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Glitter in the City of Light

February 01, 2007

At Maison & Objet, the Paris furnishings-as-fashion show that closed Tuesday, more than 2,500 home decor companies showcased their latest looks for a crowd estimated at 75,000 from around the world. To identify standout products and emerging trends, we recruited three design pros with a keen sense of Southern California style: Tim Clarke, an interior designer with a storefront in Santa Monica; and Rose Apodaca and Andy Griffith, owners of the Silver Lake boutique A+R. Here's the best of what they saw:


Silver, gold and bronze leather upholstery appeared on tabletops, lamp bases and pillows, Clarke said. Italian firm Bagnaresi Casa showed a modern, blocky sofa upholstered in silver leather. "One or two pieces mixed into a more natural setting could feel fresh and new and add a bit of sparkle," he said. "I wouldn't do a whole room!"

Apodaca and Griffith also noted that gold was everywhere: a coffee table resembling a gold-faceted gem by Serralunga, a gold bar (like one might see at the Mint) by the new French design house Eno and a gold-hued chair laser-cut with flowers by Vibieffe of Italy. Kuhn Keramik of Germany had dog bowls and other products washed in gold and labeled "Punk" in gothic lettering. Design star Max Velcovsky of Qubus Studios in the Czech Republic gilded cups cast from Coke bottles and a Rococo ceramic clock because the rich color provided a new context to these objects -- "as if there's some greater value in having these otherwise prosaic items in high-shine gold," Apodaca said.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday February 02, 2007 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 44 words Type of Material: Correction
Maison & Objet: In Thursday's Home section, an article on the home furnishings show near Paris included a photo of gold dog bowls and a caption identifying the designer as Max Velcovsky of Qubus Studios. The design should have been credited to Kuhn Keramik.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday February 08, 2007 Home Edition Home Part F Page 5 Features Desk 1 inches; 42 words Type of Material: Correction
Maison & Objet: A Feb. 1 article on the home furnishings show near Paris included a photo of gold dog bowls and a caption identifying the designer as Max Velcovsky of Qubus Studios. The design should have been credited to Kuhn Keramik.

'80s opulence

Clarke saw a lot of slick and decadent materials in black, white and red. Fendi Casa showed croc leather-covered tables in white. The designer's labels were on everything: gold Fendi hardware on cabinet doors, giant Fs on area rugs. "The perfect thing for those tiring of the whole Hollywood Regency look but still wanting a fashionable and fun party pad," Clarke said. "Perfect for all the '80s L.A. architecture -- the next must-have house?"

It's only natural

If a piece wasn't metallic or '80s-slick, it probably was natural, stripped and unfinished. The French firm Jerome Abel Seguin showed "amazing" specimen tree stumps and roots used as tabletops and bases, Clarke said. "Feels clean and green." Sempre of Belgium exhibited side tables and consoles with legs made from tree branches, also unfinished. "Perfect for a beach house or infused into a Midcentury Modern to cut that cold edge and add a little warmth," Clarke said. Also with a green theme: a black rubber chair made of recycled tires and a pair of woven rubber cubes from the Spanish firm Becara. The pieces "give the sense of recycling chic mixed with organic wood shapes and natural linen upholstery."

Black on black

Guadarte of Seville, Spain, showed black upholstery with all-black accessories. Coffee table, chandeliers, pillows, urns and lanterns were in black. "Kind of a nice rest for the eyes after so much pattern and color-on-color we've been seeing," Clarke said.


Apodaca and Griffith were high on the British design firm Habitat, which used Maison & Objet to launch the VIP for Kids line. Building on the trend toward celebrity collaborations, VIP for Kids included a wooden lock box designed by Kate Winslet, a sailboat bed by famed yachtsman Loick Peyron, metallic rag monster dolls by Christian Lacroix, stacking boxes by design guru Marcel Wanders and a ball lamp that glows like the moon's surface by Buzz Aldrin. "They have a big program of plucking designers out of colleges and supporting them," Apodaca said.

Rock 'n' roll Louis XIV

Collection Pierre by John Hutton scaled up Louis XIV shapes and upholstered them in modern solids and colors for "the most comfortable Louis furniture you've ever sat in," Clarke said, adding that the pieces would look great in Southern California modern settings. Belgium-based JNL upholstered large-scaled wood pieces in solid dark silk and positioned them in a modern, austere environment.


"Design is as much about aesthetics as it is about solutions," Apodaca said, "and there appears to be increasing desire to figure out how to deal with the tangles of charging cables tethering our daily toys." Eno by Gjis Bakker Etagere created the Home Base, a rubber shelf that attached to the wall with decorative cross hatches through which cables could be threaded. The piece was large enough for a laptop, Apodaca and Griffith said, yet small enough not to be obtrusive. Banal Extra of Italy showed the Driinn Mobile Phone Holder, a small and colorful plastic piece designed so cables could wrap around its base and a phone or PDA could sit on its shelf.

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