Market Scape: A Passage to India
-- Interior Design, 6/1/2008 12:00:00 AM
When Nipa Doshi chose to pursue life as a furniture designer—in her native India in the early '90's—her decision caused some consternation. "Design, unless it was fashion or interior decoration, was still unheard-of as a serious career path," she says. But a résumé that now lists work for some of the industry's major manufacturers proves that she was right not to bow to popular opinion.
As Doshi Levien, she and her British husband, Jonathan Levien, marry East to West and girlish whimsy to interests in construction and technology. Their installation for the nonprofit Wellcome Trust, for example, included the Stethoscope, a device capable of hearing the patient's soul. The Matlo, part of the British Council's "My World" exhibition, is a reference to an Indian terra-cotta jug that keeps water cool, an environmental alternative to refrigeration.
Another union that interests the duo is that of craftsmanship and mass production. At last year's Salone Internazionale del Mobile, Moroso introduced their Charpoy, a daybed that combines a simplified industrial form with embroidered shapes from an Indian board game. This year, Doshi Levien thrilled Milan with My Beautiful Backside, a sofa, and the Principessa, a daybed.
The sofa, with its gravity-defying cushions and backrest, was inspired by a painting of an Indian princess and her lover. The ornately patterned cushions are the result of an exploration into silver and gold screen-printing on wool. Meanwhile, the Principessa, featuring stacked mattresses with icons of princess-hood embroidered on a specially created jacquard, is a design Doshi attributes to a "moment of madness." So mad, in fact, that she and Levien almost didn't show the piece to Patrizia Moroso—who was more than pleased they came to their senses. 800-705-6863; morosousa.com. circle 411