Technicolor Memories: India Mahdavi

7 years ago by

Photos Lou Mora

I am a forever fan of India Mahdavi. But, she travels all the time, so much that it’s like I can never catch her. So, when she told me she was in LA for a few days, I had to ask, India, will you record a Pardon My French with me??

For those of you who haven’t heard her name yet, well, you’ve probably have at least sat on her. Ok, sat on one of her creations. India is an architect and a designer, one who is defining our times. Not only has she created some of my favorite places, a lot of which we’ve featured on the site, but to me her sense of humor of shapes and sensuality and her use of color make her a truly great artist.

So, India was in LA to celebrate not one, but two things. Her newly reinvented Ladurée in Beverly Hills, I cannot tell you how much I love it. And, her exhibition at the Ralph Pucci showroom. This is where I met her for a conversation I hope you’ll enjoy as much as I did.

[podcast_episode episode=”249031″ ]

pmf india maghavi garance dore photo

pmf india maghavi garance dore photo

pmf india maghavi garance dore photo

On her early dreams…
I wanted to make movies and that’s what I thought I would do. Whatever dreams I had were linked to an aesthetic world. We moved so much as a family that I never really had a family home and I was very attached to places and it was very important to me.

On her love of color…
Funny enough, I really think my love of color is all driven by these American memories I have of technicolor. Color television was sort of new and I remember having all these cartoons and bright colors all around. And the way I use color is bit of cartoon-y, also.

On her family moving around a lot when she was young…
It’s really quite amazing. You develop a survival attitude where you understand codes very quickly. I changed languages three times within a period of two years. English to German, German to French and all the grammar is very difficult. And then you’re always the foreigner. Finally, you become this sort of chameleon where you’re able to adapt very quickly to understand what’s going on.

On the difference of French and American approach to interior design…
I always say this in a very nice way, but French people have this arrogance of taste. Like, why should I have an interior designer? I can do this myself and I just need a technical person to help me buy things. Americans have a precise way. They have architects, designers, decorators, so many professionals. It’s very divided and precise.

Technicolor Memories: India Mahdavi

pmf india maghavi garance dore photo

pmf india maghavi garance dore photo

On using feng shui…
Oh of course! I think I do it more in a natural way. You know you want energy to flow and so it’s never blocked. I know that a space works because it has the right flow and energy. So that’s super important. My work is always balanced between something that’s structured and quite round at the same time. Also, with the furniture I do, there’s a good balance between what I call masculine and feminine.

On joy…
The reason I really like color, is how it brings joy to a place. It’s something that makes a place happy and joyful. My work is about joy and there is something very immediate about coming into a place the colorful and joyful. It brings a lot of light into a room.

On humor in her work…
You’re sitting on this sofa, it can be used as a daybed, so you could lie down on it. So it is called Oedipe. When you’re speaking about your complex, oedipe is complex, you could be lying down with a shrink!

On the importance of exploring…
When I travel, I always have to take a day or two to see what is happening. Otherwise it doesn’t make any sense. You have to feed yourself from what you see. I guess everybody does that, or I hope so.

On using sofas to shape a room…
I first place the biggest pieces in a room and then I put the small pieces around. I see sofas like the eyebrows of a room. You place those, and then you can put the eyes, nose and the mouth!

pmf india maghavi garance dore photo

List of other things we discussed….
Cinemateque Francaise
Le Corbusier
Ettore Sottsass
La Femis

Special thanks to the new Ralph Pucci showroom in Los Angeles. You can check out India’s book here and visit Ladurée Beverly Hills here.


Add yours
  • J’aime ces interviews introspectives sur des personnes aussi intéressantes qu’India Mahdavi ! Sa vision du design est lumineuse et vibrante, merci pour ce beau moment partagé :)

    Des bisous Garance,


  • Lovely piece. We have to celebrate all our creatives…especially the women! Something very 80’s about it all…If you love this look you might want to shoot at The Fig House in LA (I’m completely NOT affiliated but I’m kinda in the wedding business) for some of your pieces…

    You’ll love the eastside vibe…

    :) you are both wearing black! VERY not (general population) LA –

  • Orizaba March, 9 2017, 9:56 / Reply

    Merci Garance pour cette interview qui m’intéresse particulièrement puisque je suis en train de réaliser mon rêve de toujours en devenant designer d’intérieur.
    Et merci à India Mahdavi, ses propos sont si lucides! Un sourire à la lecture des différences entre français et américains, c’est tellement vrai!

    Bonne continuation.

  • Chérazad March, 9 2017, 10:08 / Reply

    Déjà, merci pour vos podcasts qui me transportent dans un salon remplis de bavardages bienveillants à chaque fois.
    Pis cette coupe de cheveux est IN-CROYABLE ! Elle vous va à merveille !

  • Quelle femme magnifique et talentueuse. J’adore son style et ses fauteuils “charlotte rose” ainsi que le canapé vert de psy ! J’adore la 4eme photo : ses bijoux ne font que souligner sa beaute.

  • I vaguely knew her name, but not more. What an interesting woman! Always a discovery.
    It is funny that you are both dressed head to toe in black, sitting in such a colorful place.

  • She is amazing and so stylish. You ladies look like sisters!

  • richele March, 9 2017, 3:44 / Reply

    That pink velvet shell chair has been on my dream list for a few years now!

  • Two Mme stylish ! Your ideas are very interesting !

  • Mireille March, 10 2017, 11:24 / Reply

    On m’a offert son livre il y a pas mal de temps et j’aime la simplicité de son approche du design.
    Merci pour ce podcast, beaucoup de charme en action parmi vous, beautiful talented ladies..


  • Inspirante ! ?

  • Bb de la Branche March, 13 2017, 10:22 / Reply

    Et Lou Mora tomba amoureuse des jambes de Garance… Ahahah
    Hâte d’écouter India Mahdavi que j’aime tant, merci !

  • Pardon pour mon commentaire légèrement hors-sujet, mais à quand un pardon my french avec Kat Von D ? J’ai conscience qu’elle et toi Garance n’êtes pas exactement sur le même registre, mais son parcours semble si inspirant ! Puis tu es à LA maintenant, alors… ;)
    En tout cas, bravo pour tout ce travail que tu effectues chaque jour avec tes équipes pour nous proposer du contenu de qualité !

    Une fidèle lectrice

  • Amazing and fashion look, very great for this. Thanks for sharing.

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