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New talent soars in Maison&Objet 2024 Rising Talent Awards

This year, the Maison&Objet team has set its compass towards the Arctic Circle to choose the winners of the 2024 Rising Talents Awards. In keeping with tradition, the winners are all under the age of 35 and launched their studios less than five years ago. The geographical area covers the Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, plus Finland and Iceland. The vast glow of the midnight sun bathes the land in a light most fertile for design.

'The Nordic countries as a whole are extremely dynamic and underpinned by a rich history, world-renowned talent, and considerable expertise. Northern Europe has a different relationship with time and natural materials, which are often left in their rawest state. The younger generation is asserting its new language, often close to those of Craft and Collectible Design,' says Dereen O'Sullivan, head of the Rising Talents Awards at Maison&Objet.

Here is some of the talent acknowledged by the Maison&Objet jury:

Christian + Jade, the philisophy behind the materials

Christian Hammer Juhl, 33, is Danish, and Jade Chan, 29, was born in Singapore. Both studied at the Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands. They founded their studio together in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Maison&Objet: 'Aluminium, glass, wood... Why are your objects always made of a single material?'

Jade: 'Instead of combining different materials, we prefer to delve into all the facets of a singular one. All too often, objects are disconnected from their original history. You buy an object, and it tells you nothing about the hands that have handled it or how it came to be. We are committed to rethinking what makes these objects so valuable.'

Christian: 'Where was this piece of wood grown? What are the properties of this variety? That is our starting point.'

M&O: 'Could you tell us some of your stories?'

Christian: 'During our residency at Schloß Hollenegg Castle in Austria, we created a glass fountain that flows into a series of stemmed goblets. It was made using 17 kilogrammes of sand sourced from a tunnel that runs under the castle. Its composition gives it a characteristic green hue. The castle belongs to the House of Lichtenstein, which produces wine. This fountain is designed to share the fruit of this land in glasses made from its sand.'

Ali Shah Gallefoss - The joys of the unexpected

Ali Shah Gallefoss, 35, grew up in Bergen in Norway. He now lives and works in Oslo. He began his career as a buyer of luxury ready-to-wear fashion, which led him to travel from Paris to Milan at an early age. He then went on to study at the Bergen Academy of Art and Design, before obtaining a Master's Degree at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts.

Maison&Objet: 'Why opt for a very artistic expression rather than industrial design?'

Ali: 'At the time, industrial design just didn't inspire anything in me. It all felt like a rehash of the golden age of the 1960s. Scandinavian design is very well done, and very subtle, but a little tedious. Why shouldn't you be able to feel the rain, see the colours of the weather, experience the ruggedness of the mountains? It's all so beautiful. That's why I went for a slightly more artistic design. I'd like my artistic research to feed into future manufactured series.'

M&O: 'What is your relationship with your materials?

Ali: 'When you draw too much, you lose something along the way. I prefer to let the materials express themselves on their own. For example, to create my Sandcasted Table, I poured molten aluminium onto a sandy landscape with reliefs. The metal thus created its own movements, and the end result is a smooth, flat façade on top, with a surface that retains the memory of the sand below, full of craters. I like happy accidents. When something goes wrong and surprises me, that brings me joy.'

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