Maison Objet Is the New House of Games – Five questions to Vincent Grégoire.
Why did you bet on the ‘House of Games’ theme for Maison Objet 2016?
The members of the Maison Objet Observatory and I wanted to pick a theme that related more closely to our living environments. The outline for ‘House of Games’ soon became obvious. It reflects a number of signals we’ve picked up in the fashion, contemporary art, luxury and design industries, and even in gastronomy. This ‘House of Games’ marks the return of a renewed baroque, dandy style, which leaves ample room for fantasy, eccentricity and appeal. More generally speaking, we are noticing an increasing interest in board games, as well as private clubs, which counterbalance the lonely life we lead behind screens and help us restructure our lives around rules we can easily apply. A recent study carried out by NellyRodi for Google into the relationship between the Generation Z and luxury has shown that, contrary to common beliefs, its members have a great capacity to switch off and value the notions of sharing and community very highly.
What have you imagined for the Inspirations Space?
I have imagined a succession of three boxes, which open to reveal three visions of how we play games. The first one explores board games through a chess set, where every piece is replaced with a design masterpiece. It questions the notion of social position and the strategic concern for appearances in a precious, dandy inspired environment. The second offers a perspective on posture and imposture and the comeback of the dada spirit through an interpretation of roleplaying games. Combining chance, luck and the collision of ideas, the rules of the exquisite corpse are coming into practice in the field of interior design, paving the way to historic and hysterical mix-and-match décors. Chance games are finally providing inspiration for the creation of a boudoir that showcases a cheerfully occult form of easy esotericism. In reaction to all-pervading rationalism, people advocate for the return of the unexpected and play the card of serendipity.
In terms of style, what are the rules?
To each his own! What matters is the capacity to surprise, to become a sensation. Some experiment with graphic and optical patterns, using chevron and chessboard motifs, as Nendo did for the department store Seibu. In Paris, the 19th-century taste for alcoves and drama is being revived, as evidenced by the private club Castel, the restaurant La Belle Époque, the hotels Mathis and Maison Souquet, where Jacques Garcia has recreated the ambiance of a brothel. Faced with excessive minimalism, the world is seeing the rise of a new eccentric decorative spirit. In fashion, the bold spirit of the style evident in Alessandro Michele’s latest collections for Gucci shows this colourful contemporary energy, which artfully blurs lines through subverted elements and borrowed references.
What are the masterpieces of these living environments?
This theme subtly reveals a new way of designing living spaces. We are seeing the comeback of 19th-century kissing benches and indiscret seats, for example. The padded Chesterfield chair is once again a must-have. Regarding accessories, the trend is for building a rich décor, evocative of wunderkammers, with display cabinets, fisheye mirrors, trophies, even wall jewellery, like that designed by Michaël Cailloux. There is growing interest for cabinetmaking, precious cases and boxes. Fred Pinel’s chests, chess sets designed by Hermès, Vuitton or Baccarat help create environments that leave no room to unoriginality. Even pool and football tables are being reinvented into decorative objects. Lucky charm motifs, like the eye, are also popping up everywhere for their good vibrations.
What materials are a winning bet?
I favour any material expressing the concept of preciousness. In the spirit of the Belle Époque, satins, velvets, taffetas, lacquer, trimmings and cut crystal are gaining newfound momentum to illustrate a celebration of the senses. A parallel can be drawn between the industrial revolution and the digital revolution. Illusion games, reflection, transparency serve to inspire décors with high narrative content, associated with wallpapers such as those created by Philippe Morillon, collages, or even stained glass panes, such as those crafted by Studio Job. Mixology and the growing interest for kitsch and chic pastries are other expressions of this desire for playful revelling. In terms of colours, red trumps all others; theatre and opera red, but also the red of brothel lights. Halfway between transgression and revelation, red deepens the magic conveyed by these exuberant, joyous and sensuous worlds.
French playing cards by Krisztina Berta
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(source: Maison Objet)