THE H IGH- STREET HERO JOHN LEWIS

Doshi Le­vien for John Lewis: the de­signer col­lec­tion that will be at the top of ev­ery­one’s shop­ping list this year

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Contents -

This Fe­bru­ary sees renowned Bri­tish de­sign duo Doshi Le­vien

– best known for their fur­ni­ture for Moroso and B&B Italia – launch their ‘Open Home’ col­lec­tion for John Lewis. Con­sist­ing of 13 key pieces in­clud­ing arm­chairs, so­fas, ta­bles, light­ing and rugs, it makes ‘ high de­sign’ ac­ces­si­ble to ev­ery­one.

At the pair’s Columbia Road stu­dio, Jonathan Le­vien ex­plains how the con­cept came about. ‘A few years back, I at­tended a talk at ELLE Dec­o­ra­tion’s Bri­tish De­sign Awards given by John Lewis’s buy­ing di­rec­tor, Chris­tine Ka­soulis. She in­spired us to come up with a con­cept for af­ford­able, high-de­sign pieces for the home. Co­in­ci­den­tally, the store’s head of de­sign, Philippa Prinsloo, was work­ing on a sim­i­lar idea!’ It was the start of a two-year de­sign process. ‘ We hadn’t worked for a UK client for many years [since Tom Dixon com­mis­sioned their table­ware for Habi­tat in 2001] so we spent a lot of time think­ing about Bri­tish homes,’ says Nipa Doshi. ‘We wanted to cre­ate some­thing with a sense of ap­proach­a­bil­ity – we call it warm moder­nity.’

The col­lec­tion is not in­tended to match. Each piece works in its own right, viewed from any an­gle. ‘Th­ese de­signs don’t have to be

up against a wall any­more,’ says Le­vien. ‘I think of the ar­chi­tec­ture of the home as a can­vas,’ adds Doshi. ‘ We use fur­ni­ture to de­fine the space. That was our start­ing point for this col­lec­tion.’ A high­light is the ‘Nami’ chair, named af­ter the Ja­panese word for ‘wave’. It fea­tures a curved back­rest that is in­tended to evoke the mo­tion of the sea. ‘ We think of the chair not purely as an ob­ject, but as a space around a per­son.’ Tall enough to en­close the sit­ter, it al­ters de­pend­ing on how it is po­si­tioned: turn it fac­ing out­wards from the room and it be­comes a pri­vate space; turn it for­wards and it is wel­com­ing.

You’re un­likely to see any­thing quite like the ‘Open Home’ col­lec­tion else­where on the high street. The arm­chairs and so­fas are con­structed from moulded foam: liq­uid polyurethane is in­jected into fi­bre­glass moulds and set at vary­ing de­grees of hard­ness. It’s a man­u­fac­tur­ing tech­nique that was in­tro­duced to John Lewis by Doshi Le­vien. ‘If we used a cut-foam tech­nique, it would be very easy for a small work­shop to copy the de­signs, and it wouldn’t al­low us to cre­ate th­ese or­ganic struc­tures,’ ex­plains Le­vien. ‘Open Home’ avail­able from Fe­bru­ary ( john­lewis.com; doshile­vien.com).

ED

Clock­wise from above ‘Pon­dok’ sofa, £2,499; ‘Mu­dra’ grey chair, £999; ‘Fal­con’ ta­ble lamp, £199; ‘Nami’ blue chair, £1,119; ‘Bal­let’ side ta­ble, £299; ‘Phulkari’ rug, £495; ‘Sangam’ cof­fee ta­ble, £899, all John Lewis ( john­lewis.com)

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