India Mahdavi and Martine Bedin’s colourful worlds unite in Project Room 5

The latest showcase of Paris-based designer India Mahdavi’s eclectic living room is a sketch space and universe by Memphis co-founder, Martine Bedin.

by Zohra KhanPublished on : Apr 09, 2022

India Mahdavi’s Project Room is a canvas of her dreams, a safe space to initiate conversations, to fully immerse in the glory of colours, materials, artful pieces, and cartes blanches. The Iranian-French architect and designer has created a set in a space near her studio, halfway between a window and a gallery. Located on 29 rue de Bellechasse, three walls and a window become a living room setup dotted by her own eclectic pieces and designs resulting from new collaborations. An endeavour started in 2020, Mahdavi has successfully realised four project rooms in the past, and recently revealed the fifth room – a collaboration with eclectic French architect and industrial designer, Martine Bedin (b.1957).

Project Room 5 showcases the creative practice of Memphis co-founder, Martine Bedin | Project Room 5 | India Mahdavi | STIRworld
Project Room 5 showcases the creative practice of Memphis co-founder, Martine Bedin Image: © Studio India Mahdavi

For the setup, Bedin – one of the Memphis group’s co-founders and a prolific designer working wonders with marble, wood, metal and ceramic – teams up with Mahdavi to craft a surreal living space. Bedin, whose works have been exhibited at various coveted locations around Paris including the Centre Pompidou, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, and Grande Nef of Bordeaux’s Center for Contemporary Art (CAPC), has a joyful and vibrant practice that resonated with Mahdavi’s.

Vibrant sketches and paintings by Bedin dot the walls of the living space | Project Room 5 | India Mahdavi | STIRworld
Vibrant sketches and paintings by Bedin dot the walls of the living space Image: © Studio India Mahdavi

Speaking of this synergy, Mahdavi shares, “Beyond a love for patterns and colours, it is the poetic dimension that seduces me in Martine’s work. Her drawings erupt from her sketchbooks and illustrate an uncompromising materiality in the invention of sculptural objects, sometimes enigmatic, yet always unexpected as they summon our imagination.”

“This project room doesn’t only display the drawings and objects they have resulted from, it immerses the visitor in Martine’s sketch-space and universe. I felt an urgency to share Martine’s work on a different scale," she adds.

Bedin's sketches are displayed around a set up that features design objects by Mahdavi | Project Room 5 | India Mahdavi | STIRworld
Bedin's sketches are displayed around a set up that features design objects by Mahdavi Image: © Martine Bedin

In the previous project rooms where Mahdavi has displayed her signature sculptural joker side tables, a round straw marquetry table, and a rattan bronze screen among other curated objects in a backdrop of striking art, wallpapers, objects and accessories, this room showcases her oliver sofa complemented by a printed fabric designed by Bedin.

The space reveals drawing as a medium to crystallise an operation of the mind | Project Room 5 | India Mahdavi | STIRworld
The space reveals drawing as a medium to crystallise an operation of the mind Image: © Martine Bedin

Within the room, one discovers Bedin’s fascinating water coloured paintings, sketches and posters illustrating abstract compositions and concepts combining found objects and furniture pieces. Speaking of drawing as the starting and key point of her practice, Bedin shares, "Ever since my childhood, I have drawn things, objects, furniture, places; freehand, line, with pastel coloured pencils, dry, then bold, watercolour or oil. It depends…drawing takes time, its own time, the drawing crystallises an operation of the mind which is in itself already drawing. Drawing is like writing with words; giving body in the moment to the trailing gaze, and to quote Paul Valéry; it is to illuminate the thought of space in things, between things, around things.”

The works feature abstract compositions and concepts connecting with furniture pieces and found objects | Project Room 5 | India Mahdavi | STIRworld
The works feature abstract compositions and concepts connecting with furniture pieces and found objectsImage: © Studio India Mahdavi

"I try to look at the world in "drawing's time,” she continues, “in other words with a slight delay, an essential moment to give ideas a direction and open the gentle progression of forms between the hand and the page. I have a deeply intimate need for colour, each and every colour, the ones that fit and the ones that don’t – because colour induces light, my light, from the South.”

The colourful worlds of both Bedin and Mahdavi collide at Project Room 5  | Project Room 5 | India Mahdavi | STIRworld
The colourful worlds of both Bedin and Mahdavi collide at Project Room 5 Image: © Martine Bedin

While working on this collaboration, Bedin believes that Mahdavi’s unique way of writing spaces and objects with colours beautifully resonated with her own vibrant philosophy and aesthetics. This project room, as per Bedin, allowed the two designers to "expand their colour palettes, amplify the sound of their music, and set foot on a new territory to explore."

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