SW - Art PRO JNMaison2011
Originally published in STIR®
Jackie discovers a subtle shift to subdued, with gray still the reigning king of neutrals.

The Maison & Objet international trade show is one of the premier interiors events in the world and a personal favorite of mine. Each year, new products are introduced and our job, as trend and color experts, is to detect the subtle – and sometimes not so subtle – direction that color and design are moving so we can share this information with you.

As I traversed Maison & Objet's massive halls, looking for all things new and noteworthy, I realized there was a dichotomy going on: a casual, subdued vibe in some designs, and a determined high energy in others. The latter was articulated by vibrant pops of color that seemed to say, "High-intensity hues are still important!" Gray continues to be a major color story. I saw this sophisticated and popular hue paired with splashy brights for whimsical accent, as well as with more subtle colors, with gray acting as the anchor and foundation. Gray seems to be warming up a bit, too, and heading toward taupe. One of my favorite examples of this was Chris Mestdagh's bedding collection, which showcases this color shift exquisitely. Also, tabletop collections from Society (http://www.societylimonta.com/eng/home.html) told a lovely tonal gray story.

I also found gray tones in wood and saw much less of the "Belgian" style of pale bleached wood that's been popular in the U.S. during the past two years. Almost absent was the artful dissonance depicted by the Rough Luxe trend, as well as bold-hued, high-gloss painted furniture that's been very evident in years past. Finishes were more satin, more subtle and more real.

This, of course, is not to say that there was no color – I encountered some amazing new textile collections that included palettes of almost neon-bright intensity. Yet, at the same time, I saw a high-contrast, black-and-white pattern in a wall covering display in the Editeurs Hall that tells me black and white will reign forever in both classic and contemporary design.