One particularly compelling component of this year's Maison et Objet design tradeshow during Paris Design Week was the exhibition showcasing young, up-and-coming designers, "Now: Le Off!" Among the innovative design offerings we noticed particularly creative takes on seating, from voluminous wooden clouds to table-stool hybrids. Here, the most outstanding places to perch.
It wasn't the sleek shape or supple leather that made Frederic Dejeant's new armchair stand out. Rather, it was the unique, swiveling back that caught out attention. With an attached USB plug and side-table meant to accommodate a laptop or iPad, the chair—which features a rotating, cushioned upper section mounted onto a perfectly square base—is an ideal seating solution for airports or offices.
If that doesn't sound relaxing enough, the "Cloud House" rocking chair takes inspiration from designer Yuan Yuan's dream of living in the clouds. Meant to adapt and change according to your positions—just like a fluffy cloud might—the chair can be used as a rocking chair, armchair or chaise for lounging. The combination of solid wood and plywood gives strength and flexibility to the semi-open piece, which can be used solo or with company.
Similarly soothing are the relaxing curves of the "Bee" deck hair by TurriniBy, an up-and-coming French design house that recently received the Observeur de Design award for its efforts in environmentally friendly production. Fashioned from eco-friendly bamboo panels (rather than wood fibers, which often contain harmful glues), the slim design makes the chair look like a thin, flexible sheet of wood when viewed in profile. A honeycomb-like structure is modeled on the principles of biplane wings, allowing the chair to feel solid with a minimal amount of material.
It may not be particularly comfortable, but this unusual stool from young French designer Marion Steinmetz, is worth mentioning for its novel aesthetic. Executed in pieces of felt, wood and cork, each layer can be rearranged at will to create a completely new look.
With her clever "Mangrove" set, Celine Descamps—a student at the French Brittany European Superior School for Arts—attempted to consolidate the traditional dining table into a single piece by combining the seat, table and crockery. With lime wood modules and a single seating unit, the piece features two tower-like tables with curved wood meant to accommodate plates, glasses and cutlery. Best of all, if the table is over-laden, handy pull-out trays can stow extra dishes.
Images by Isabelle Doal