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Anticipating Maison

January 17, 2012

Advance information has it that despite Europe's economic woes, Maison & Objet is ready for its close-up.

Most striking are the show's continuing and evolving efforts to make this the most complete showcase for all disciplines of living by embracing, integrating and blending all of what impacts our daily lives now - and who and what is seeding our future.

What started little more than a decade ago as a more literal translation of its name, MAISON & OBJET into "Home & Object" has since morphed into the most complete overview of new directions coming from many sources distilled for our understanding. In my view, that's the single most valuable and distinguishing contribution this show makes to enrich the visitor experience.

Yes, it still starts and ends with the beautifully presented and latest in home décor, but each year a new facet has been added. First, the Garden and the Outdoors. Then the Spa Experience, now focused on total well being. Next a forum for regular dialogue between professionals from every part of the design industries: architects, interior designers, artists, craft practitioners, industrial designers, engineers, environmentalists and experts in sustainability -all imparting their influence on products and changing modes of living..

"Paris des Chefs," started in 2009, puts the spotlight on the revolution and evolution of the culinary arts, which have become a cultural phenomenon now claiming their rightful place within the Arts of Living. "Paris des Chefs" aims to showcase gateways between the art of cooking and many other fields of creativity.

Since its inception, the top names and most promising talents in French and international gastronomy have come to dialogue with architects, designers, artists and photographers in order to highlight the increasingly strong transfers of inspiration between these disciplines.

The program has been so successful that as of this month, it will be open to the public for the first time. For easy access, it has been moved outside M&O's exhibition site into the heart of Paris. It will be held at the Theatre de la Mutualite (you could say "nomen est omen"), built in 1930 and recently renovated by Jean-Michel Wilmotte.

Last but not least, there is the show's initiative and exhibit - "Espace Retail," now in its second season. To help merchants improve the effectiveness of their brick-and-mortar stores, the show recruited AKDV, an agency specializing in designing retail spaces and creating specifications with 16 technical solutions, materials and lighting, merchandising and visual identity, along with many different possible combinations of constructing a retail space.

So, there you have it - Maison & Objet is no one-trick pony. The show runs come Jan. 20-24.