Open Home is an innovative new furniture collection, developed by Doshi Levien for John Lewis. It represents a new philosophy for furniture design to help change the way we think about modern living spaces
Doshi Levien is an internationally-acclaimed design studio founded by designers Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien.
Nipa grew up in India and studied design at the National Institute of Design, which was founded on the manifesto of Charles and Ray Eames. Jonathan trained in fine cabinet making followed by industrial design.
They met at the Royal College of Art, and have been working together for over 10 years in their London studio.
The 13-piece collection is based around light and dynamic pieces inspired by the elegance of Scandinavian modernism and mid-century Italian design.
The Open Home pieces can be used to break down traditional four-wall structures, replacing strict living room layouts with sculptural furniture that looks beautiful from any angle.
The collection will be exclusively available at John Lewis Oxford Street, Bluewater, High Wycombe and at Peter Jones from May 2017 and online
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Q&A with Jonathan Levien
Why did you choose John Lewis for your first British collaboration on the high street?
Nipa and I have worked extensively with Italian brands and we’ve learned a lot about new production technologies and materials. We wanted to bring that knowledge and culture to Britain, and John Lewis was the right fit in making design accessible.
Can you tell us about your creative process as a design duo?
It begins with a discussion about the feeling behind the
It begins with a discussion about the feeling behind the collection and what parameters there are for the project. Then we go away and come up with individual designs. We have different ways of working, Nipa will go into her sketchbook and start painting and drawing lovely, irresistible illustrations, while my approach is to sketch in 3D. I use wire, card and tape to make mini sculptures in a more hands-on way.
The hard bit is when we offer criticism of each other’s work. It’s a constructive process as it’s about our interpretations of the pieces and it works for us.
How do the pieces you’ve created cater for British homes?
We’ve pitched our work as modern because that’s what we do. But a British customer likes a warmer notion of modern, so we’ve aligned our pieces with Scandinavian design, which reflect both approaches. British homes are also smaller than European ones. For that reason, our pieces are lighter to make the home feel more airy.
How does Open Home respond to the way people live today?
Our home, for example, is an accumulation of pieces over time. I’m more for that idea of building a home gradually, and that’s the way our collection has been designed. Each piece has its own identity, but it also works as a whole.
What’s your favourite piece in the collection and why?
The Nami chair as we put a lot of effort into getting the sculptural feel right. This piece is designed to cocoon the person and create a space around them. A chair is not just an object, it’s a space. It is as much about how you look as how you feel sitting in it that’s important to us.
What’s the thinking or theme behind the collection?
We’re noticing that people want to live in large, open spaces and that activities in the home have merged, including dining, playing and cooking. That’s why we think furniture has a larger part to play in defining how we use our homes. A sofa, for example, can be quite bulky and sedentary, but that’s not for everyone – people want to see more of their interiors. The Pondok sofa in our collection is lighter for that reason, but comfortable. We made absolutely sure we wouldn’t compromise on comfort.
*This interview appeared in the John Lewis Gazette 21 April 2017