Ahead of her talk ‘My Life In Design’ at Design Days Dubai 2014, the celebrated Paris-based designer India Mahdavi gives Design Carrot an exclusive peek into her world.
Born in Tehran to an Iranian father and Egyptian-British mother, India grew up in the US, Germany and France, with regular visits to her grandmother in Egypt. This cultural mix is beautifully expressed through the works of the Architecture graduate from Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. Be it high-end hotel projects or the furniture and objects that she creates for them, contemporary simplicity, rich texture and colouring – India’s DNA – is evident in the smallest pieces she designs.
This evening, Rue Kothari, Editor of Harper’s Bazaar Interiors Introduces India’s talk ‘My Life In Design’ as part of the Design Days Dubai public program.
Design Carrot (DC): What according to you is the role of designers in today’s world?
India Mahdavi (IM): I feel that role of a designer is to question things. A good designer questions space, programs, function – and it can be at any different scale or level. Once he questions, a designer answers from his or her own personal view point. At least that it what I do.
DC: What brings you to Dubai?
IM: I am here to share my works. With Carwan gallery, I am showcasing a limited edition collection – Landscapes. It is my exploration of our understanding of inside spaces and the outer world. In a way the collection is symbolic of how we live. As you are aware I love colour – nature in all its vibrance was a huge inspiration. I am also showcasing my furniture and furnishings collection at Comptoir102 and then I’m here to absorb the local design and arts scene.
DC: Why did you choose to collaborate with Carwan Gallery and Comptoir102?
IM: The Beirut based Carwan Gallery is, in my opinion a strong defender of regional arts and artists – across the Middle East – and given my Middle-Eastern heritage, working with them is all about the personal connection I have with the region. With Comptoir102, I get to exhibit my collections in my own environment. When Emma and Alex approached me in Paris with a proposal, I thought we should take it a bit forward than the typical few pieces – so I created a setting very similar to my boutiques in Paris at Comptoir102; styling, accessorising the space just as I would back home. I wanted people to get a ‘lifestyle’ feel which is very much in line with Comptoir102.
“Remember me for my colours and the cultural fusion that transpires in my works!“
DC: You were at the opening of Design Days Dubai last evening. First impressions?
IM: First of all I am just very happy that a show of such stature exists in the Middle East – I have to congratulate the Fair Director, Cyril Zammit, for his vision and hard work in putting together a world class collection of design objects and creative minds. I will go back to see more, but I loved the works of all the Beirut based galleries!
DC: What would be your legacy?
IM: I always feel my greatest challenge and greatest works are still to come, but I would like to be remembered for a diverse career. Not just a hotel, residence or furniture designer, but a ‘Designer’ who is not afraid of scale, one that is not stuck in time, personal style or nature of work.