How Maison & Objet 2021 Reflected a Shift in Consumer Desires
Trend forecaster Vincent Grégoire tells us why desire and the senses are central to the future of consumption
Why was the theme ‘Desirable Development’ chosen to illustrate this new edition of Maison & Objet?
This new theme reflects a basic premise: consumers want solutions that are simple, positive, fluid and, most of all, do them good. Until now, sustainable development was often a moralising injunction. Desirable development gives pleasure pride of place while respecting nature in a beneficial approach. It’s an idea that is at once positive and creative.
Today, consumers are conscious of global warming, of the need to limit their consumption and its waste and their carbon footprint … From now on, the idea is to place desire once again at the heart of these environmental stakes, by avoiding catastrophising discourse or assigning blame.
Desirable development responds to a subtle equilibrium that translates to a lifestyle in harmony with nature, by leaning on technologies while preserving traditional know-how. From now on, we’ll talk about alternative consumption, rather than de-consumption.
How do you explain ‘sustainable’ transitioning into ‘desirable’?
The need for desirability and this quest for meaning was already part of the zeitgeist. The pandemic overturned what was fundamental to us and placed many of our patterns in question, accelerating the need for humanity, simplicity and solidarity.
2021 is marked by resilience, just as 2022 will be synonymous with rebirth, recreation and reinvention marked by positive energy – redefining our manner of living, consuming and inhabiting. It’s time for optimism!
What are the major themes emerging around desirable development?
Redefining geography We’re noticing a need for proximity, the new development of connections over shorter distances, in reaction to globalisation and internationalisation. This implies a new relationship to space, a re-localisation, a redefinition of geography and a new proximity.
While more and more city-dwellers are leaving the large urban areas, we’re seeing at the same time an urgent need to re-tame the city, to appropriate the urban, by placing value on proximity and restoring the life of the neighbourhood. Local manufacturing, deliveries by tricycle, urban farms and terraces with edible plants illustrate this trend.
Recreating the senses The senses, sensation and sensitivity are at the heart of the desirable. The pandemic made us lose our benchmarks and heightened our senses: our relationship to taste and smell but also to vision and touch.
During lockdown, we were deprived of the people close to us, of everything that surrounds us. The idea emerging from this crisis is sensitivity, even hyper-sensitivity. We must also re-train these senses, which have been undermined by the omnipresence of the digital, by placing the human once again at the heart of our lives.
Valuing learning At the same time, we note a need to place learning and knowledge back at the heart of production and manufacturing processes. Now, consumers inform themselves about the materials used and their provenance, the different stages of production, the packaging or the transformation of a product.
Brands and manufacturers, for their part, deliver pedagogical and playful experiences, thus learning themselves. This step towards knowledge transfer is fundamental for a tendency towards intelligent consumption.
The Danish brand Takt, for example, which comes up with products that need minimal packaging, is committed to complete transparency, from production steps to prices.
Reinventing the artisanal Removing the inhibitions around consumption, and injecting fantasy, audacity and fun into the artisanal, recycling and upcycling are part of the central beliefs of desirable development. The result: pieces that are unique, spontaneous and creative in new ways, committed and sensorially rich.
The success of recycling studios, creative ateliers, crafts such as crochet or macramé, along with objects with pictorial dimensions and totemic furniture pieces, demonstrate the resurgence of artistic reference points in the world of decoration – [for example] in the form of sculptural pieces in chamotte stoneware in bright colours designed by the ceramicist, Audrey Jezic.
What do you think of this new direction? Share your thoughts in the Comments.