Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien draw inspiration from the cultural richness of the world, working on design projects as diverse as their Do-Maru furniture collection for Italian manufacturer B&B Italia, to transformative design ideas for Finnish technology group Nokia.
Describing their practice as "uniting opposites", the studio of Doshi Levien is Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien, who bring together their cultural backgrounds from India and the UK to create a unique narrative applied to how they see and make objects. Those objects range from furniture, homewares and kitchenware, to fashion and textiles, but also include often intangible projects they do with technology companies like Intel, where they are not making anything physical at all, but helping to put form into the virtual world.
Not being pigeon-holed into one discipline alone, the studio has built itself on a diversity of collaborations and projects. Their interests and training informs each project, drawing on Jonathan’s cabinet making and industrial design training and Nipa’s design studies at the National Institute of Design in India and the Royal College of Art in London, where they both met. Opening the doors to their London studio a decade ago, the duo have turned it into a vibrant hub juggling design projects all over the world.
Taking a look inside their studio reveals colour and texture, beautiful illustrations and textiles, and maquettes as well as full-scale prototypes everywhere. It speaks of Ray Eames, Achille Castiglioni and Patricia Urquiola and an artists' studio aesthetic where ideas are visceral. As well as the richness of their ideas, it is this hands-on approach that draws clients. Their process of working is collaborative and experimental. An approach that is central to a furniture house like B&B Italia, who itself is built on the traditional roots of Italian industrial design and a deep interest in culture.
Doshi Levian’s latest collection for B&B Italia is Do-Maru, an armchair named after the ancient amour worn by Samurai warriors. It joins the Almora armchair, their first piece for B&B Italia, the Maru table and Tabour ottoman which together form a collection bringing together the intuitive materiality and fine craftsmanship of Doshi Levian’s work, with the design research and development prowess of B&B Italia.