Working in a pair, London-based designers Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien are able to distil their unique design sensibilities into a unified language that merges their worlds. This harmonious duality is what attracted Giulio Cappellini, who has known the designers for over a decade. 'I have always admired the elegance and sophistication of Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien’s design,' he says.
'I was with Nipa on a design jury in Belgium and we thought of creating an armchair with enveloping shapes: this became “Capo”, a seat that fully reflects Jonathan’s design rigour and Nipa’s sophisticated attention to detail,' he adds.
Here, as part of Giulio Cappellini’s guest editorship of Wallpaper* October 2023 (also including interviews with Barber Osgerby and Patricia Urquiola on Cappellini, and Cappellini’s vision for the interiors of tomorrow), the designers tell us about their collaboration with the design visionary, and how it has helped form their studio's direction.
Doshi Levien and Cappellini: interview
Wallpaper*: How did you meet Giulio Cappellini?
Doshi Levien: We [Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien] met Giulio around 2009-2010, when we were both jury members for a design award. For someone who is one of the most important figures in design, we were struck by the humility with which Giulio invited us to create a piece for Cappellini. You can imagine, as upcoming designers, how thrilled we were at the prospect of collaborating with him.
W*: What did you most enjoy about working with him?
DL: We love Giulio’s trust in creativity and the design process. Our first presentation to him was a full-size cardboard mock-up of the ‘Capo’ chair. We remember him sitting on the mock-up and deciding to produce the chair. He is able to visualise a design just by looking at a simple sketch or model. It’s very satisfying to work with someone who is very open to new ideas and not fixed on a singular approach to what is good design.
W*: How has your collaboration with Cappellini helped shape your career?
DL: Giulio Cappellini, along with Patrizia Moroso, were the first two really influential commissioners of design to collaborate with us. We couldn’t have asked for better champions at the beginning of our design career to give us the opportunity to create experimental and iconic pieces.
W*: What is your vision for future landscapes in private and public interiors?
DL: We imagine that, in the future, both public and private interiors will become more radical, iconic and experimental.
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Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.
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