While people immediately recognise Scandinavian design, French furniture design is somewhat nebulous. Maison et Objet has therefore decided to change this and celebrate the values of French Furniture.
Maison & Objet Paris is one of the biggest interior design events in the world. For this year’s edition, the fair has initiated an ambitious operation titled ‘Le French Design, no taste for bad taste’ in an effort to pay tribute to the values on the French furniture industry. Twenty-five exhibitors will partake in the plan to generate public awareness of the ten core values - identified by the ‘Valorisation de l’Innovation dans l’Ameublement’ (VIA) - that characterise French design. “The public has a general idea of what defines Italian, German, Scandinavian and Japanese design, but have a much less clear picture of what constitutes French design,” says Jean-Paul Bath, VIA’s executive director. “The idea is to get a concrete idea of what French design actually represents, both from the designer’s standpoint and our industry’s intrinsic expertise.”
Artists have long played a key role in raising the profile of a city or nation. And by supporting home-grown designers in defining the values of French furniture design, France seems to be on a mission to expand its cultural cachet - beyond fashion and food. Celebrating local talent certainly is part of a more general shift towards patriotism, but Maison & Objet’s operation is not the only sign of the nation trying to boost its international appeal. Station F - set to launch in Paris in April ‘17 - is the world’s largest start-up campus gathering a whole entrepreneurial ecosystem. So for a nation more renowned for its heritage and holiday destinations, furniture and tech might soon help the ‘grande nation’ get an upgrade.