India Mahdavi's design style is exotic, feminine, dramatic and informed by her international worldview. Mahdavi grew up wanting to be a filmmaker and her interiors have a theatrical quality to them. "Being creative starts with imagination," she says. "When you have imagination your creativity is limitless. I think each project is all about telling a story."
Describe what you do? "I am an architect and designer. My style is cross-cultured. I always start by reacting to a space, location or client. I believe that doing a project is like answering a question."
Where do your ideas come from? "My inspiration comes from memories of my extensive travels and my nomadic childhood."
Can you tell us about the Rome Red Valentino store? "The concept of the store came from the Red Valentino girl. Who is she? What does she want? The store is a very narrow space, so we had to work around that too."
Who or what inspires you? "Fashion is an inspiration to me. The graphics, the materials, the colours..."
What characteristics do you think are important in a good designer? "You have to listen. I always think of L, S and D. It means Listen - understand the constraints of the project. See - look at the environment, the location and the lifestyle of the client. Do - when I start working, I'm looking for an identity revealed by the space or brand itself."
Portrait inside gallery of India Mahdaivi courtesy of Claire Israël. All other images courtesy India Mahdavi