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CHANGING THE WAY WE SEE LUXURY
The concept of luxury is changing, and what we are now seeing is the emergence of new expressions of luxury that combine experience with eco-friendliness, uniqueness with enjoyment. When it comes to combining heritage with innovation, or expertise with CSR commitments, the French art de vivre is staring the future straight in the eye.
The Signature area in Hall 7 of the trade fair will feature bolder and more elegant, formal and creative offerings than ever, with a premium offering in which other, less tangible qualities now nevertheless play a central role. The emphasis here is very much on eco-friendly, local and often artisan production. “Consumers are actually educating brands”, explains founder of media and style agency Goodmoods Julia Rouzaud. “They really do look at the labels, and a return to local production is now a prerequisite”. This requirement lies at the heart of the approach adopted by young brands such as Dizy, whose sustainable, recyclable and repairable products are made in France, Portugal and Italy, Noctys, whose eco-friendly customisable headboards are Made in France, and even Lonaeh's range of acoustic furniture, which launched in 2019.
What about luxury brands? “Longer production times and small runs obviously mean higher costs. Luxury obviously plays a central role in this reconnection with a new way of producing”, Julia Rouzaud explains, “and brands in the luxury sector must serve as guarantors and even pioneers where all such issues are concerned”. This being the case, sustainability is part of the DNA of Atelier Hugo Delavelle, a cabinetmaker specialising in design and based in eastern France. What initially appeals to the buyer when they first encounter Alufacture furniture is the fineness of the lines that can be achieved with aluminium. That said, the unexpected qualities of this material, which has attracted its share of bad press, are increasingly winning people over. “The alloy always has a recycled metal component and is infinitely recyclable, even once it has been dyed, thanks to the anodising process used to dye it, so it’s also extremely strong and durable”, Brand Manager Alice Leblais explains. As for manufacturing in France, the company embodies the expertise that has been developed for other products in workshops located in Champagne since 1938. “It’s almost non-negotiable today”, she continues.
The luxury sector, which is consequently experiencing a need to broaden its expertise, is innovating with this in mind. “Recycled materials are currently considered the most noble, and there’s no reason not to use them when it comes to the designer pieces of the future!”, Guillaume Galloy, co-founder of Noma, whose pieces and furniture are produced from 98% waste materials, says with enthusiasm. “You can be responsible and still maintain that sense of luxury, combining comfort, beauty and aesthetics”, the entrepreneur explains with great conviction. Indeed, this is a requirement if we are to encourage people to adopt these new values. “It’s the piece of furniture that appeals first, and then when they hear the story behind it, the reaction is very positive: ‘Wow! So it is possible!’”.
Noctys - Noma Editions © DR
In March, Julia Rouzaud will be outlining her vision of a renewal of the luxury sector inspired by the hotel industry and involving both a reconnection with nature and new technologies in one of the What's new* spaces. “It's less about the material aspect”, she explains, “and more about experiences, sensations and well-being”, a sentiment that is shared by Fanny Gicquel. “Luxury is no longer about ostentation; it's about living your life the way you want to”. Although close to the cheerful environments created by Maison Dada and Leblon-Delienne on other stands, Popus, which is exhibiting at Maison&Objet for the first time, will be doing things its own way, defining its style as “playful chic”. The sort of luxury it offers isn’t exactly a ‘complete look’, but rather a series of colourful pieces featuring cheery patterns to “enhance more classic environments”. This sense of frivolity is also fuelled by a desire to produce better, by weaving stories, updating the ways in which we do things, working with small entities, and generally doing less but doing it better. Now that’s luxury.
*Some home hotel: hotel luxury at home by Goodmoods - Hall 7
From 24th to 28th March, French design will be in the spotlight in the Signature showcase in Hall 7 of Maison&Objet, where the following brands will be featured: L'Alufacture, Dizy, Drugeot Manufacture, Harto, Lonaeh, Designer Box, La Chaise Française, Bibelo, Mijila, Maison Dada, Leblon-Delienne, Neosia, Noma Editions, Objekto, Lyon Béton, Red Edition, Delavelle and Objet de Curiosité.