x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

My Beautiful BackSide sofa

Object of desire The pun (intended by its designers) is not only what makes this sofa by Doshi Levien for Moroso captivating.


Among the first things I learnt in Abu Dhabese - those delightful turns of phrase that pepper our lives in the capital - was backside. Tell a delivery man that the entrance is behind a building and you'll find yourself in a comedy of misunderstanding. Say "backside" and you're sorted. So the name of this sofa was immediate reason to smile. But the pun (intended by its designers) is not really what makes it an object of desire. Having followed the work of the hugely talented Indian-British duo Doshi Levien for some time, I have been increasingly captivated. And I can't wait to see what they will show at this week's London Design Festival. The couple has said that their work (which ranges from saucepans for Tefal and shoes for John Lobb to the furniture they design for the Italian company, Moroso) is driven by their idea that globalisation need not mean homogenisation. Instead, think hybrid and harmony.

The result, epitomised by My Beautiful Backside, is designs that are full of visual energy and originality - pieces where the cross-cultural references are neither literal nor overt, yet they are at once familiar and new. MBB (for short) was inspired by an antique miniature painting of a Maharani sitting on the floor surrounded by cushions (reproduced in Naveen Patniak's fascinating book about plants, The Garden of Life). The cushions appear almost to float above the sofa's structure, while the crisp lines of the seat anchor them firmly. This rigour and precision, as well as the choice of felt and wool fabrics, was inspired by finely tailored English suits, say the designers. And on the sofa's backside, the tailoring analogy is taken even further, with decorative stitching that makes it truly beautiful.

My Beautiful Backside by Doshi Levien for Moroso, available to order at Boutique 1 Living, The Walk at JBR, Dubai; 04 425 7888; from approx ?11,000 (Dh59,850)