Nouvelles Vagues

Designed by: India Mahdavi
For client: Villa Noailles (Hyères) Floor area: 600.00 M² Year of completion: 2019
Submitted for: Exhibition of the Year

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© Luc Bertrand

About the Project

As part of the 2019 Design Parade at the Villa Noailles in Hyères and the 4th edition of International Festival of interior design in Toulon, the Pompidou Centre presents an exhibition of its Design collections, curated by Marie-Ange Brayer. More than sixty exceptional pieces are gathered in a scenography designed by India Mahdavi.
Inspired by the Art Deco architecture of the Cercle Naval de Toulon and its past as a reception Hall for the Navy, this exhibition explores the history of design through the revolution of body postures in relation to new design shapes. With the birth of modern times in the early 20th century, industrialisation, and the emergence of leisure, new postures embody a new form of emancipation. The body is no longer only vertical but slowly unfolds into new spatial dynamics.
The first part of the exhibition shows the history of the chaise longue and lounge chair, from Robert Mallet-Stevens’ Transat (1923) to Martin Székely’s Pi Chaise longue (1983).
The second part explores the wavy shapes and new postures of the Pop years followed by the section of the inflatable pieces.
In a tribute to designers’ propensity to soften the strict figure of a piece of furniture, the stripe, eternal symbol of the beach, is subject to India Mahdavi’s distortions.

What’s unique about it

This scenography was challenging in many ways—
Deadline & budget are the usual suspects but in this case they were not the only elements that I had to overcome.
Although the 19th century building of the Cercle Naval in Toulon has architectural qualities, it had been transformed into office spaces accompanied by all the regulations, suspended ceilings, lighting etc that go with such re-use of space.
On one hand, the challenge was to find the right balance between the visual impact needed to reduce the architectural environment of the Cercle Naval and on the other hand, not to overpower the pieces of the Pompidou collection — but instead to create a support, a base for the pieces to be alive, as if they were people on the beach.
The stripes entered the show in a natural and organic way — similarly to our body postures — at first straight and rigid like the beach stripe, and then distorted and soft, becoming a pop feature supporting the pop furniture of the 60's.
The slanted surfaces, reminiscent of the famous “fonction oblique“ worked so perfectly — as it is itself another option of horizontal or vertical positions of the body.

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Location of project:
Credits:
Studio India Mahdavi

Centre Pompidou

Villa Noailles

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