Inside story: Maison Dada

With outrageous pops of colour and unexpected shapes, this design house certainly knows how to grab attention

Maison Dada
Maison Dada

‘The idea behind each Maison Dada piece is to create character,’ says co-founder Thomas Dariel, who, with his partner Delphine Moreau, founded the French-Chinese design house in 2016. ‘We create animated furniture – the asymmetrical shapes and vibrant colours such as cobalt blue and fire-engine red give personality and feeling.’

Dariel, the great-grandson of a French furniture designer, grandson of a jazz musician and son of an architect, moved to China in 2006 to launch an interior-design studio when he was just 24. Travel is a constant source of inspiration, along with the Tang dynasty, 18th-century France, and early-20th-century Viennese figures including Koloman Moser and Josef Hoffmann.

Maison Dada collection furniture
‘Yin & Yang’ chest of drawers, £2,346,
Maison Dada
‘Yiban Yiban’ armchair, £1,968,
‘Yiban Yiban’ armchair, £1,968,
Maison Dada

With Maison Dada (its name a homage to the early-20th-century Dadaist art movement), expect the unexpected – take the ‘P.E.A.C.E’ table lamp, which imitates a Picasso-inspired posy of light globes, and the shape of the base of the ‘Off the Moon’ side table, which is informed by different lunar phases. A set of surrealist candleholders the brand created for Parisian candlemaker Cire Trudon last year borrowed the circus-meets-Calder feel of the existing collection; the same colourful vibe can be felt, too, with the ‘Little Eliah’ lamps, powder-coated in brights with a spherical metal switch.

‘We create animated furniture – the asymmetrical shapes and vibrant colours give personality and feeling’

Maison Dada’s newest collection includes Moroccan-inspired mirrors in partnership with French designer José Lévy, and key pieces designed by Dariel, including the glossy, ridged bone china ‘Du Roy’ stool (named after Guy de Maupassant’s famous character from the novel Bel Ami), manufactured in Jingdezhen and Saint-Amand-les-Eaux, the porcelain capitals of China and France.

‘Sachi Sacha’ table lamp, £519,
‘Sachi Sacha’ table lamp, £519,
Maison Dada

The ‘Sachi Sacha’ table lamps and wall lamps – a nod to Gio Ponti– team lights with arms that act like hats to create differing degrees of illumination; and the smash-hit ‘Yiban Yiban’ armchairs (meaning ‘half half’in Chinese) are a new take on the winged chair, upholstered with a Kvadrat velvet from its Raf Simons collection.

Designing furniture was always Dariel’s greatest dream, after discovering a toothbrush conceived by Philippe Starck. ‘Realising I had the power to create objects was the greatest feeling,’ he says. With Maison Dada, the aim is to have fun, too: ‘I want our pieces to inject the spirit of Dadaism into everyday life.’

This feature appeared in ELLE Decoration September 2019.

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