Maison et Objet, Paris January 2013: a handy guide

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MAISON ET OBJET, January 2013
A handy guide to good lighting stands, courtesy of Cameron Peters Fine Lighting
This guide is handier as a PDF (click on M&O 01 13 handy guide), with the info split so that each hall starts on a separate page. This means that you only have to have out the pages for the hall that you are in. There are also PDF indices, by hall (M&O 01 13 handy guide summary by hall) and alphabetically (M&O 01 13 handy guide alphabetical summary).
There are formal activities in Paris itself from the 17th to the 22nd January (so almost the same dates as Maison & Objet at Villepinte). Seventy showrooms are open for the event and there is a shuttle bus connecting them. The vast majority are either:
– along the rue du Mail (approximately between the Bourse and the Palais Royal), or 
– on and around the rue de Furstenberg in Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
The only lighting company showing is Porta Romana: otherwise, the emphasis is on fabrics. However, not formally part of PARIS DECO... OFF, but exhibiting in their own showrooms, as well as at Maison et Objet, is....
Pouenat Ferronnier 22bis Passage Dauphine 75006
One of the most exciting, varied – and courageous – sources of furniture and lighting, this long-established fine metal working company is creating collections with leading young designers that include India Mahdavi, Nicolas Aubagnac, Damien Langlois-Meurinne, François Champsaur and Michel Jounannet. This year they are celebrating the tenth year of this initiative. 
Their showrooms are open from 18th January to 22nd  January (i.e. the same dates as Maison & Objet), from eleven o’clock until seven o’clock. Who wouldn’t want an excuse to visit this corner of Paris for a few hours! But if you don’t have time, don’t worry – they are also showing at Maison et Objet, hall 7, stand C121.
Also whilst in Paris (rather than out at Villepinte):
– the best lighting department in any department store anywhere (though its quality goes up and down a bit) is at Le Bon Marché (
– the best retail lighting shop anywhere (except that it has far too little space) is Novaluce at 172, rue du Faubourg St Honoré, 75008 ( )
– the best area anywhere for vintage lights and chandeliers is in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, approximately within the square marked out by the rue des Saints-Pères, the rue de l’Université, the rue du Bac and the rue de Lille (you can visit Pouenat at the same time!)
– see what Hervé van der Straeten is up to, at 11 rue Ferdinand Duval 75004
– visit the truly amazing shop cum museum (chandeliers under water, huge talking vases...) that Philippe Starck created for Baccarat at 11, place des Etats-Unis
– visit the Paris gallery of the Carpenters Workshop Gallery  ( 54, rue de la Verrerie, 75004. In 2012, they showed some of the most exciting lighting – see the posts in Fine Lighting News. On the 19th January, their new show will be opening of Atelier Van Lieshout’s recent and early collaborations with the gallery. We don’t think that it includes any lights! But go anyway.
If you’ve got the time, do not just whizz past the Craft section in Hall 4 (on the side by Hall 5A). We have been enchanted in previous years by the creations of Atelier Volubile (stand B5), for example. 
Also in this section is:
Benoît Vieubled B13 
...with his charming, playful, airy, wire creations. Maybe his globe chandelier (Monde à l’Endroit, Monde à l’Envers) will also there. He works with Art & Floritude, upon whose stand (Hall 7 Stand B21) works of his may also appear – 
In the main area of Hall 4:
Gianni Seguso F66
It is essential that you visit this stand!!! You will see some of the very finest Murano glass chandeliers – and that means some of the very finest craftsmanship of any kind in the entire world.  Such ateliers do not have catalogues &c. so we ask you to take the opportunity to see what they can do when you get the chance. If you are interested in a piece from them, come to Venice to discuss it. The commissioning should be as fascinating as the ownership will be fulfilling. See also their excellent new web site that went live on Wednesday.
Siru H92/I91
This company, based on the Lido, has a very interesting specialization. They do the Venetian lanterns that are made by blowing glass into a wire cage. Besides many interior uses, they also provide a way of having Venetian glass lights out-of doors. Since you usually can’t see the lamp, they also provide lanterns which will still look good after the politicians have banned incandescent lamps!
And, not lights at all, but wonderful:
Kiade F29 
Kiade make the most stunningly detailed and accurate models of classic Riva motor boats and the great historic racing motor boats. We’ve learnt that when people think of Cameron Peters, they think of lights, so it is pointless our offering anything else. But if anyone is interested on our sourcing these wonderful creations, do let us know. They are as much about the finest design and craftsmanship as are our best light makers. Maybe you are doing a boy’s room or a study....
Casadisagne G9
We know that most specifiers and buyers prefer to use Chinese-made lights in hotels. There are all sorts of reasons why this is surprising. Casadisagne is one of many good European producers (the factory is in Provence) that compete on price but which can also offer all the advantages of European quality, plus local, smaller run, shorter lead-time, more flexible production, by staff who are properly paid and looked after.
Filomèle P44
We have never worked with Filomèle, but we love the light, delicate, wispy sculptural pieces that they make. 
Mathieu Challières O44
It is no secret that Cameron Peters seeks out designers with a unique vision, and Mathieu Challières is a great example. Note the playfulness (e.g. his Petit Air de Campagne collection with birds and apples), and his use of colour (Les Diabolos – the answer when someone wants a “cheap” chandelier – these are not expensive, but they are real designs in their own right, that enchant grown-ups and children alike) and of white (see his series of large white plaster pieces).
Thierry Vidé Design P43
Another case where it is essential to see what they do for real (not just in pictures)  and what happens when you walk around what they have created.  The material is pierced metal sheet that can be coloured and which, when used in layers, creates magical kinetic effects. Thierry and his sons, Jean-Sébastien and Félicien, use it to make the normal-sized lights that will be on their stand, but they can also create the most exciting, vast pieces (lights or sculptures) for large interiors or for exterior use. No-one else can design such large site-specific pieces that do not block out light, and which seem so weightless as to float.
You will primarily know this Loire valley-based family company for their traditional, bucolic designs of painted leaves and fruits (making chandeliers and wall lights based on olive branches, for instance), and beautiful small porcelain flowers. But at each fair they also show more contemporary designs in metal and porcelain. They are particularly strong in large custom pieces, working with India Mahdavi at the Connaught, for example.
The good news is that Baccarat now have a section of their web site dedicated to their lighting! If you have never been, do visit if you can their museum and showroom on the Place des Etats-Unis,  created for them by Philippe Starck; one of the most extraordinary interiors anywhere, it is certainly vaut le detour! However, they also exhibit at the January Maison & Objet where additions to their chandelier families can be seen, as well as smaller items like table lights.
CTO are well-known to UK-based specifiers, of course. But that is specifically why the chance should be taken to update oneself with what they are doing. For example, interior designers in London like lampshades, so they do a lot of these. But they are regularly introducing new designs. After recent 60s- and 70s-influenced designs, this year some are loosely based on early 20th century designs – Orb and Mezzo, for example – and there is the light-as-air pendant, Bell.
Day Glow D138
A very good source for lampshades, either bespoke, or on the simple bases that you will see here. Like (most of) our suppliers, a nice person – we think it morally responsible to give our business to nice, sensible, fair people, plus, if there are problems, they will easier to deal with!
Fortuny/Venetia Studium C129/D130
Best known for the magical hand-painted silk creations of Fortuny, they are also now exploring other designs by him that are more functional than decorative. The results are wonderfully sculptural pieces. The detailing and quality of production are amazing, so don’t waste the opportunity to see them (e.g. the Studio 1907 tripod floor light) up close and personal. 
It is always interesting when such an illustrious, long-established brand enters the Wonderful World of Lighting. Expect to see quite simple designs with porcelain shades. Sometimes the metal seems more prominent than the porcelain. They seem to be underplaying their hand a bit, but let’s see what is on the stand.
Another delightful, playful French collection with small birds on wires, &c. You may find lights that have intrigued you in magazines, but you didn’t know who made them. Well, it was Patrice Gruffaz, who created Lieux.
Mat & Jewski D78
Hervé’s creativity is also unique, and bold, so this is a stand that always surprises (usually in a good way!). But our favourite works of his may be amongst his earliest – the fantastic feather pieces. His new introductions are a bit different, and difficult to summarize (which is why you should go and see them!). Look out for the Diamant and Cristal pendant lights, and the Mini-tube table lights.
MEE srl Murano 041 C160
Mee Murano 041 is the real deal: people of Murano, who have come together on Murano, to create a firm responsible for some of the most extreme experiments in Venetian glass. Their designers include Aristide Najean ( ) who has been working with glass on Murano since 1986 and who has created inter alia for MEE the amazing Niagara – a frozen waterfall in glass.  Not to mention the writhing, snake-like Rovere Bosco – explosions of black glass with gold and red.
Melograno Blu D111/E112
The Cameron Peters team have loved the work of Massimo and Ermanno since the day we opened. The fabulous Opera range has now been joined by the Hydra range. Whereas the former have lamps inside them, the latter are lit from above. This allows a delicious effect of water running down a coloured thread (plus their use in damp areas). Their stands are always amazing!
Objet Insolite E27
Dark bronze structures with cream (or other single colour) shades, this collection, though very French and frequently specified for hotels and restaurants, is particularly well suited to cottages and barn conversions. See the unique decorative outdoor lights.
Ochre C105/D106
Like CTO, well known to UK-based specifiers yet still worth a close look, partly to catch up with their new items, but also to appreciate the range of materials, sympathetically used.  
Pouenat C121
Pouenat have this stand as well as the their showroom in Saint-Germain-des Prés. See my comments about them at the head of this handy guide.
Saint-Louis F33/G34
Saint-Louis is one of the greatest names in French crystal. Their catalogue collection of chandeliers is not huge, but it is diverse, so this is an important opportunity to see what they do, and also to discuss custom pieces.
Tekna (Nautic, Flat and the Caret lamp) B143 
Yes, there are three things to see that come under the Tekna umbrella. 
Nautic (which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year) is our key source for lanterns and other lights with a nautical/seaside feel about them. Actually, that does not fully explain their distinctive range, so do go and look at it.
Flat is an innovative range of trimless downlighters. You can imagine trimless, but not the remarkable, shadowless light that they cast, thanks to the baffle and the diffusers used. So you have to go see. Then you will understand why – should you ever have to use a downlighter –  you should specify it from this range.
The Caret Squirrel Cage lamp may be the most important object in all of Maison et Objet. You can usually see the lamp in lanterns. Traditionally, therefore, lamps that are attractive to look at have been used. For Nautic, this has meant the incandescent squirrel cages. Politicians are going to ban squirrel cages. What to do? Erik spent four years researching an alternative. It is now available as the Caret Squirrel Cage lamp that replaces the wire in an incandescent lamp with loops of cold cathode tube. The light it casts is wonderfully warm. It will be the saviour of all existing, and future, lanterns. That is why it is so important. Because, if you don’t use these, what are you going to use?
Terzani E121
Terzani are riding the wave that is the trend for chandeliers made from chain. Make sure that you check up on their progress in this area, but this is not all that they do. Let’s hope that they are showing the fabulous gold version of the Mizu glass pendant!
A fine collection, very well-known. But, as we’ve pointed out elsewhere, it is when you think you know a collection that you should take the opportunity to see it. There may be recent introductions of which you are unaware.
& Tradition B1/C2
&Tradition supplies classic Scandinavian designs by people like Arne Jacobsen and Verner Panton, but also by interesting current designers like Victor Vetterlein. The result is an eclectic, high calibre collection that should not be missed.
Anglepoise C47
Anglepoise is currently celebrating the 75th anniversary of the original 1227. We are so pleased that they have been able to bring this design back – the “anglepoise” – with its art deco base. See also the variation on this design – the Duo Table Lamp. There are also a Duo floor light and a Duo applique.
Anthologie Quartett D93
Nobody is more committed to design than Rainer and Michael! From a beautiful moated castle in Germany, they bravely put into production the most exciting, sometimes extreme, most diverse range of products. Visit the stand to see the collection, because it is very difficult to convey the variety and quality just using catalogues. Their lighting (only a part of their total collection) ranges from the umbrellas of the Flying Robert to one of the best-known, and most copied, chandelier designs in history: Cellula.
Artek C34
This famous Finnish interiors company is of particular importance to lighting fans because of the classic  Alvar Aalto designs in their collection. But they also have lights by Tapio Wirkkala and Jørn Utzon, amongst others.
Blackbody A39/B40 
The first person to use a new lighting technology is always Ingo Maurer, so he did the first OLED light (the Early Future table light). But the first company to base its entire business on OLEDs is Blackbody. It is an essential stand to visit, therefore, if you want to see how OLEDs can be used in decorative lighting, what the light that they cast is like, and how much they cost.... We like Aldo Cibic’s Blossoms. And Rain.
Rob and his wife invented the idea of the outsize illuminated flower pot that can be used for flowers, or trees, or Christmas trees, or packed with ice and filled with lager... But see also their small outdoor portable lights, and Ornametrica, their mathematical, expanding indoor chandelier.
Brokis A99/B100
We have not yet worked with the Czech company Brokis but we, like others, have been impressed over the last couple of years by the internet coverage of some strong designs – particularly the ubiquitous Muffin, designed for them by Dan Yeffet and Lucie Koldova. They will be showing new designs by this pair at the fair. Being Czech, it is not surprising that their main material is glass (what better to make lights out of, after all?!) which they frequently team with untreated wood.
Céline Wright C43
No-one makes lighter pieces than Céline Wright: floating shapes – large and small – from paper, often suspended from the most delicate structures, that may be complemented by the use of a pebble to provide weight. This year she is showing her new Arabesque collection, that look a bit like the outline of a whirling Dervish!
Concrete by LCDA D78
Concrete by LCDA have just one light in their new collection – a really good one by Matali Crasset that recalls the vast “sound mirrors” that were put up around the eat coast of England to amplify the sound of approaching war planes. It has been all over the internet so we were delighted to find them at the Kortrijk fair, allowing us to see it for ourselves – and to meet the team. The firm was set up recently by three young guys who want to create finely crafted pieces using concrete.
Delightfull E99
Delightfull, linked to the Portuguese furniture company Boca Do Lobo, has been popping up at shows in London and elsewhere. It is always a pleasure to find them, because the collection is of intelligent, well-made, fun 1950s-influenced designs. There is a panache, an enthusiasm about them  which is infectious. The theme is jazz, which extends to the soundtrack on their blog – the best in the business. Oh, and look out for their new Graphic Lamp collection!
Dix Heures Dix D11/E12
The best source of large, fabric freestanding lights, of course, but do visit their stand to remind yourself of the other things that they do, and that you may not expect from them – for example, the Koon chandelier and the Infini floor light.
Forestier A1/B2
A very varied collection of strong designs from this French maker by designers of the calibre of Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance, Ionna Vautrin and Neil Poulton. Amongst the introductions at this fair will be the attractive Antenna table light and pendant by Arik Levy.
Goodbye Edison B89
A new collection of high quality LED lights, launched at M&O a couple of years ago. Their Frame is a neat, simple idea: a table light shaped like a frame, with LEDs at the back that would illuminate any picture on the wall behind it, and which would be visible through the frame (though the effective angle of vision is probably as restricted as it is for 3D TV!). The rest of the collection continues in this language of minimal forms holding (and made possible by) LEDs. At this fair, they will be showing their new GBYE light.
Gubi D115/E116
Aah, Gubi, wonderful Gubi, who have become one of the most important players in the current trend (long may it continue!) of re-editing great designs from the 20th Century. If you missed them at designjunction during London Design Week, this is your chance to see the return of the brass finish for the Bestlites, teamed with new shade colours – redolent of the coast (IMHO!) .
Innermost B7
A collection that needs little introduction, comprising work by various designers, using innovative materials in interesting ways – there is no such thing as a “typical” Innermost product! They will be launching Glaze, by Corinna Warm. It appears to fuse metal (a warm copper) and (an ivory) ceramic together seamlessly. We can’t wait – there are still too few copper lights! 
Vienna-based Kalmar is one of the great names in lighting. They have been around for 130 years and have had the great idea to raid their archives to create a family of authentic 20th century designs, which they  have branded Kalmar Werkstätten, and which they will be showing here on a beautiful panelled stand. The workmanship is of the highest standard – an essential stand to see! 
Lampes Gras A7/B8
DCW Enterprises have been responsible for arguably the most important re-edition of a classic task light, the French La Lampe Gras from the 1920s. Seduced by its modernity and its practicality, it was used by legendary characters who were amongst those most responsible for the aesthetic of the 20th century – Le Corbusier, Robert Mallet-Stevens, Eileen Gray, George Braque... It is beautifully made, in a variety of typologies (table, wall, floor). It is one the few lights that is so important that there is a monograph dedicated to it! See the new colours and structures – wall lights with an extra long reach, for example.  
Lasvit A99/B100, F27/G28
One of the companies to emerge from the post-communist Czech glass industry, and the one making the biggest splash at various trade shows, with their large and interesting custom pieces. On the other hand, sometimes they don’t make a splash at all, having maybe one light on a Czech stand. The organizers are listing them at two separate stand addresses, so maybe they will be doing both at this fair! Note that they have a catalogue of standard items, like the neat little Glitters family. And “Lighting Sculptures” like Olgoj Chorchoj’s Lipka Tree and Growing Vases by the Japanese designer, Nendo.
Le Deun Luminaires D20
Jean-Luc has been working with LEDs since 1997 – i.e. longer than almost anyone in decorative lighting – and the journey has thrown up some fascinating designs along the way. His current collection is based on simple geometric shapes – circles, squares, cubes – with LEDs around their insides. Very practical, very strong, very minimal.
Moustache B23
Not essential, really, because there are very few lights in their collections, but they do jolly things, starting with their home page. The interest for lighting fans is the Vapeur family, designed for them by Inga Sempé – generous, informal, chef’s hat shapes. They will be launching their new collection from her and Ionna Vautrin (who, besides designing for Forestier – see above – has done some major pieces for Foscarini) amongst others.
Muuto C1/D2
A Danish company with a lighting collection that displays the classic strengths of Scandinavian design: strong simple forms that make the most of the nature of the materials from which they are made, e.g. wood (Wood Lamp), felt (Under The Bell), glass and E27 – a base you can put your choice of E27 lamp into....
Neweba Cbis122
Neweba are the European distributors for Ango with whom they usually share a stand. This time the focus is solely on Neweba’s eclectic collection of distinctive lights. We should see the new Seventies pendants  by Peter Kos.
PCM Design C7
We had not heard of PCM until we were going through the list of exhibitors showing lights at this fair. We have included them because of their mission. Founded in Spain in 2011 by the architect Paloma Cañizares, they are “...trying to search product from very talented and young designers coming from the best design schools.” Production is rooted in local materials and skills. So what’s not to like? Well, possibly the designs themselves. But from what is shown on their web site – e.g. the Terracota pendant and table light by Tomas Kral – there should be no problem on this score!
Secto A15/B16
A wonderful collection of lights that work in so many different environments. With any luck, we will see the new Aspiro pendant. Using his signature pressed birch, he has created free-falling spirals. It is due to be launched at the Stockholm Light Fair next month, but it was shown at Helsinki’s Habitare fair last September, so maybe, just maybe.... 
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Best desk light at designjunction 21012? Finnieston from Channels or the brass Bestlite?

bestlite bl2_brass desk light 560 or

Channels Finnieston floor light reading light table light task light desk light

Yes, two new desk lights, both in "traditional" materials -- brass and wood, both from very good companies. Which is the best? We can't decide. You've still got a couple of days to pop along to designjunction and make up your own mind. (It's a great show, so allow plenty of time!)

brass structure bestlite 560

The brass desk light is part of the new collection of Bestlites that have a brass structure. Not all the Bestlites are available in brass and only certain shades are available with certain structures -- i.e. you can't have just any shade with any structure. The original choices of chrome/black, chrome/off-white and chrome/matt white are now supplemented by brass/brass, brass/grey and brass/matt white.

The floor light also gets its original, larger, Ø21cm shade.

All in all they are really handsome, the warmth and traditional feeling of the brass complementing the cool, seaside/mountain peek white and grey shades.

Jacob Gubi of the Danish company Gubi (that is now responsible for Bestlites) says, "although Bestlite has not been available in brass for many years, the brass finish is entirely gives the collection a new, softer, more contemporary feel and allows us to renew the collection whilst respecting its heritage."

Channels wood Finnieston floor light desk light reading light task light 8997

The lights above are from the wood furniture specialists, Channels. For the last year or so, a distinct trend has been lights, usually task lights, made using wood (though not many are actually in production). The Finnieston is different in two ways:

  1. the wood is properly finished, creating a much more satisfying feel  (usually a pale wood, unvarnished,  is used)
  2. the light is all wood, including the shade! This is made possible by the coolness of the LED lamp.

Best of all, it is a very pleasing light -- actually, two lights, because, besides the table/desk light (H780mm), there is the floor/reading light (H1,520mm). Both are, of course, task lights!

They are part of a new collection called Finnieston that also includes a bookcase, a tripod table and a tallboy:

Channels Finnieston collection

They are the brainchildren of Samuel Chan, who set up his own company, Channels, in 1995 with the well-known studio/showroom in Chelsea and a furniture workshop in Shropshire.

Channels photos by Philip Vile.

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All you need to know about the Bestlite, in HD, in three minutes...and TTFN!

Gubi Bestlite BL1_black Gubi's current catalogue is called Design Icons Through Time. It truly is "a celebration of design", containing as it does so many genuinely significant lights from the 20th century. That means fantastic designs -- the classic being the cream of the crop when assessed over time. (You can download it here.)

It also puts them at the centre of the most exciting trend in lighting at the moment. They have joined great names like VeniniFontanaArte, Nemo Cassina, Tecnolumen and Woka in making available the finest designs, by the finest designers, from the past.

Their most iconic light is the Bestlite. There is so much to be said about it, but somehow they have managed to encapsulate everything in a film that lasts just over three  minutes.

So I'll just shut up while you watch it....

See what I mean? Not only have you learnt about the Bestlite but you have also had a lesson in the range and depth of what to look for in a classic design.

Fine Lighting News is now off for its summer hols. We may put up the odd post while we are away, but their normal frequency will be resumed on the 10th September.

Even Holly, the Company Dog, is impatient to get away, au pied levé...

Holly the Company Dog raring


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