Contemporary Tables and Vases Join the East and the West

India Mahdavi's Landscape collection integrates global design references.
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In her chic VIIth arrondissement Parisian atelier, architect and designer India Mahdavi creates furniture pieces, 3D spaces, and objets d’art of an unusual sensuality. One of her most recent works is a collaboration with Carwan Gallery in Lebanon, that features a collection of oversized ceramic and gold vases, and high and low tile top tables. These limited edition handcrafted pieces, called Landscape Series, are the results of a journey across Beirut, Istanbul, and Paris. As a re-imagining of where opposites attract, these sculptural furnishings take extra inspiration from the vibrantly coloured Iznik tiles of Bursa in Turkey, and the indoor/outdoor lifestyle of the Middle East, where strong furniture pieces "have to exist against some kind of infinity, like the open/endless blue sky," says Mahdavi.

Mahdavi's glazed ceramic Landscape vases were cooked three to four times to get the right colors.

As a child of an Iranian Shiite father and an Egyptian Copt mother, who moved countries continuously while growing up and speaks several languages, Mahdavi naturally combines Occidental with Oriental in her work. "I am always mixing, renewing, surprising," she says. In the elliptical stories that her designs tell us, we are able to sense, and participate in, where East metaphorically meets West.

“The shapes that the vases make in a space are like punctuations in the space; they can be put together without anything inside them and form [a kind of] urban landscape," Mahdavi says. "Filled with flowers and greenery, they form a natural landscape.”

Landscape Series is on view at Carwan Gallery’s stand C11 at Collective 2 Design Fair in New York City through May 8-11. Mahdavi will create a special installation for the occasion and will be on hand to sign her latest book, Home.

For the Landscape tables, Mahdavi was inspired by the 16th-century Ottoman technique of fabricating quartz tiles. The Iznik Foundation, based in Bursa-Turkey, created custom-colored quartz tiles for the table tops.

When placed together, the tables' tile patterns form a continual landscape. The pieces also reflect ambient light through their vivid tops and brass bases.

Of the collection, Mahdavi says, "I like to play with opposites in material choices like softness against edge, and in overall design—I strive for balance between shape and color, warm and cold, fullness and emptiness.”


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