Just like all fairs this season, also Maison & Objet approach the sustainability issue. Here are my thoughts on their approach.
Heimtexil, Domotex and IMM at Cologne had clearly stated that they are working with sustainability this year. And it is of course something Maison&Objet do as well. However with a slight shift. They rather talk about the new consumers, the Millennials and the younger ones, and to this audience sustainability is key. Here you can read about this approach from the fair.
So how do they do? What do we see at this fair? How is the industry doing?
Out of 3 000 brands at the fair a very low percentage communicate around these questions. Walking and estimating… Not 10 % have signs like these on the wall. This doesn’t mean the others DON’T do sustainable products. It’s just quite evident that it’s not important enough. Or a good selling point.
As an example look at OHH Deer. This is a British brand doing posters, stationary and cards. Funny and nice. But nowhere is there a sign that these posters are FSC certified and that it is printed with sustainable ink, or that they have taken away plastic wrapping that is so common with greeting cards. It is amazing.
So. Looking at a fair with sustainability in mind is extremely difficult.
I absolutely found some extremely nice products. As always. Here a disposable barbeque. Fantastic.
Last year (also exhibiting this year) was this foldable grill. You make your food on the beach with only solar power.
Or these amazing rugs made of cork from Portugal.
But the majority of the exhibitors talk about sustainability like this. This is Ferm Living. These containers or boxes are made of paper pulp and a fantastic solution. But there is no communication around it. I had to ask…
We see most clear examples of interesting sustainable design in the section where you have the smaller objects. Hall 1, 2 or 3.
There are a lot of different angles. Some recycle plastics to make new objects.
These phone cords are actually made of recycled fish nets.
I saw some examples of newer materials. Not so much, byt a few. Here hemp. In general I must say that the textile industry together with the paper industry have come the longest. It’s like they have been working with these question for years, so they kind of have found their way of talking about these things. The furniture industry – not so much.
Scandinavian brands like Ooh Living or Lubech Living have come really, really far. I was talking to a buyer and she said that when she was walking around the fair and when someone heard she as from Scandinavia, then they showed here the sustainable collection that wasn’t necessarily on display. Maybe Scandinavians and Scandinavian design have come a bit further than other design?
To sum it up. Sustainability is on the agenda. The fair have tried to endorse it. Points for that. And many points for some great creativity among the exhibitors. I found a lot of fun and eco friendly stuff. A lot.
But – why not make it easier for visitors? Why not make a trend installation with only sustainable stuff? Especially now since the ordinary trend exhibition was kind of a bore… So, please make a huge installation with good eco friendly stuff. Please.