x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 December 2017

Dubai's Maison du Monde: homeware store that offers a little bit of everything 

Hala Khalaf takes a look inside Dubai's Maison du Monde, a new homeware store that offers a little bit of everything 

Hanging glass sphere, in Maisons du Monde's Urban Garden collection. Reem Mohammed / The National
Hanging glass sphere, in Maisons du Monde's Urban Garden collection. Reem Mohammed / The National

There’s no single, straightforward way to describe the aesthetic of French homeware store Maisons du Monde.

The brand, founded in 1996 in Nantes in the south of France, has finally ventured out of Europe to open its first store in the Middle East, in Dubai’s City Center Mirdif. In its home country, the boutique has become synonymous with affordable, chic interior decor items, but the real appeal is that it caters to a wide range of tastes.

“If you don’t know what appeals to you from all the different decor trends and styles out there, you will be able to figure it out when you walk into Maisons du Monde,” says Gilles Petit, the brand's CEO, who visited Dubai from France to attend the store’s official opening celebrations.

Petit is not far off the mark. The furniture items and home accessories that are available in the 500-square-metre-store can decorate everything from a nautical, Hamptons-like beach house to a minimalist Scandinavian lobby, a shabby chic bedroom with a vintage feel to a more retro kitchen reminiscent of the 1970s, or a lived-in country house to a modern, edgy penthouse in a sprawling metropolis. And whatever is currently “in” - from cactus-inspired motifs to bronze pineapple statuettes to animal figurines and faux fur throws - is here, arranged according to style and colour.

“It is our way of being unique,” explains Petit. “We release two decor collections per year, and there are six different themes with each collection.”

Urban Garden pink Flamingo statuette, at Maisons du Monde, City Centre Mirdif shopping mall, Dubai. Reem Mohammed / The National
Urban Garden pink Flamingo statuette, at Maisons du Monde, City Centre Mirdif shopping mall, Dubai. Reem Mohammed / The National

The themes are unashamedly trend-based. Most popular at the moment is the Green Addict collection, which features items in every shade of green, with porcelain cacti and faux succulents aplenty. The So Blush theme, meanwhile, features cushions, trays, vases and more in millennial pink, the colour du jour, which covers everything from a traditional pink to shades of salmon and apricot, and even a pale blush colour.

“We have identified a growing trend linking catwalk fashion and home design, with prints and colours from the runway accessorising our customers’ home - a strength we found within the Maisons du Monde brand and products,” says Shireen El Khatib, fashion CEO for Majid Al Futtaim, which has entered into a franchise partnership with Maisons du Monde to bring the brand to Dubai.

It’s an oft-abused statement, but in this instance it’s true: Maison du Monde is a one-stop shop for decorating every single room in your home, from the bathroom all the way to your outdoor areas. Mirrors, light fixtures, curtains and side tables vie for space among leather couches, baskets in all shapes and sizes, area rugs, quirky stationery, wall art and rose gold cutlery.

And pricing really is reasonable. “With such a wide range of items - we have over 12,000 products - we also provide a wide range of prices,” says Petit. “You can find cushions for EUR9 [Dh39] all the way to EUR50 [Dh216], so it’s affordable for all.”

A set of three wooden nesting tables comes in at Dh515; a large porcelain cactus is Dh60; a leather and suede cushion in millennial pink with a gold trim is Dh105; wall art is available from Dh60; a brass tray with a stencil design is Dh120; and baskets start at as little as Dh30.

The kitchenware section of the store. Reem Mohammed / The National
Baskets galore, in pastel shades. Reem Mohammed / The National

And as to why Dubai was chosen as the store’s first international location outside of Europe, Petit says the answer is obvious. “Dubai has the best customers,” he says. “It’s consumer driven and it’s the best city to start in, in the Middle East.”

El Khatib adds: “Dubai is the launch pad for the region, so it makes sense to start here. We were delighted to discover this brand, because it’s genuinely unique to what’s out there when it comes to home accessories and interior decor.”

So what’s your style? If you can’t decide whether you prefer the classic, romantic, colourfully exotic or contemporary aesthetic, or if you’re more inclined to go for antiques or perhaps a more industrial look, fear not. You’ll figure it out as soon as you spend a little bit of time in the store that has it all.

Our favourite finds

Green Addict Cactus at Maisons du Monde. Reem Mohammed / The National
Green Addict Cactus at Maisons du Monde. Reem Mohammed / The National

Macramé wall hangings

Given how expensive this trendy form of wall art – a fusion of knots and plenty of fringe – is these days, imagine our surprise to come across a perfectly sized macramé wall hanging for only Dh105. An honourable mention has to go to the macramé plant hangers as well; our favourite was only Dh55 and came with a mint-green planter.

Faux-fur pillows

Millennial pink (or rose quartz, to be exact), may have been Pantone’s colour of the year last year, but it’s a shade that’s not going away any time soon, perhaps because it’s the perfect shade of blush to soften one’s home. We found an incredibly soft, faux-fur pillow in the warm shade for only Dh80, including the inner cushion.

Baskets galore

Can one ever have enough baskets? Whether to corral toys, toilet paper or magazines, or to hold cushions, throws and extra blankets, baskets are guaranteed to cosy up a home, and Maisons du Monde’s collection rivals that of any store we’ve seen in town, both in terms of variety of colours and price. A few were only Dh30, the large ones were about Dh155, and an extra-large version dipped with turquoise colouring, was priced at Dh205.

Decorative wooden panels

Instead of a floor-length mirror to decorate your entrance, why not change things up with an embellished wooden panel instead? We found one painted in white with plenty of distressing to add character. Better yet, buy two and use them to add symmetry to a wall, or cover up those pesky electricity and phone outlets. Each one costs Dh465 – so you get a huge statement piece for under Dh500.

Cacti and trays aplenty

If you want to be on-trend, you’ll need a cactus, in some shape or form, in your home. Maisons du Monde carries cactus-inspired elements in every shape and size, starting at as little as Dh15. Place a few on a brass or mirrored tray (Dh45) or nestled up to a geometric vase (Dh60). Or buy some wall art featuring cacti. Our favourite featured a wooden frame surrounding a bronze cactus for only Dh50. And to take the trend even further, pick up a stylish gold metal pineapple jewellery box for Dh140 – Maisons du Monde CEO Gilles Petit’s favourite item in the store. “It’s our bestseller, which is why I love it so much,” says Petit, of the popular item.

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