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Maison&Objet's Observatoire has completed its 13th inspirations booklet, with a focus on simplicity; it's a preview of the trends and influences to watch for in 2009 in the design world.

In a world that is complex and uncertain, disorganised and congested, future scenarios are leaning towards the essentials. Earth and land are more precious. Urbanites, yearning to plant some roots, value a proper balance between the city and the country. Nature and technology are finally bringing man back to the heart of the ecosystem. Make way for the elegance of humble and modest items. Touch some wood. It's a beautiful way to live.

The next Maison&Objet show in Paris, September 5-9, identified three major movements and asked its four favourite "trendsetters" to illustrate them.

- "Slow Tech": Slow down for a better life. François Bernard recommends a break from a dematerialised world. Soft technology brings us back to nature in accordance with a philosophy of simplified living. This style is also inspired by the industrial esthetics of the designer-engineers of the previous century. Heavy and appeasing shapes cultivate a solid and reassuring elegance. The home takes on some substance, rejecting the disposable society. 

- "Les Métropuritains": Line up for ecosurvival. Nelly Rodi's style department is bringing out new resistance from the "Metropuritains." Camouflaged under the appearance of an elegant stripping-down, these ecologically minded urbanites are claiming a lifestyle of asceticism and rigour that borders on the military. Militants of a healthy-life ecology are ready to boost survival utopias and frugality tinged with glamour. An overtly radical simplicity. 

- "Farm Life": Back to the land. Elizabeth Leriche clears away the fields for a new "agri-culture." The simple pleasures of a rural life invigorate values attributed to the land and our roots. In a time of soaring urbanisation, a rustic style is firmly planting its roots in the soil. The beauty of the flora and fauna in the agricultural world is rediscovered. Deep-rooted objects cultivate the peaceful authenticity of raw materials and country know-how.

Ah, how peaceful a life it is, or almost...

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