Even after hours of trawling the crowded aisles of the horrendously huge Maison et Objet trade fair, the svelte simplicity, à la Jean Prouvé, of a red-lacquered birch table and chair called Arsène caught the eye on the Talents à la Carte stand. The French duo responsible for it, designer Guillaume Delvigne and architect Vincent Eschalier, had an equally Prouvé-esque objective: to find a mass retail distributor for their Hong Kong-manufactured table and chairs, which are shipped flat in home-assembly kits.

The French collaborators met while working with London-and-Paris-based Australian design star Marc Newson. Together they have also designed an art bookshop for top Paris gallery owner Emmanuel Perrotin. On his own, Delvigne has done limited editions for Tools Galerie in Paris and a bar for Ricard distillers, while Eschalier is project chief for Newson’s currently stalled London hotel project, in collaboration with architect Sebastien Segers, geared toward the London Olympics. www.guillaumedelvigne.comwww.vincenteschalier.com

Also in the Talents section was another remarkable duo, Amaury Poudray and Rémi Bouhaniche, showing their USIN-e custom designs. Their innovative Triomphe table has a superlight top made of eight layers of veneer—seven oak and one wengé—on hardwood legs. The table and its matching chairs are made by master cabinetmaker Jérôme Vigné (whose company is called Jerhome) using only tension and glue—no nails or screws. Other light-hearted USIN-e objects include Air 3, a metal and glass aquarium, and Papa, a colorful fiber- or horsehair-coiffed stool. website

Originally published in the April 2011 issue of France Today