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Whether neo-baroque, nomad chic or all-out

glamour, your polychrome style and its blend

of bold patterns, flower prints and different

eras certainly makes heads turn. How would you

describe it?

India Mahdavi – My style is the expression of my

intuitive reaction to a place or a person, seen through

my eyes. No two projects are never alike, but they all

have a common goal: to offer strong, independent

identities that stick in people’s minds. Each space is

the starting point for a new story to be told. I listen,

and I reply. Then it takes off!

How do you work?

I create an ambiance on top of visual, structural

elements in order to create references that draw

the eye. In the similar way to photography, I

construct the foreground – the subject – and the

scenery, as that’s what remains longest in your

memory. I then design the furniture and the

decorative objects that connect with the senses. In

an increasingly digital environment, in which life

is lived through different screens, I think we need

to counterbalance this dematerialisation with

textures, shapes and colours that appeal to the

senses. That’s my work: offering people comfort

and well-being in any circumstances.

Colours play a primordial role in your artistic

world. Can you tell us why?

I’m “colour-sensitive”! I work on colour with

complete freedom, treating it as a material that

brings light, energy and joy to any space. At the

restaurant Le Germain, the primary colours crash

into each other, whereas at the Café Français, I

used gold shades, red and blue. Occasionally a

space inspires a certain colour straight away. For

example, the pink tones in The Gallery at Sketch

in London, which I used in a rather radical way!

Restaurants, hotels or private residences…

what’s your favourite?

I like alternating between scales, problems, rhythms

and countries. It’s fun and inspiring. A good client

makes a good project. The person with whom I talk

and interact. The success of a project partly depends

on the quality of this exchange.

What are your projects over the next fewmonths?

I’m busy! I have the opening of a Ladurée tea room

at the Hôtel des Bergues in Geneva, the inauguration

of the second floor of KaDeWe department store

in Berlin, focused solely on fashion, a boat design

project, a collaborative project with REDValentino,

private residences in the United States, France

and Gstaad in Switzerland, and the continued

development of my brand, which has just celebrated

its 15th anniversary.

www.india-mahdavi.com

1. Le Show Room de la rue Las Cases.

2. Salon Red Valentino.

India Mahdavi

BARNES LUXURY HOMES l 12

A lesson

in style

Architect and designer India

Mahdavi sees every space as a

new story waiting to be told. The

subtle, always unexpected harmony

between the shapes, textures and

colours of her projects have afforded

her international renown. We sat

down with this multitalented artist.

Textures,

shapes and

colours that

appeal to the

senses

INTERVIEW

Architect

Her original education. “I’ve returned to my roots

with a housing project in Iran. I want to work on a

different scale, and I now have the experience, the

tools and the maturity needed to take on this new

challenge.”

Designer

“The Italian Ettore Sottsass (1917 – 2007) is the

designer I admire most. I love the incredible freedom

in his work with colours and materials. His projects

are as much design pieces as they are works of art.”

Inspiration

India Mahdavi has kept her vivid memories of

colours in the 1960s from her childhood in the

United States, and the memory of a waterbed…

“For the Townhouse Hotel in Miami, I wanted to

include a swimming pool, which was just impossible

because of the infrastructure and the budget.

Instead, I designed a vast, L-shaped sofa made of

different waterbeds on the rooftop lounge, covered

in red fabrics and cushions. This project was a huge

success, and it launched my career in the United

States!”

Las Cases

At 3, Rue Las Cases in Paris, India Mahdavi’s fully

renovated showroom is “more open, more luxurious

and more complete. It suits me perfectly.” Her studio

is at number 5 and her boutique of little objects is at

number 19. “This street embodies my ‘eco-system’.

My team and I have a full environment in which we

can design, create, sell and promote my work as a

designer.”

Travel

“I left Iran as a little girl to live in the United States,

then moved to Germany and France, at a time when

that was just unheard of. I’ve always been that

girl who comes from somewhere else. And it is this

concept of ‘elsewhere’ I look for every time I travel,

which serves as a constant source of inspiration.”.

Architecte

Sa formation initiale. « J’y reviens avec un projet d’immeuble d’habitation en

Iran. J’ai envie de travailler à une autre échelle. J’ai l’expérience, les outils et la maturité

nécessaires pour relever ce nouveau challenge. »

Designer

« Celui que j’admire le plus est l’Italien Ettore Sottsass (1917-2007). J’aime son

incroyable liberté dans le travail de la couleur et de la matière. Ses réalisations tiennent

autant du design que de l’art. »

Inspirations

De son enfance américaine, India Mahdavi a conservé la mémoire des

couleurs des sixties. Et le souvenir d’un water-bed. « Pour l’hôtel le TownHouse, à Miami, je

voulais une piscine, ce qui était impossible à cause des infrastructures et du budget. Sur le

toit-terrasse, j’ai conçu un grand canapé en L constitué de water-beds, recouverts de tissu

rouge et de coussins. Le lieu a connu un succès fou et a lancé ma carrière dans ce pays ! »

Las Cases

Au n°3 de la rue Las Cases à Paris, le showroom d’India Mahdavi, entièrement

rénové, « plus ouvert, plus luxueux et plus abouti, me correspond bien ». Au n°5, son studio

et au n°19, sa boutique de petits objets. « Cette rue incarne mon “écosystème”. Avec mon

équipe, nous disposons d’un environnement complet pour créer, fabriquer, vendre et faire la

promotion de mon travail de designer. »

Voyage

« Petite, j’ai quitté l’Iran pour habiter aux États-Unis puis en Allemagne et en France, à

une époque où personne ne le faisait. J’ai toujours été la fille d’ailleurs. C’est cet ailleurs que je

recherche dans chaque voyage. Car tout y est source d’inspiration pour moi. »

BARNES LUXURY HOMES l 13

Words I love

3. Tabouret Bishop, sa pièce iconique.

4. Le rooftop du Townhouse Miami,

point de départ d’une grande carrière américaine

INTERVIEW

1.

2.

4.

3.

© Derek Hudson

© Benjamin Decoin