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M&O: The Apothem Lounge and Our Top Two Picks from France, Ukraine and the UK

M&O: The Apothem Lounge and Our Top Two Picks from France, Ukraine and the UK
Flock chair and ottoman (white, left). Courtesy of the NOOM Interior.

In addition to the Apothem Lounge by the designer of the year Raphael Navot, we highlight our favorite designers from the UK, France and Ukraine.

Paris, January 19 – 23, 2023—Maison&Objet has a talent for creating specific platforms for national pride, in which selected designers are invited to represent their country by displaying their finest and, at times, their latest works. We see this in the British Capsule, the Talents so French and the Art of Resilience (Ukraine) exhibitions. Here are our top picks from each exhibition along with a word or two on the Apothem Lounge by the designer of the year Raphael Navot.

QUICK FIX: Impatient to see the Apothem Lounge by Raphael Navot? Scroll to the bottom of the article to get a detailed description and to see beautiful images of the installation.

BRITISH CAPSULE: Altrock Surfaces and Lee Broom

Among the selection of British designers invited to display their work in the British Capsule exhibition, we’d like to highlight Lee Broom and Altrock Surfaces. Lee Broom‘s Divine Inspiration collection of new products caught our attention thanks to his 4m-tall Hail lighting fixture with its elongated fluted form, fabricated in aluminum with asymmetrically positioned reeded glass lightbulbs. Two 3m-tall Vesper Duo lights, a play on rectangular cubes, accompanied the Hail pendant. The furniture pieces below the dangling lights fit the scene perfectly with a neutral palette of grays and brushed silvers; the ensemble included the Musico table and chairs as well as Fulcrum candlesticks in Nero Marquina marble and the Split mirror.

Divine Inspiration at Maison&Objet Paris, January 2023. Courtesy of Lee Broom.

As eco-conscious materials are an ever-growing topic of importance, we point to the brand Altrock Surfaces which produces the solid surface material Altrock made with reclaimed byproducts from the natural stone industry such as recycled marble flour, recycled marble chips and chunks of offcuts and broken pieces of beautiful marble slabs. The team incorporates a contemporary take on terrazzo, creating surfaces for a whole range of applications such as dining tables, coffee tables, kitchen worktops, bathroom surfaces and more. 

Image: Courtesy of Altrock Surfaces.
Image: Courtesy of Altrock Surfaces.

FRANCE: Leftover Wood Shavings and Low-tech Assembly

The Talents so French exhibition included work from four different designers, of which we’ve selected Elise Fouin and Cedric Breisacher. In terms of the ongoing trend toward eco materials, designer Cedric Breisacher creates wood-carved furniture through a circular production system. In addition to carving products out of a single piece of wood, the technique he used to create the bench Shave (2019), he also uses leftover wood shavings from production to make new objects. This is most evident in the I’m Not Wasted (2023) side table prototype he displayed at the fair along with the Fully Dusty chair (2023). He used leftover wood shavings from the base of the side table to make the tabletop, which can be removed and used as a tray. It includes wood branches to lock the assembly between the tabletop and the foot. The binder for the tabletop is potato starch, so all the furniture is organic. The first object will come up later in the year.

Shave bench by Cedric Breisacher. Image: Studio B Helle.
I’m Not Wasted
Fully Dusty

Timeless, the 12-year-old Lucinda lighting by Elise Fouin exemplifies sustainable design—by creating a lasting piece that doesn’t lose its charm. She made the pendant lamps from coils of expanded polystyrene, a material usually used for wall insulation, as part of a research and development project she began on the deployment of paper rolls. The name Lucinda refers to the choreographer Lucinda Childs who worked on the spinning. In 2019, this luminaire entered the permanent collections of the MAD_Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. Fouin displayed new products as well such as Girouette, a 3-piece wooden lamp tagged as low-tech for its seamless assembly which allows it to be repositioned, and the table Baguette which copies the assembly style of Girouette.

Girouette, a 3-piece wooden lamp (left), Lucinda pendant (corner) and the Baguette table (center). Courtesy of the designer.

UKRAINE: The Art of Resilience in the Face of War

Despite the ongoing situation in Ukraine, designers continue to create new collections. They’ve had to face challenges such as a disruption in the supply chain and rising prices of raw materials since the beginning of the war. Their ability to overcome these difficulties is what makes them resilient. At Maison&Objet, a number of Ukrainian designers and craftsmen exhibited products in the Art of Resilience installation. 

From contemporized ancient weaves to sculptural lighting and bespoke furnishings, the exhibition displayed pieces that exemplify combinations of familiar materials and craft techniques such as the TERRA commode designed by Yuri Ryntovt and the ROSEMARY bench by RD Furniture. Although every product on display is worth noting, we took special notice of the brands Noom and Natura Ceramica. In 2002, Andriy and Olesia Voznicki founded Natura Ceramica in Uzhhorod. For almost 20 years, this ceramics duo has been producing the finest pottery by combining traditional regional approaches with their own trademark techniques.

Vases by Natura Ceramica (left with TERRA commode to the right of them) and ROSEMARY bench (right). Photo: ArchiExpo e-Magazine.
Vases by Natura Ceramica (left with TERRA commode to the right of them). ©AETHION

In 2017, industrial designer Kateryna Sokolova cofounded NOOM with designer and entrepreneur Arkadii Vartanov. The young, fast-growing design company from Ukraine produces furniture, lighting, decor, and home accessories. They create sculptural and eye-catching design pieces. They launched the Flock collection of furniture on Christmas Eve 2022 after having relocated their manufacturing from Kharkiv, one of the initial cities assaulted by Russia, to other cities.

Flock lounge chair and ottoman (white, left). Photo: ArchiExpo e-Magazine.

The Apothem Lounge by the Designer of the Year Raphael Navot

Designer of the year Raphael Navot conceived the Apothem Lounge for the January edition of Maison&Objet. Having walked inside the circular installation, visitors left the fair and entered a universe of relaxed vibes. In the center, beautiful wooden boat-like sculptures dangled above a round glass pond, and above each boat hung a glass parachute that appeared to be covered with raindrops. Glass bulbs were placed within the open cockpit of each boat and emitted light toward the ceiling. The light bounced off the glass parachutes of these pendants realized by Flos, reflecting onto the glass pond below and dancing around the room. The decorative multi-layered wall-covering made by Signature Murale had a motif that resembled sand waves which, from the light, were reflected onto the glass pond to give it the impression of being real water. Encircling the pond, visitors walked upon dark brown to black-colored wooden Opus tiles, the pattern of which was inspired by mosaics in Venice during ancient times and cobblestones in Paris during the 19th century.

The designer collaborated with furniture Roche Bobois and selected textiles and acoustic solutions by Kvadrat and eco-paint by French brand Argile whose Nature range is made using more than 97% bio-sourced vegetable oils in place of acrylic resin. We sat in one of the Dots, a ball chair reinvented by Raphael Navot and delivered by Roche Bobois, which is one of the products in the Natif collection, a collaboration between the designer and Nicolas Roche. We swiveled left and right, while breathing in the atmosphere of dramatic peace, brought to life thanks to music by French composer Thomas Roussel.

Suspended lamps by Flos in collaboration with Raphael Navot and Desselle Partners. Ph. @Anne-Emmanuelle.
Suspended lamps by Flos in collaboration with Raphael Navot and Desselle Partners. Ph. @Anne-Emmanuelle.
Suspended lamps by Flos in collaboration with Raphael Navot and Desselle Partners. Ph. @Anne-Emmanuelle.
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