Designer Spotlight: Do You Know India Mahdavi?

Designer Spotlight: Do You Know India Mahdavi?

Bethany Seawright
Sep 30, 2011

To me, India Mahdavi's name is a reflection of the designer herself: exotic, feminine, dramatic. It's a name that evokes a chic, global sensibility and one that completely captures the essence of her designs...

India comes by her international world-view honestly. Born of Persian and Egyptian English parents, the designer was named after the country in which she was conceived, during her parent's honeymoon. As a child, she lived the first year and a half of her life in Iran, followed by a globe-trotting path that lead her from Cambridge, Massachusetts to Germany and New York before landing in Paris, where she resides today. Her education, just as varied, began in architecture at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris, followed by a stint in New York, where she studied industrial design and graphic design at the School of Visual Arts and, after that, furniture design at Parsons.

As an international interiors, furniture and objects designer, India's work is influenced by memories of her nomadic life. Each of her projects, be it a bar, restaurant, hotel, private residence or a piece of furniture, carries in it elements that are modern yet familiar. Her style is by turns playful, sexy and chic, and she's not afraid to let her femininity come through in her work.

India grew up wanting to be a filmmaker; therefore, it's not surprising that her interiors have a dramatic, almost theatrical quality to them. In her mind, a space is a three-dimensional story waiting to be told. She admires the work of Stanley Kubrick and Federico Fellini and, when asked by Index Magazine who her heroes were, she laughingly replied, "James Bond... He's sexy, and it always puts me in a good mood when I see him." Kind of like Mahdavi's own work, don't you think?

First Row:
1. Coburg Bar, London 2008
2. Jean-François Piège, Paris 2010
3. Germain, Paris 2009
4. Monte Carlo Beach, Monaco 2009
5. Barclay Prime, Philadelphia 2004

Second Row:
1. The Peacock, Rowsley, Derbyshire (UK) 2004
2. Maison Thoumieux, Paris 2011
3. Condesa DF, Mexico City 2004
4. On Rivington, New York 2005
5. Private residence, New York 2003

Third Row:
1. Bishop - ceramic table/stool
2. Diamonds - bookshelf
3. (Left to right) Kiss me, Luciole, Karaba - lamps
4. Bluffer - sofa
5. Dot - stool

More about India Mahdavi from the AT archives and around the web:
Condesa DF Hotel Interiors by India Mahdavi
Germain: Eye-Popping Interior by India Mahdavi
Interview with India Mahdavi, pt. 1 & Interview with India Mahdavi, pt. 2
India Mahdavi, 2002
Design Lessons from the Condesa DF Mexico City

Images: India Mahdavi, except 11. Ralph Pucci

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