Sacha and Wendy Andreu were the cream of this edition’s crop, and all showcased their creations at the event.

Staying true to its deep-seated desire to promote up-andcoming designers, Maison&Objet came up with the idea of also promoting rising Qatari talent at this particular edition, marking the start of the Qatar-France Year of Culture. That same strong belief in young design also led to the creation of a Chinese Design Award in partnership with the Chaoshang group, the inaugural edition of which was launched on December 8th 2019 in Shenzhen. On the other side of the world, Maison&Objet, Paris Design Week and NYCxDESIGN, the permanent New York platform dedicated to design, are also getting ready to organise joint exhibitions in the spring inspired by the trade fair’s Rising Talents.

The next edition of Maison&Objetwill be held from September 4th to 8th 2020, and PARIS DESIGN WEEK from September 3rd to 12th 2020. The September edition will see the return of two key themes, which have now been officially granted fully-fledged spaces within the trade fair’s “MAISON” hub: WORK! and PROJECTS. The former will see Maison&Objet continue to observe the changes in today’s workspaces that are triggering a need for new cross-functional design solutions accommodating new combinations: Well-being & well-working, community & privacy, experience & performance, workspaces & living spaces. It will showcase a culture of hybridization to which Maison&Objet holds up a mirror as the sector’s unrivalled specialist. WORK!, a kind of trade fair within the trade fair, will not only boast its very own dedicated itinerary but will also feature an expert-led think tank and give everyone the opportunity to take part in business meetings to envisage tomorrow’s workspaces.

PROJECTS, meanwhile, will target interior designers, presenting the very best technical and bespoke solutions to address their every interior design need, covering hotel, service sector and residential projects. A veritable hotbed of inspiration, notably thanks to the “Archi Designer” itinerary that will give visitors the chance to conduct business meetings in a relaxed and informal setting. All these initiatives should continue to drive forward not only the trade fair’s digital influence, powered by 21 million social media impressions, but also its traditional media coverage, with over 9 million readers and listeners. And awaiting September, Maison&Objet will continue to bring industry players together via its digital platform, MOM (MAISON&OBJET and MORE), which now boasts over 175,000 members, generating 2.5 mn unique visits per year alongside the 2 annual trade fairs.