At numerous times over the past couple of years I have had a 'I want to go to Maison Objet' conversation with a couple of different friends. Maison Objet is a huge trade show in Paris, showcasing interiors and design products from all over the world, and somehow it all felt a little daunting so I never quite got there. Then at the end of last year my friend Alys & I gave ourselves a talking to and decided to just bloody well go. So we did!
I am not quite sure what my expectations were prior to visiting, but it is safe to say they were exceeded. The scale of the show is hard to fathom, 8 halls, and each hall is really blooming huge!
There really was something for all tastes. From the spectrum of modern rustic through to uber contemporary before hurtling head on into full-on-blingy-luxe. It was great to see British design represented by the likes of Case Furniture, Ercol & SCP. Along with more artisan companies such as Eleanor Pritchard and Row Pinto.
The visual overload needed some getting used to, but we took breaks at the standard overpriced trade show cafes and gathered ourselves before we would take on the next hall.
In terms of what I gained from the trip, I feel like I left my own little goldfish bowl for a couple of days for a swim in the ocean. I have returned to my bowl with a more questioning attitude - is my current direction the right one? What could I do differently? And also an intention to buy a couple of lines that I saw there which I feel would add to the WM offering.
Going with a buddy in the business made it an all round more interesting experience. Alys is a furniture designer so she has a completely different take on the products we saw. She has a really good understanding of how things are constructed and the design industry, also met in the early days of WM, so she also has a really good understanding of the DNA of my colourful little business too. I literally ended up taking notes as we walked and talked and talked and walked. My brain is only just settling down to filtering through all the possibilities we discussed.
Logistically it was all really easy, we stayed in a super cheap hotel that obviously kept its rates down by having the shower not in the bathroom - good job neither Alys or I are shy. The exhibition hall is very close to the airport - we are south coast girls so easier to fly than go by Eurostar. And with a bit of advance research we managed not to get lost. We got slightly fleeced by a taxi driver, but it was dark, raining AND OUR FEET REALLY HURT, so not sure how we could have avoided that.
So if you have wanted to go and like me had just tip-toed round the idea, please just find a buddy and go!