It was smaller in size, and with a much fewer number of exhibitors, but the first Maison&Objet Asia sure packed a punch.
The Asian show, which ran from March 10 to 13 at Marina Bay Sands, had some 272 exhibitors spread over three halls or 6,000 sq m of space. It is modelled after the highly successful Masion&Objet Paris, which takes place every January and September.
In comparison, the Parisian show drew more than 6,000 exhibitors spread over nine massive halls or 250,000 sq m space at Parc des Expositions de Paris Nord Villepinte, which is much like our Singapore Expo. Its sheer size makes Maison&Objet Paris the leading design and decor event worldwide. The Parisian show will mark its 20th anniversary next year.
To make it easy for the 160,000 trade visitors that come annually, each hall has a theme. For example, hall 2 is dedicated to home textiles, hall 5 to interior decorations, and hall 3 is entirely for kitchen products.
Hall 8, however, is where all the more exciting stuff are. The theme here is "now! design a vivre", and this is the place for emerging talents, and where new collections and products are launched. On our visit in January, we spotted a hand-held beer frothier, which works like a milk frothier, but helps create more foam for beer.
Another gem we spotted was British designer Richard Brendon's collection of tea cups. But these are no ordinary ones. While browsing through vintage markets, Mr Brendon came across vintage saucers and began collecting them. "Unlike saucers, tea cups are more easily damaged, so often they are thrown away, but the saucers are left behind," he said. To make the tea set complete, his tea cups come with a mirrored finish, so the same patterns on the saucers are now reflected on the tea cups. His booth drew many curious visitors, but unfortunately he was not at the Asian show.
One brand which was at both the Parisian and Asian show is Delightfull. Its lamps, one of which resembles a bunch of trumpets joined together, are currently distributed in Singapore through W Atelier. We met design and brand manager Diogo Carvalho earlier in Paris; he was at the Asian show "because the rhythm of work in Europe is slow, and Singapore is so fast paced. I'm curious about the Asian market". His goal is to meet Asian architects and interior designers to create bespoke pieces for their clients.
In contrast, the Asian show does not have themed halls, but exhibitors are split into three large categories: luxury furnishings, contemporary furnishings and retail accessories.
Nearly 30 per cent of the exhibitors at the Asian show are regional, and half of them have never exhibited in Paris.