Strolling down Greene Street in New York, you’d be hard pushed not to gawp for a second at the other-worldy installation currently on show in Moroso. ‘Myth and Material’ sees Doshi Levien take over the store with an explosion of colour and illustrations, alongside an exhibition of the products they’ve designed for the brand.
Last year’s 'Charpoy' daybeds are now joined by the 'Principessa', a spectacular seven-layer daybed (inspired by The Princess and the Pea) and 'My Beautiful Backside' sofas. The roguish name of the latter belies their regal forms, which have a touch of the Maharajah’s palace in the opulence of their hand-embroidered materials (silk, felt and a Giulio Ridolfo-designed wool for Kvadrat). The scene is completed with two new products, the kaleidoscopic 'Rangoli' rugs and mirrors, decorated with brightly coloured graphic designs.
The vivid colours and juxtaposed materials are inspired by Nipa Doshi’s Indian heritage and textiles training but more than simply decorative one-offs with a craft feel, Levien’s background in industrial design means they can be mass-produced. Indeed this combination of heritages and skills is their USP and one they describe as a rebound to the negative connotations usually associated with globalisation in the creative industries.
Though still quite a young design partnership, British duo Doshi and Jonathan Levien’s work is instantly recognisable. Much contemporary design of late has tended towards natural materials, neutral palettes and angular shapes but Doshi Levien’s furniture laughs in the face of sobriety, whilst remaining relevant and functional at all times.