Maison et Objet | Design For Living: Tom Dixon, Abate Zanetti and Slated
Craft London, interior design by Tom Dixon.
One of the big takeaways from Maison et Objet is the single word descriptor floating around the event: “wild.’ Wild is a good adjective to describe the surprising mix of traditional fare and innovative design on hand in the more than eight vast exhibition halls in Villepinte, just outside of Paris. Hall 7 plays host to the theme “Design à Vivre,” and true to its designation, its here that living spaces are stunningly reimagined, whether it be via Tom Dixon’s oversized chairs and couches to Abate Zanetti’s ceramic chain-linked LED lights.
While Tom Dixon fuses a worldly sense of design, having curated all the fabrics for his furniture from textile manufacturer Kvadrat, the manufacturing and building of every piece rests solely in London. Dixon relies heavily on British tradition to reinvent everything from coat racks and stools to lounge chairs and tables. The result is defiantly fun and inviting. In the space they’ve conjured up in Hall 7, Dixon has decorated a long expanse of big and almost heart-shaped love sofas in an ethereal sort of cobalt blue, long canapés in lime green, candy rose and pastels, and low tables rendered in brass. Textures for the chairs are very soft and comfortable, functional without any sense of fragility.
And then Dixon gives you something to perk up about. The brand has cultivated a catalogue of scents to perfume the living space. Vases and scented candles populate the “oil” hemisphere of the brand. Iridescent vases made to look like “petrol on glass” or water on the wing of a dragonfly give off a vibrant violet color while their corresponding scented candles smell subtly of wood and organic aromas. Some of Dixon’s recent work includes giving new London hotspot Craft a jolt of energy with its fuchsia bar stools and hanging lights that resemble star bursts or clouds with swirls of lightning inside them. The very popular wingback dining blue chair retails for roughly 2000€ and its cousin with copper legs for 5220€.
Tara Hammond and her husband Ed Hammond of Slated have been in business for 5 years and counting now. But the artisanal life of rendering stone tableware has been in the family for more than 150 years. They have a stone cutting knife of roughly the same age to prove it. Slated is a Dublin-based company that specializes in rustic and very intimate tableware derived from stone. The approach is all hands on, with no impersonal machinery to speak of, and the result is a line of unique products, where textures and layers are like fingerprints, none matching any other in the world. Thus, the ambitious Irish brand has been building a healthy following of faithful fans around the world. Here at M&O there’s been express interest in bringing the brand to the US.
“We are a luxury brand,” says Tara Hammond. “But we’re a family brand. We’re artisan. Everything is by hand. And it’s a tradition that we’ve passed down through generations.” Does that mean that rendering something for huge corporate clients is unheard of? “No, we take on big contracts all the time. We welcome the challenge.”
One would think that the intimate and artisanal flavor that is Slated’s catalogue of coasters and round and rectangular placemats would somehow get compromised by the demands of a growing business. But Hammond insists that’s not the case. In fact, what makes Slated different than a host of other companies hoping to build upon the same idea of stoneware for the home is, “We still are all by hand. No machinery.” Wood, slate, and copper are a few of the common elements Slated uses to mold candle holders and slates, platters and boards.
Murano is world reknown as the “glass island” in Italy. Imagine a group of creative thinkers not remotely intimidated by the delicate nature of glass coming together to find ways to turn the material into versatile pieces for the home. That essentially is the work of Abate Zanetti. Rendered beautifully from Murano glass, Zanetti pieces take on the heads of Medusa as hanging chandeliers with their multiple snakes writhing off to and fro to illuminate a space. The Gorgone piece is nothing short of breathtaking when seen up close. And from a distance it certainly evokes images of mythological creatures.
The Malfatto collection imagines glass bowls illuminated with LED plates set atop them. Here at M&O, Abate Zanetti demonstrated just how to fill your living space with lights. Big salon tables or simple coffee tables can be re-purposed as functional art pieces with the lamps as a headpiece.
But perhaps Abate Zanetti’s piéce de résistance is the Caena, a series of chain-linked Murano glass pieces that interconnect. Once connected, individual LED lights illuminate each respective chain link. The design comes in a matte or gloss finish and, hanging from the ceiling, appears as a steady flow of dripping light.