Je ne sais quois
Once again, the City of Light will come alive amidst the grey Paris sky this January when the world’s most cutting-edge designers gather to celebrate French and global design at the Maison + Objet trade show. This year, the show will feature the theme ‘Excuse my French’, conjuring the notion of ambiguity surrounding French style, and will honour German designer Sebastian Herkner with the highest accolade: Designer of the Year 2019.
“There’s a renewed curiosity about the French abroad, a sort of fascination at the moment,” says Vincent Grégoire from Parisian trend forecasting firm NelliRodi. For him, the movement is linked to globalisation. “In a world where things are becoming standardised, people are looking for something different,” he continues.
All of these threads will be brought together at the show’s Trend Forum, where visitors will find a selection of products embodying the new French scene – including some impertinent décor inspired by The Palace of Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors. The nuanced spin will include a small truck parked in the middle with items juxtaposed against the classic setting.
“There will be disruptive, dissonant elements and a spirit of contradiction,” promises Grégoire. “They’re an integral part of that je ne sais quoi.”
And given the show’s theme, Sebastian Herkner is a worthy choice for Designer of the Year.
With no less than 21 projects in the works with international design houses, including Moroso, Dedon, Thonet and Lintello, he has received some 30 awards over the least decade in recognition of his innovative yet traditional work.
“It’s absolutely vital we revive all these traditional forms of craftsmanship before they get lost forever, as they’re an integral part of our cultural heritage,” says Herkner. “Different cultures, skills and lifestyles all fuel my inspiration,” he explains.
Known for his dedication to using colour and diverse materials, it was actually his internship with Stella McCartney that led to his fascination with and skill for combining hues. “Colour is often the very last thing designers think about. For me, it’s always the starting point for the whole design process.”
Stellar pendant light by Sebastian Herkner
‘ Excuse My French’
table for Edition van Treeck by Sebastian Herkner