Paris launched the latest and the best new designs last week at the big international lifestyle, décor and design trade show Maison et Objet, now in its 25th year.
Seemingly endless aisles of furnishings filled eight vast halls in the northern suburbs.
In tandem in the city itself, the Déco Off interiors event unveiled spring fabrics and papers in more than 60 showrooms and pop-up galleries.
Proudly loud and louche at Maison et Objet was Italian brand Seletti, which covered its floor with willow pattern carpet and hung lurid chairs with rude slogans from the ceiling, above swarms of lit-up spacemen, chameleons, rats and robots.
Qeeboo, also Italian, was equally out of hand.
In a fitting tribute to the city as host, its stop-you-in-your-tracks showpiece was a huge floor lamp modelled on the Eiffel Tower, surrounded by luminous gorillas, teddy bears and skulls, with a line of stoic giraffes, crystal chandeliers suspended from their mouths.
Impresario here is veteran designer Stefano Giovannoni. He launched his warren of multicoloured rabbit stools and lights in Milan four years ago, and now they have bred into an international brand.
Animals were everywhere. At French Ibride, an eviscerated deer revealed storage shelves, while tables perched precariously on ostrich pins or stood four-square on canine paws.
Darkroom’s WOODERNISM collection celebrates 10 years with a collection that is made from pigment stained wood
Bizarre prints on aluminium featured hybrids with human hands and rabbit heads, in frocks and ruffs.
Cabinets were softly fringed and dreamlike: no doors, just swish open the fronds. More soberly, circular patio tables were printed with pretty flowers.
From Kent came Debbie Beevor of Quail Ceramics whose menagerie of slip-cast stoneware has jungle/ocean beasts obediently holding flowers and pencils.
“The continentals adore eccentricity and the British do it very well,” she said, comfortably immersed in panthers, zebras, macaws and sloths.
London’s House of Hackney illustrated its own fairy story, with the prettiest of flowers for walls, tasselled cushions, uptight cats and dogs for lamps, and unicorn bookends.
Nearby, Fenella Smith had drawn a host of dog breeds and scattered them on linens, bags and china.
The Show Must Go On, the new range from ceramicist Melody Rose, features bone china dinnerware decorated with circus characters The Amazing Miss Rose, The Wonderful Alfonso and his Performing Pooch, and The Lovely Berta Beeson. The Lovely Berta is a cross-dressing tightrope walker.
Quieter, good-looking furniture and lighting more than held its own against these wilder styles.
Notable was a darkened room where 16 mobiles gently swayed and turned, as super-slender strips of patinated steel improbably supported glowing globes of light.
This was a universally acknowledged triumph for the show’s Designer of the Year, Michael Anastassiades, whose studio is in Camden.
Anastassiades has an impressive string of international clients. These mobile marvels are his own label, and can adapt to any space — you can see one in the COS branch in Regent Street, for example.
Elsewhere, in a similar aesthetic, the Beem group of lovely linear LED lighting was by award-winning Samuel Wilkinson.
Pioneer collection wallpaper in Meadow Goldfield by family partnership MissPrint (Sophie Drury)
Another Londoner, Rhonda Drakeford of Darkroom, brought to Paris coloured furniture in blocks of stained wood. Chopping boards in wood salvaged from construction sites were a nice touch.
Rugs, meanwhile, were abstracts for the floor — for example, Doodles by British artist Faye Toogood, with pleasing scribbles and blocks of colour, delivered by Italian brand cc-tapis.
Jaime Hayón, that mischievous Spanish design maverick, covered a huge rectangle with lines of playful portraits, for Spanish rug maker Nanimarquina.
London fashion designer Nitin Goyal introduced the Aadyam Handwoven label, offering beautiful furnishings by three weavers’ co-operatives in India.
Also in Paris, in a one-day hit, Tom Dixon, London Design Festival’s designer of the year 2019, launched swirly vases that were made from powdered marble waste.