After walking the biannual Maison & Objet design show in Paris this past September, I found that what stood out was the trend for artisan and traditional craft. I believe most would agree that “handmade” and “artisan” goods are in demand.
Of the many other trends, neutral colorways and organic materials were big themes throughout the show: wood, natural fibers, clay, beads, found objects, and glassware. I also noticed a nostalgia for the past, seen in booths showcasing old replicas of statues and atmospheres that remind you of someone’s lived-in home, filled with collectibles from their worldly travels. From framed insects and butterflies to rustic baskets, traditional masks, and more, the natural world seemed to be everywhere.
What I found particularly interesting was the concept of “zero design,” which first came to me from Valentina Hoyos, an exhibitor at Maison & Objet. The idea is that the simplicity of a product is its beauty. There is an appreciation for traditional products stripped of any design or “tweakage.” Traditional products are gorgeous on their own and there seems to be a real value around exquisite craftsmanship, and allowing the artisans shine and do what they do best.
Valentina’s motto is in fact, “zero design, zero chemicals.” Her business is, in fact, built on this idea. She works directly with master artisans throughout Colombia with whom she has built extremely strong relationships. All of her products are made from natural materials, from bamboo lighting to woven sisal rugs and floor pillows in naturally dyed tones of deep reds, yellows, and blues. Her traditional home décor pieces have a subtle way of looking extremely contemporary, even though she is preserving traditions that have been passed on for generations.
And for this reason, her collections do not change. She is committed to the communities and the few products that they make and the skills that they have mastered. Clients don’t expect her to have new, trendy pieces all of the time. Instead, they love the simplicity. She has timeless items that speak for themselves, made to last and never tire. They are thoughtful, simple, classic, gorgeous, and exquisitely crafted.