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Interview with Doshi Levien

April 11, 2013
© Photo by Petr Krejci

This week, we showcase the work of design duo Doshi Levien, the british design couple who have developed a special installation for Camper during Il Salone del Mobile in Milan (April 6-12). Having featured their store concept earlier in the year, we interview Nipa Doshi about her inspirations and shoe desires.

Who is your design inspiration and why?

My grandfather was an aesthete and had an exquisite Art Deco apartment in Mumbai full of beautiful paintings and furniture. He was immaculately dressed and always wore beautifully tailored traditional khadi fabrics with bespoke crafted shoes. He unknowingly taught me to care about the simplest of rituals and instilled in me the notion that design was as much about how you did things. 

What does good design mean to you?

We wouldn’t use the word ‘good’ to describe something that blows us away and makes us intensely jealous of not being its creators!

You work in very different projects from furniture to kitchen tools or from installations to shoes. Does the kind of product change your working method?

We think of every new project as an opportunity to enter a new world of materials, skills and expertise. Although there is always a steep learning curve when we design something for the first time, we always start with a dream of what we would love to do. For example when we were designing the Twins collection for Camper, the ideas came from looking at art of the International avant garde, Indian sweets covered with silver foil, school notebooks and uniforms and summer holidays. Every project we do feeds into the next.

Camper embraces plurality and has the confidence to absorb different design approaches.

The new objects we have created for Camper’s Montenapoleone shop started from the idea that ‘One thing leads to another ‘. We did not want to create an installation but instead a new furniture collection that takes the language of the shoes forward.

With our collection for Camper, we focused on shoes and sandals that were easy to wear everyday but sexy and glamorous too. We imagined the shoes and sandals to be like a uniform that could be worn throughout the season. I particulary love the shoes designed by Bernhard Willhelm.

What do you love about Camper?

Camper embraces plurality and has the confidence to absorb different design approaches. We were happy that after designing their shops we were asked to design a collection of shoes.

How would you combine the shoes you designed for Camper? What kind of person do you think would wear them? Since we’ve had the pleasure of testing our shoe prototypes, I wore the Holly sandal throughout my summer holidays in India. The sandal is very minimal and revealing, like a bikini for the well pedicured foot. It looks good with a deep-coloured nail polish and the metallic leather adds a jewel like quality to a simple summer dress or shorts.

We think of every new project as an opportunity to enter a new world of materials, skills and expertise

The Damas on the other hand is more formal and perfect to wear to work bringing a combination of glamour and utility.

For men the Woody shoe in black printed suede can be worn without socks and the low cut of the shoe shows off the ankle beautifully. The men’s model looks fetching with rolled up or tapered skinny trousers.

Read more about Doshi Levien´s To&ether store and interior project for Camper.

Cover pic By Petr Krejčí

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