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INSTANT REPLAY: highlights from Paris Design Week

During September 3-12, 2020, it was showtime in the City of Lights, as Paris became the world stage for the ultimate in design, architecture, art and craft. There's a lot to unpack here, so we're throwing it back and breaking it down.

Words by Spoorthi Satheesh

photos courtesy of Paris Design Week/Maison & Objet

Paris Design Week, absent for the first time its premiere event (the biannual Maison et Objet design fair which, understandably, took the digital path this go 'round) put forth a glorious effort that embodied its theme of "Re-Generation". The event was a poignant letter to the resiliency of the design community and humanity as a whole, as talents both emerging and established set out en masse to honor the past, celebrate the present, and define the future of interior design and architecture in light of the current climate.

And of course, it was done with an elegant French twist.

Yes, Paris Design Week happened live and in person. Among other gracious spaces, the galleries along the rue de Turenne and rue Froissart were hopping, and the heart of Le Marais was pumping.

Voilà. The highlights:

PARIS DESIGN FACTORY – This exceptional event was earmarked to showcase promising young designers and their works at the Galeries Joseph at 116 rue de Turenne and rue Froissart, and at the Espace Commines in the fashionable Le Marais district. Factory unveiled the next generation's design-driven interpretation of a world arguably more in need of social change than ever.

Atelier Super


became a window through which international design was seen by intrigued onlookers. Both contemporary pieces from the South African gallery Art of Connection, and the D17/20 workshop, which illustrates a lively exchange between French designers and the craftspeople of Southeast Asia, were part of this engaging exhibition.

DESIGN IN GREEN MODE - Designers and consumers alike, fostered by social networks, are acknowledging the environmental impact of the objects that surround them. An important installation within the popular, fashion-forward department store Le BHV MARAIS highlighted the latest in green design, and demonstrated the store's commitment to social betterment. An entire "sustainable apartment" was staged within the building, created in collaboration with the Confédération Européenne du Lin et du Chanvre (CELC) and Constance Gennari, founder of The Socialite Family.

VIADUC DES ARTS - The one-off destination for artistic craftsmanship in Paris presented custom-made, timeless creations, precious and rare materials, and charismatic signature pieces. On the occasion of its 25th anniversary, Viaduc des Arts invited masters of arts and crafts - plus a wide range of industry professionals - to unveil their newest works in the "Matières à Design," organized at the Institut National des Métiers d'Art.

Dan Yeffet Design Studio for Collection Particuliere

MANUFACTURES DE LUX - Under the direction of French lighting editor Disderot, the regarded lighting showroom featured lamps by Serge Mouille, Lignes de démarcation, Rispal, and Fosfens ( its debut!) emblematic of French savoir-faire.

EMPREINTES - Located in the heart of the Haut-Marais, Paris, the unconventional concept store, purveyor of thousands of limited edition pieces by French artists, centered itself around the theme of "(Re)birth" during Paris Design Week. Empreintes was imagined as a “real destination,” taking pause from fast-paced urban consumerism to offer one-of-a-kind pieces exclusively fabricated from materials found in nature.

Woodturner Maxime Perrolle's sculptures play with curvature, light, and balance.

ALLEGORIES BY PIERRE GONALONS - The celebrated interior architect and designer was invited by the National Archives Museum to present his solo exhibition at the Hôtel de Soubise (the Prince of Soubise's 18th-century apartments). There, Gonalons revealed previously unreleased contemporary pieces made with the enamels of Longwy, Masiero, and Mineral Expertise, which strikingly contrasted the 18th century setting.

Vase Chou

MAISON POUENAT - The French manufacturer, known for its collaboration with the world's finest architects and designers, proudly launched its first collection with incomparable interior architecture partners Humbert & Poyet. “Metamorphosis” presents a contemporary twist on traditional ironwork with wonderfully bold, ornamental designs inspired by the Art Deco movement and designs from the 1950s and 1970s.

EXPOSITION AD INTERIEURS– Every year at PDW, Architectural Digest recognizes ten talents who embody the hottest trends in the decoration of private homes, commercial projects, and product. This year, AD France turned its focus to the the French Haute Décoration family, including Charles Zana, Tristan Auer, Gilles & Boissier, Laura Gonzalez, and Vincent Darré.

French architect Tristan Auer

The capsule collection Premieracte - a collaboration between Atelier Tristan Auer, Wilson Associates, Red Edition, and Lelièvre Paris - was inspired by Parisian theatres and upscale hotels.

MANUFACTURE DES EMAUX DE LONGWY – Truly a showstopper, the historic earthenware factory - best associated with its famous Longwy enamels - presented its Fall/Winter 2020 series. Exclusive new creations by photographer Nicolas Blandin, artist Michaël Cailloux, designer India Mahdavi, and other illustrious talents were showcased.

While nothing can compare to actually being there, here's hoping that if travel restrictions kept you from attending Paris Design Week, this recap serves as the next best thing.

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