New year, a new beginning. January often starts slow for many of us, as it takes a while to get settled in the new year. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for us design professionals. The key trade shows, such as Top Drawer in London, NY Now in New York and Maison&Objet in Paris take place every January and we are all rushing to get the new collections and products ready in time for the shows.
This year was different for us at Eva Sonaike. After many years of exhibiting at Maison&Objet, I decided to take a break and attend the show as a visitor.
I was only there for a day and believe me, a day is not enough to cover the whole of Maison. But knowing what to expect, I selected a few parts of the show, where I knew to find the exhibitors that were of interest to me.
And here’s the roundup.
Always a favourite of mine is Lindell & Co by Gabrielle Soyer.
Gabrielle Soyer’s Scandinavian sensitivity, her understanding of colour and her knowledge of traditional Indian embroidery techniques, all contribute to her exquisite collection of beautiful cushions, textile panels and rugs.
The embroidery, the weaving and the dying are done by skilled artisans in northern India and Nepal. The materials used are hand-dyed New Zealand wool, Indian silk and camel hair from Kazakhstan.
Kronbali, whose juju hats are incorporated in the design of my own home here in London, works with Cameroonian artisans who make feather headdresses in the traditional manner in a variety of popping colours.
This year, they launched a new product. Inspired by the antique Nigerian Ife heads, these colourful and eye-catching beaded heads are made of carved wood and are covered in multicoloured glass beads over a clay base.
Available in a selected range of sizes and styles ranging from 15 cm to 1,50m, each piece is unique.
I love the next brand so much, so we will dedicate a full blog post to AAKS, one of my favourite handbag brands in due course. I met Akosua at the Lioness of Africa event in May 2018 and we instantly clicked. It was so nice seeing her again at Maison with her exquisite new collection.
AAKS was founded by Akosua Afriyie-Kumi with the goal of introducing the world to her favourite weaving techniques done by the women of Ghana while also creating and igniting sustainable jobs within Africa. Handcrafted in Ghana, AAKS creates bags in styles that maintain the spirit and durability of their ancestral counterparts characterised by bright exuberant colours.
Another brand that stood out to me was Afrika Tiss. Africa Tiss implements initiatives that promote craftsmanship as a lever for social and economic development. They specialise in beautifully refugee-made products, that merge contemporary design with traditional skills. The design objects and accessories created by both craftsmen and women accompanied by Africa Tiss are sold on the local an international market, assuring the artisans fair and regular income.
I fell in love with the project and especially the decorative vases from their Design for Peace project that is initiated by Africa Tiss and Burkina Faso’s UNHCR Field Office. My favourite piece is a set of two calabash vases, which is covered with soft leather and nylon threads on a wooden base. I also love the round hammered decorative bowls with leader cladding. These pieces are so originally African and at the same time elegant and timeless.
'Exotic rhythms, champagne toasts and velvet words. We were dancing when we found a sign that said: "Back To The Future" and so we followed it. The sign took us here, to a sexy, luxe and fun dimension. We keep on dancing, we won't stop.'
How amazing is this? I grabbed this extract from the Houtique website, which exactly sums up what they are about! I instantly fell in love with their amazing, sexy display of pouffes, lighting and bar furniture.
Image © Sebastian Erras
Houtique, a Spanish brand, based in sunny Valencia brings us the latest in hospitality and retail design, showcasing a sexy and luxurious collection filled with gold trims and unusual striking colour combinations such as lavender, violet and salmon, teal blue and green. Heaven for every colour lover and definitely someone to keep watching!
And to you can’t leave the show with a quick visit to Jonathan Adler. Kitsch at its finest, but this season with a super stylish approach with a homage to modern glamour led by Jonathon Adler with his trademark cheeky, 60’s nostalgia.
All in all, an inspiration on every level. It was great to stand back take time to be inspired by so many amazing brands and ideas. But one thing is for sure. We will be back exhibiting at Maison&Objet in Paris soon. Watch this space!