It’s those beautiful chairs again. The soft pink velvet and gold, all-embracing hug of a chair that has become one of India Mahdavi’s signature pieces. It made us fall in love with Sketch again when Mahdavi redesigned the space’s Gallery Restaurant in 2014. And now it’s making us fall in love with REDValentino, which has enlisted Mahdavi to design its stunning new flagship store in Rome and soon-to-open London space on Sloane Street.
Though there is something about them that makes people swoon, it’s not just a chair that makes a great interior, of course. In the REDValentino stores, they simply act as punctuation marks to an otherwise fun, rebellious and romantic scheme. Beyond a brass and glass façade, visual and tactile contrasts abound in a kaleidoscope of pink and white terrazzo.
Opening in September, the evocative space will be the first flagship store REDValentino has opened in London, dedicated to both ready to wear and the RED V accessories. Creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli explains the city is a perfect fit for the brand: “London is a cosmopolitan and unique metropolis. It is important for me to have a REDValentino store in this universe-city, a centre of constant evolution and multicultural activity. London is unconventional and follows the continuous beat of the heart.”
Madhavi’s brief was to work alongside Picciolo to bring an energetic and vibrant spirit to the space. “The initial idea, together with India, was to create an intimate and emotional space,” he says. “A meeting place that favours a dialogue, a virtual and real exchange of ideas.”
Originally of Persian and Egyptian descent, Mahdavi studied architecture in Paris before being drawn instead by the theatrical lure of filmmaking and set design. Inspired by the likes of Ken Adams, who designed the sets for James Bond films in the 1960s and 1970s, she moved to New York to study graphic design and furniture making at Cooper Union. She subsequently returned to Paris to work with Christian Liaigre – whose influence is still apparent in her furniture designs today.
Today, having lived and worked all over the world, and since setting up her own Paris based design studio 20 years ago, Mahdavi has brought her very global influences to bear on a huge number of locally well-known interiors. These include the aforementioned Sketch in London, the Townhouse in Miami and the Hotel Thoumieux in Paris. While her playful furniture pieces - those fabulous Charlotte chairs for example - lighting designs and wallpapers are available from her collaborators including Nilufar Gallery, Carwan, Ralph Pucci and Petit Friture, an abundance of private clients, however, mean much of her best work is less well known.
Describing her style as “polyglot”, she says colour and texture are fundamental to her work. “I use texture like colour, and I use colour to bring light. Being creative starts with imagination, is fed by inspiration and ends with a story. When I met Pierpaolo we really had a great connection – he was part of the inspiration and together we created a dream.”
Source: telegraph.co.uk Photos: REDValentino