Nendo – Chocolatexture Lounge at Maison et Objet Paris 2015

NENDO – the diverse and prolific Toronto based design studio was founded by lead designer Oki Sato in 2002 with 15 fellow designers from Wasedo University in Shinjuku, Japan.


Voted Maison et Objet Paris 2015 Designer of the Year, the studio was invited to conceive a special installation during the fair and created a thrilling and luscious display – the Chocolatexture Lounge.


Furnished with chocolate-colored tables, stools, chairs and a beautiful sofa to showcase the lush, luxe quality of chocolate, the furniture settings were surrounded by undulating screens – 2,000 aluminum pipes painted in varying shades of chocolate to create a rippling, molten chocolate wave.


The final detail – 400 limited-edition NENDO chocolate shapes; each piece with a shape and texture inspired by the sound of its Japanese name – the first sugar-based onomatopoeia? – smooth Sube Sube, crunchy Zara Zara… beautiful, inspired and delicious!

REPORT FROM MAISON&OBJET PARIS 2015 Part 1 – Trends and Design Inspiration


Part I: Handmade – Artisanal Impact; Techno; Material and Finishes – Organic meets All That Glitters
In what has become a tradition – and one of our design client favorites – here is Part I of our report on lighting and design trends and inspirations from one of the biggest European design shows.
As always, so much to see and share!


The artisanal movement that has been making its way through the lexicon of design/food/travel was reflected everywhere at M&O; a swing toward a sophisticated use of organic materials and finishes in a contemporary organic style, celebrating both material and craftsmanship – revealing all the details and processes and the artisan’s hand at work through perfect imperfection.


The MAISON&OBJET team presented in interactive lounges devoted to theme of ‘MAKE’ – Nature Made, Human Made, Techno Made – expressing the concept that “these days we don’t want to let things go anymore. Everyone wants to regain control. The home is increasingly attractive. Traditional expertise is restoring value to manufactured goods. The latest luxury can be seen in a return to the essential beauty of craftsmanship and perfecting materials….a contemplation of nature, the genius of the hand and the technological advances mark out the evolution of a world in the process of again.”



All That Glitters…
Brass and gold is a giant trend at the moment – polished brass and bronzes, burnished gold leaf; also mixed metals and solid brass construction – married with the organic – natural edged stone and wood, rock crystal and mouth blown glass.



Techno Innovation
Everyone across the industry has realized that LEDs are here to stay; first heralded as the solution to all lighting needs, manufacturers and designers are now working to refine and combine this new technology into every type of working environment.
The integration was perfectly demonstrated by marriages of traditional styles and modern tech – classic Murano glass and Austrian crystal with LED (lamping) and displays of OLEDs  (organic light-emitting diodes) in inspired formation.



Tokyo based Teamlab – a fascinating team of self-professed ‘ultra technologists’ including programmers, artists and architects –  thrilled with their fantastical immersive environment; a digital journey of light and movement.


COMING SOON – Report From Paris Part II
Stay tuned for M&O Designer of the Year, Trends – Color and Motif and a selection of design inspirations that have to fall under the ‘Just Plain Cool’ category!

Swimming Pool K – Grimbergen, Belgium


Swimming Pool K by Brussels based DMVA  Architecten was a work of serendipity and an example of the designers’ “Minimal Maximilism” aesthetic – design with a strong viewpoint executed with a minimalist sensibility.



In the midst of a renovation of a 17th century historic villa in the historic Flemish town of Grimbergen, a modern uninhabited schoolhouse became available next door – allowing the client to realize his dream of an additional guesthouse and a modern swimming pool and the designers to realize a breathtaking mix of old and new.



To support the weight of a rooftop swimming pool, the studio designed a system of fortified concrete beams and columns. They left the concrete exposed as a design element which completed the pristine, minimalistic white walls of the swimming pool it supported. The rest of the building became a mixed-use living space with an open kitchen.



The result – a hyper-modern rooftop swimming pool overlooking centuries-old cobblestone streets,  streets and churches. Minimal maximilism indeed.


Curator Cabinets – A Uniquely Whimsical Piece of Art


What could be more surreal than that which lives inside the fragile confines of a bubble? Using the confines of that bubble to curate mass conspicuous consumption.


Iris van Daalen and Ruben Thier founded their studio Thier & van Daalen in 2011, the year after they both graduated from the Design Academy in Eindhoven, Netherlands. Their unique fixation with structure, color, design and technology, all come together in their series of Curator Cabinets, which made their debut at the 2012 Dutch Design Week. Studio Thier & van Daalen developed a proprietary process to create the organically-shaped plexiglass bubbles that are essentially movable curio cabinets. “It all started with the idea to emphasize the current trend of mass consumption. To regain what we already have, instead of buying new products every time.” Within the context of these shapes, any existing item – a ship, a human hair, a taxidermied cheetah or insect – becomes fresh, avant-garde-


A uniquely whimsical piece of art.


Gettys Group and Luxe at DIFFA Chicago Dining By Design



Congratulations to all the designers who created inspirational tablescapes for the DIFFA Chicago 2014 Dining By Design ‘Beauty and the Feast’ fundraiser.


We were very pleased to support a cause near and dear to our hearts and donate a fabulous ‘Sorbonne’ fixture to The Gettys Group table.


Thank you DIFFA for all the amazing work you do.

Heath Ceramics – San Francisco

We recently had the privilege of visiting the San Francisco factory of Heath Ceramics, a pottery company dedicated to creating beautiful and functional pieces in a variety of colors, themes and styles. Founded by Edith Heath in 1948, Heath Ceramics has a passion for mid-century, durable, thoughtfully-designed pottery, which can be found in households, restaurants and museums worldwide. The San Francisco factory employs roughly sixty craftsmen who create pieces that blur the line between tableware and artwork; their mission is to enhance the relationship between the maker of an object, the object itself, and the purchaser of the item. Many factory-produced items are devoid of personality or spirit, whereas the pieces created by Heath Ceramics are infused with the soul and passion of those who shaped and fired them, and it shows in the quality of their work.

Shapeshifter – Sculpture Exhibition in Lower Hutt, New Zealand

On a recent trip to beautiful New Zealand we visited the Shapeshifter exhibit in Lower Hutt.
Over the past twelve years, the show has evolved to become one of the premier sculpture exhibitions in New Zealand and a significant part of the visual arts program for the New Zealand Festival of the Arts.

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ICFF and Wanted by Design at NYCxDESIGN

Summer arrived in New York in time for NYCx Design this month. Across the city some of the best of new American and international art and design was presented; the week started with Freize Art Fair (a sister to the original London show) and culminated in the International Contemporary Furniture Fair and the newer Wanted Design.

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Urban Renaissance – Panama City

We had a wonderful trip to Panama City this month – the development trend continues across the city with more hotel, condo and office construction in progress.
Our US ownership and design and architecture clients continue to be a huge part of the landscape here – Hard Rock, Trump and the major brands have all added to this recent building boom.
At the hip end of the scale is the American Trade Hotel – a gem in the heart of the Casca Viejo (Old Town). The former American Trade department store has been revamped by the Ace Hotel group to become a cool, modern hangout at the center of the district’s urban renaissance.

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DWELL ON DESIGN 2014 – A Design Celebration


The ‘urban craftsman’ trend continued at the Dwell LA show last month in LA with green design options and innovative designs – chairs from a single sheet of ply, shower heads with integrated lights, modular bedrooms that fold up into a 10” box, indoor / outdoor fireplaces – utilizing space and resources with design flare and environmental awareness.

Cutting edge design and innovative use of material from local and national product and interior designers and architects brought together a wonderful collection of product and displays.
A favorite feature was a ‘braille’ wall – stones placed in a vertical representation of a Raymond Carver poem – clever, natural and beautiful!

This year’s Dwell Outdoor featured the best in landscape architecture and prefab structures including the star of the show, the C6 Series prefab home. This model was designed by LivingHomes staff in collaboration with Make It Right, a nonprofit founded by Brad Pitt and architect William McDonough to build 150 affordable, sustainable homes in New Orleans. The LivingHome C6 series combines clean, modern design with Z6 LEED Platinum level environmental program, and Cradle-to-Cradle CM-inspired materials.

The show continues to be a great melding of modern architecture and design with eco-consciousness.


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