Designing objects that speak of sunlight
Published on 12 June 2016
While one of Paris’s leading design talents, India Mahdavi’s perspective is anything but provincial. Descended from an Egyptian mother and Iranian father, she spent her childhood on the East Coast of the United States and in the South of France before beginning her career working with celebrated French designer Christian Liaigre. Today, under her own auspices, she designs diverse private residences throughout the world. In 2013, in close partnership Joseph Dirand, she worked on the interiors of L’Apogée Courchevel, an Oetker Collection masterpiece hotel.
India Mahdavi designs little objects that lend big effect. A selection of these pillows, baskets and tableware is available in Oetker Collection masterpiece hotel Eden Being boutiques and online, offering guests the opportunity to take home with them an authentic object and a part of their stay as a sort of tangible memory. Mahdavi describes her take on the Collection-wide concept: “Eden Being is sort of a lifestyle, and the ability to physically grasp a piece of that experience and take it home with you. The objects that I’m doing are similar because it’s all about an experience of happiness and an experience of the moment.”
India Mahdavi-designed objects speak for themselves. The designer relates: “They have visual personality. It’s like having an ‘It-bag’ when dressing up and going shopping for yourself. You want something that has immediate value. You want it to say something, like ‘I’m a bit fashionable’, ‘I have colour’, or ‘I just bought a new bag’. It kind of makes you happy. So each object is like, as I say, chatty. It speaks about something. It has colour, it has light, it is sunny. It is supposed to make you happy. Whatever I do has to have some presence. In that way, it eliminates a bunch of products that are just utility products, as I’m not going in that direction.” Leveraging local craftsmanship is also top priority. “These objects are made everywhere in the world according to know-how that I have either used, deformed or modernised. Sometimes I have created an object expressly for a specific know-how. They range from embroidered cushions in India, to cashmere blankets in Nepal, to lacquer work in Vietnam, to wicker baskets in Mexico City, to ceramics in Iran, and glasswork from Bohemia, and so on and so forth. It’s really sort of a small, kind of bizarre, of high-end, well-thought out happy objects.”
Happy objects? In an era when sobriety defines good taste, can one really permit oneself to being so expressive? For India Mahdavi, it’s all about seek-ing the sun: “It has to be sunny. The way I use colours is to replace light, like in this gloomy kind of Parisian weather. I grew up with the sunshine, I miss the sun, the light, just the joy of colours – it puts you in a good mood. It’s true, people are scared to use colour. They’re scared of using space, first of all, and putting colour in space is ‘Oh no, I can’t deal with that. What if I get bored with the colour?’ I like to be bold with colours.” The designer sees her approach, and the objects she produces as its natural extension, as almost like an invitation for people to play. “I thought: What if I put colours in a small quantity, just little pinpoints, then people could eventually get used to it and then say ‘Okay, this is how it works’. With just several cushions, they can be the means to teach people to get used to using colour.” In this way, in the dark of winter, an escape to sunny St. Barths or a bit of India Mahdavi design may be just what the doctor ordered.
India Mahdavi’s products are available at:
Eden Being boutique, Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc
Eden Being boutique, Eden Rock - Saint Barths