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International home decoration, giftware and tableware exhibition
If Maison et Objet is anything to go by, this year is the year of the planter. Mirrors too were in plentiful supply and we won't be short of a coat hook or two. Maison et Objet, the French capital's biannual showcase of new furniture, fabrics, kitchenware and all manner of household trimmings, took place over last weekend in the eight cavernous halls of the Parc d'Exposition to the north of Paris.
We honed our focus on the contemporary, on the (modern) craft and on the high-end furnishings, and found it to be exceptionally multinational. It always is to a certain extent, but a few more flags were flying this year. As is often the case the Scandinavians, and in particular the Danes, were dominating. Evermore established brands Muuto, &Tradition, Ferm Living, Normann Copenhagen and Menu are now strong staples, and always oblige with unmissable additions to their effortlessly stylish home décor collections.
But home turf was well-represented too with great new collaborations at Hartô (Tomas Kral), Coedition (Patrick Jouin and Patricia Urquiola), Specimen Editions (Thinkk Studio and Studio 248), LCDA (Matali Crasset), Bernardaud (Marina Abramović) and - one of our favourites this year - the Basque marble brand, Retegui who engaged the talents of the Belgian designer Sylvain Willenz.
Considered collaborations were also in evidence at Brit brands Ercol, who have teamed with Paola Navone for their latest sofa and chair, at CTO Lighting who have paired with Stéphane Parmentier, and at London-based De La Espada who launched new pieces with collaborators Luca Nichetto, Autoban, Neri & Hu and Matthew Hilton.
Other nations making their presence felt were Japan, with a growing number of craftsmen and small companies represented, particularly in the table top arena (as ever Sfera charmed, and the work of Nodate and Hasami Porcelain impressed) - and Mexico. Heritage silverware brand Tane made its first appearance with new work from London-based Bodo Sperlein, while the Talents a la Carte feature (a regular Hall 7 installation of fresh talent) shone the light on young Mexican designers FOAM & Perla Valtierra, Christian Vivanco, Paul Roco, Liliana Ovalle, Cooperativa Panorámica and Studio David Pompa.
The showrooms and galleries in the city were slightly quieter on the design front. Tried and trusted destinations triumphed - with fresh new works from young designers such as Brit van Nerven and Sabine Marcelis, Giopato & Coombes at Galerie Bensimon, pieces by Charles Kalpakian at BSL, and a great show from Austrian designer Robert Stadler at the Carpenters Workshop.
Quiet it may have been, but if it leaves time for retail relief in our shopping meccas, Merci and Monoprix, we leave smiling.
PARIS TRADE FAIR HOTELS
There are plenty of reasons to join us FOR THE MAISON ET OBJET PARIS Trade Fair .
You will meet knowledgeable industry leaders who will address a range of topics, link informative strategies for building your business, and learn how European demographics and psychographics differ from those in the U.S.
Put simply, if you want to tap into the vital European business market, you need to be at the MAISON ET OBJET PARIS Trade Fair and Trade Show with TTI Travel, the Trade Fair Travel Specialists!
Visit a doctor.
Get a physical and update your vaccines. Depending on what country you are traveling to, you may need particular immunizations. Carry your medications with you on the plane so in the event your luggage is lost, you will have your daily meds on hand. Request a computerized medication list from your pharmacist in case of a medical emergency. And finally, check your insurance policy to confirm you are covered medically overseas, and if not buy travel health protection and medical evacuation insurance to be fully prepared.
Arrive at your destination country early.
Get the lay of the land by arriving a day or two before your meeting and hire a local guide to show you around. Contact the concierge at your hotel for recommendations on who to hire. Request the guide speak English so you can communicate and ask for helpful hints and tips that will be useful while you are visiting and doing business. Ask the concierge and your guide for suggestions of restaurants, coffee shops, and unique sites that are both safe and well regarded.
Give the U.S. State Department a heads up.
Notify the U.S. State Department and sign up to receive important information from the embassy about safety conditions, and be available via text or email should they need to contact you for travel alerts, natural disasters, or other emergencies. Utilize programs such as, "Stay Informed, Stay Connected, Stay Safe!" Smart Traveler Enrollment Program and refer to U.S. Passports and International Travel website for more information.
Contact your credit card company.
Nothing brings your trip to a screeching halt faster than frozen funds. Be sure to let your credit card company know when and where you'll be traveling so you can avoid the frantic call to unlock your card. Credit cards with magnetic strips are not always accepted by businesses, and some establishments do not accept credit cards at all, so make sure to carry a fair amount of local currency to avoid being caught off guard.
Make copies of important documents.
Make duplicates of the following: passport, driver's license, credit/debit cards, birth certificate, and insurance cards. Leave a set of copies at home or with someone you trust to retrieve the information. Pack another set carefully in your carry-on bag. Take a picture of your credit cards and security codes in case you need to access them immediately.
Anticipate technology challenges.
It may be difficult to find a place to charge your cell phone in the middle of the day while traveling. Consider bringing a backup solar powered battery charger. Depending on the country, you might need adaptors for your technology and electronics. Rather than bringing a suitcase full of hair tools and adaptors, invest in a less expensive hair straightener or curling iron when you arrive and use the hotel blow dryer. Even with an adaptor, some electronics can't handle the difference in voltage and will easily burn out.
Research your phone's travel capabilities.
Make a call to your cell phone company and discuss your options. I've found it worth the expense to purchase a travel calling plan when spending time abroad. Text messages and downloading any kind of data will quickly add up without a travel plan. Double check your phone settings and turn off "data fetch" for any programs on your phone that update on their own (i.e. Facebook). This will conserve your data until it's needed.
Brush up on the local language. You can test your skills using an app on your phone such as Duolingo or Google Translate. Don't underestimate a good old fashioned phrase book to get you through simple interactions. Familiarize yourself with the basics beforehand such as, "Hello," "Good-bye," "Excuse me," "My name is _____," "Nice to meet you," "Please," "Thank you," and "Where is the restroom?" to use as you go about your trip.
Photograph your luggage. Anyone who has had the unfortunate experience of losing their luggage can attest that trying to describe to an airport representative what your luggage looks like (i.e. black with wheels) can be vague. A baggage claim ticket is useful, but often lost during the flight and numerous layovers. Make an effort to attach something notable to your suitcases and take a picture of your baggage with your cell phone. Now you can easily identify your luggage in the sea of black bags.
Do your homework. Cultural customs differ from country to country, and it's always prudent to be prepared before you arrive. For example, some countries encourage tipping while others do not. Some regions are close communicators while others are more reserved. It's in your best interest to know something about the culture, etiquette, religion, business values, and particular communication styles before landing on foreign soil.
TTI Travel International Trade Fair Travel Tips
Taking care of details before you depart can make the difference between a smooth trip and a traveling nightmare. Here are a few first steps to get you started on the right foot: