AT Europe: Paris - Valérie Boy at Salon Maison et Objet

It was love at first sight. A few years ago, I found the perfect light sculpture for a dark corner of my apartment by an artist working in Brittany named Valérie Boy ...

It was the first annual pre-Christmas Salon de la Récup, that featured a few dozen up-and-coming artists working mostly with recuperated materials, taking place a few doors down from me at the Espace Blanc Manteaux. “Féérie Florale” was a six-foot-tall rectangular piece of white powder-coated metal out of which Valérie Boy had hand-cut a spray of flowers. She strung waterproof Christmas lights on the backside of the piece, which looked like a carved sculpture by day, and a poetic constellation of glowing flower-fairy lights (or stars from across the room) by night.

We made a deal (including that I would pay her in three installments and that she could keep the model until the end of the 10-day salon, for others to see and eventually order). And on New Years day, she hand-delivered it and installed it on the wall of my apartment. It makes me sigh with happiness every time I light it.

And soon I won’t be the only one. Valérie Boy won the Prix de la Découverte at the bi-annual professionals-only design gathering, Maison et Objet, in 2004. And wandering the mob scene at this year’s final installment, I was taken by a light fixture that looked like Valérie’s work, only with a less handmade edge.

It was in fact a preview of her new collection for SCE -- and I’m told, will soon be appearing in the window of the BHV, Galeries Lafayette and a few other key Paris lighting stores. SCE has streamlined the cuts of her design and installed a changing light LED.

The new collection has more polish than the original, but the light sculptures still gracefully walk the line between art and adornment -- and will come in a number of shapes, patterns and sizes.

- Kristin Hohenadel blogging from rue Vieille du Temple, Paris, France. She can be reached at kristinh @ apartmenttherapy . com