With high-end interior design event Maison & Objet Asia currently taking place, we speak to Regina Chan, the show’s director, who reveals what to expect from the event and looks to the future of design in the region
How does Maison & Objet (M&O) Asia differ from a typical trade show?
It is the most experiential design event in Asia-Pacific, featuring a curated exhibition, a summit and an award showcase. M&O Asia focuses on high-end interior design concepts, solutions and products. Other trade shows in the region are mainly about allowing attendees to source certain type of products.
What can interior designers and architects take from the show?
They can expect to gain industry insights through attending our Interior Design and Lifestyle Summit, inspiration through discovering the showcase and special installations in the curated exhibition, and business opportunities through the M&O Asia network.
Is it suitable for homeowners to attend as well?
Yes, especially for property developers who would like to meet different types of design talents and artisans from the region, as well as to understand the key developments in terms of trends and offerings in other markets.
Thirty percent of the brands on display will be from Asia. How important is it to present Asian brands at the event?
Our target is to carry 50% of top Asian brands in our show. M&O Asia is here for Asian designers and artisans who are ready to shine in the region. Our platform promises the highest quality of show content, visitor profile and business opportunities for them.
Are many Southeast Asian brands represented? What is the Southeast Asian design scene like?
We say there are only two markets in Asia-Pacific for high-end interior design and decor – China and the rest. The rest basically refers to Southeast Asia. For example, both Thailand and the Philippines are in leading positions in terms of design. They have some of the most creative talents and fine production in Southeast Asia and, yes, you will meet these people at M&O Asia. Singapore doesn’t have production, but the multidisciplinary and entrepreneurial spirit of Singaporean designers pushes them constantly to reinvent and challenge the existing boundaries in design. The regional scene is full of possibilities for anyone who dares to act and think.
In your opinion, what does the future of design hold? How are our lifestyles likely to change over the next five to ten years?
More and more young people can afford better lifestyles and are more confident about themselves. These people value design over brands or luxury. They understand the importance of being creative so they will keep asking for creative design. Design will become more relevant to more people.
We are also more sensitive to our own needs, therefore our lifestyles will become more personalised. From interior design to furniture and accessories, our choices have to be bespoke as well as easy
Which brands are not to be missed at M&O Asia?
This year, we cherry-picked 180 brands for the curated exhibition. There are also special installations such as concept cafés. It will be hard to miss anything.
Are there any particularly inspiring pieces that you’ve come across this year?
Finished products tend to keep you focused on their aesthetic and functionality. I am more interested in installations because they invite me to think about the relationship between products and the space. M&O Asia will have a few installations that promise to inspire, such as the one curated by our 2016 Asia Designer of the Year, André Fu.
“Lines of beauty” – Maison&Objet Asia brought together some of the region’s most gifted designers, proving that Southeast Asia is bubbling with ideas and creativity