Ooh La La! Our Art Director's Picks From Parisian Design Fair Maison & Objet

For the most part, the reality of working at a media organisation like The Design Files is pretty unglamorous. It generally involves a lot of emailing, multiple deadlines a day, and never really having an ‘off’ switch. But sometimes, PARIS CALLS! (Okay, just this one time so far).

Such was the case a few weeks ago when our art director Annie Portelli was invited to MAISON&OBJET – a major home decor, interior design, architecture, and lifestyle event, where all the upcoming trends are seen for the very first time. And when Paris calls, you say BONJOUR!

After a whirlwind five days in Paris, Annie shares with us the brands she can’t stop thinking about from MAISON&OBJET 2019.

Annie Portelli
Annie Portelli
31st of January 2019

My recent trip to MAISON&OBJET can’t possibly be summarised in one word – but if I had to say it in a few? Impressive, surprising…. and slightly daunting!

Impressive for the diverse array of designers who have one thing in common – their design is new. Like, really new! There wasn’t one moment I thought, ‘that’s like that thing from…’ Everything was fresh and unique.

Surprising for the range and calibre of exhibiting designers.  At one stall you would find someone who still worked out of their spare-room-studio, positioned right alongside a BIG designer with an entire empire to their name!

Slightly daunting due to the scale of this mammoth fair, which I honestly didn’t prepare myself for. With 2,910 brands (!!) presenting their latest and greatest to almost 85,000 people making their way through eight halls was a mildly terrifying (but welcomed) challenge! When GoogleMaps pictures the INSIDE of a building, you know it’s BIG.

Needless to say, I got lost. I got tired. But mostly, I was really inspired.

C-C Tapis

I’ve seen this brand circulate the Australian magazines and blogs before (they’re stocked at Loom Rugs) but seeing them in real life totally blew my socks off. To me, these rugs are not made for the floor, but seem more like art pieces to hang on the wall. The texture and detail in each of the designs is incredible! And don’t even get me started on the colour palette! Oh boy… what a dream.

The brand prides itself on being ‘born in France, designed in Milan and handmade in Nepal’. The collection on display is their strongest yet! They’re definitely on my wishlist for my future home… one day!

More here!

Tom Dixon

Tom Dixon is no stranger to Australians (he’s stocked all over the place), but his new marble collection sure was news to me! I approached the generous and well-lit stall in a mesmerized state, drawn to a rotating turntable which stacked with these beautiful marble objects.

Swirl is a series of geometric forms stacked upon one another to create multidimensional, functional sculptures. A family of candleholders, bookends and vases, each with their own distinct silhouette, colouration, and personality.

More here!


I am a longtime lover of this brand! I have my very own LRNCE rug in my home, as well as a new ceramic addition which Lucy got me for Christmas (thanks Lucy!). This would have to be my favourite homewares brand ever (big call, but true fact).

This was the one and only stall which I specifically staked out. LRNCE is a Marrakesh-based lifestyle brand which delves into the world of interior decoration and accessories. I was lucky enough to meet the extremely talented and fully devoted founder, Laurence Leenaert, at Maison&Objet! She told me that she hand paints each and every one of her ceramics before they make their way around the world. A true artist!

More here!


When I built up the courage to approach this HUGE stall, I felt the visual fatigue start to creep in – until I was greeted by two friendly smiles and a suede-covered USB stick (fancy), containing the entire collection and all of its information. It’s like they were reading my mind! One particular collection caught my eye – the ‘Giobagnara x Stephane Parmentier’ range. It’s equally timeless and gorgeous!

The collection was filled with tubular pieces and geometric forms which almost seemed 2D from the front, but contained so much depth upon further inspection, in a palette inspired by the Italian Countryside.

More here! 


As an Australian working for an Australian Design Blog, most of the brands at this international design fair were totally new (on so many levels) to me!

I came across so many objects which I couldn’t even  visualise having in my home, but despite this, I still had a great urge to own them!

I did a triple-take when walking past the HAOS stall in hall 6. It was kind of tucked away right at the edge of a group, but something about those pew-like chairs had me curious. I learned that this brand is designed by a French couple who love to embrace raw materials and solid forms – I love their entire collection!

More here!

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Paola Paronetto

I came across this store by chance while I was (trying) to make my way back to home base after being lost for 40 mins! Like a familiar face in a crowd, I spotted a grand display of these folded paper-like vases for afar. THE very vases I have only ever re-pinned on Pinterest or saved to my desktop!

Needless to say – I was starstruck. The beautiful thing about Paola Paronetto is that she sees ceramics not only as a medium but also as an art form. True to her word, this most recent collection is made of paper clay, a blend of paper pulp, natural fibres and clay which result in a unique texture with a delicate tactile quality. I think she is a master of colour!

More here!

Craft Gallery x Milk Collective

This collection of handmade objects weren’t so much part of a single ‘stall’ but more a series of ‘shop windows’ which were set up at the entrance of hall 6. Three clear boxes (each about 1m square) sat side by side, each showcasing their own theme, pulled together by Milk Decoration. Box 1: ‘Beauty In The Rough’, Box 2: ‘ Shapes and Colours’ and Box 3: ‘A Touch Of Paint’.

Within each of these boxes were a curated selection of handmade objects. Some which were only seen here at this display, and some which could be further explored out in the fair. I walked past these every day and each time could not resist taking more photos – just in case I missed something!

More here!


MOYA by Anastasiya Koshcheeva is a clever and conscious brand which created products from natural birch bark! Just ONE of the many beauties in this, is that bark it’s made from grows back!

Once peeled from the tree, it takes only one year for the bark to grow back in time for the next harvest to occur meaning the tree still stands, unharmed AND can still live out the rest of its natural life. Anastasiya’s furniture is not only functional and considered but they’re really cool too! I would definitely have one of these in my house.

More here!


The first thing that drew me into this stall was a tall stack of elephant-like clay pots, stacked one on top of the other in terracotta and rich black  (the natural colours of the clay). They seemed to have a true sense of tradition in the way they held themselves – strong, handmade in the sense that they were a little wobbly around the edges but proud and strong.

Soon after I noticed some incredible throws and pillows with a texture that you couldn’t help but reach out to touch! Ames creations are all manufactured in Colombia (wow). The ‘Ames Sala’ collection was in collaboration with Designer Of The Year – Sebastian Herkne

More here! 


This kind-of-wrong but kind-of-right vase really threw me when I first saw it. I couldn’t work out whether I liked it or not, but the verdict is in – I LOVE it!

This particular vase it called ‘Allpa’ and is designed by Jean-Baptiste Fastrez (it comes in a range of colours, all with different names). The intended purpose of this curious design is that each model appears to function more like a ‘bouquet’ of flowers once all cavities are filled. This is made possible by the seven-in-one vase structure which is ready to hold any extravagant flower composition! As its voluptuous figure may suggest, Allpa is the goddess of fertility according to Greek mythology, often depicted with multiple breasts and a curvaceous figure. Take that for inspo!

More here!

All images supplied by brands. 

Annie travelled to Paris as a guest of Maison & Objet.

Recent Ceramics