House & Garden | Diary of a Somebody

India Mahdavi – Day 3

A Chinese massage and a fireside glass of Château Chasse-Spleen bookend the designer’s busy day

India Mahdavi – Day 3

January 17 2013
India Mahdavi

Day: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

I start my day early, with a massage at 7am with Madame Tien, my Chinese masseuse. I try to see her once a week. She practices Tuina Anmo massage, based on Chinese medical principles, which stretches my ligaments and muscles. Thanks to her I don’t have any back pain or stress.

Ready for the day, I attend meetings at my studio with the manufacturers with whom I’m working on the furniture prototypes for the Café Francais. It is a huge project: a 350-seat café and restaurant overlooking Place de la Bastille and facing the Opera House, which is due to open this March. The concept has been developed with M/M Paris as a flagship for Thierry Costes’ new group Beaumarly. We have taken elements from the logos and lettering M/M Paris has created for the project and used them in the designs for the furniture and décor in the space – on the marble for the floor, woven into a pattern for the carpet and printed on the tables, seats and sofas.

I review all the prototypes. This is my favourite moment because suddenly I see the project coming together. I always look over prototypes myself and I check and adjust details: the comfort of a seat, the piping, and the quality of a mirror. All these samples, as well as those for my own furniture collection, are manufactured exclusively in France by craftsmen with whom I’ve been working for the past 10 years.

I have a quick lunch with the editor-in-chief of Air France Madame, who is working on an exclusive feature about the Hôtel le Cloître for the April/May issue. I like to organise working lunches around the corner – usually at Yuzu, a delicious Japanese restaurant on Rue de Bellechasse, or at La Laiterie, a trendy neighbourhood restaurant that serves fresh food from the market, where I run into the design crowd.

My afternoon is dedicated to the Café Francais, and I visit the site with my team. I always make a point of going to a space when it’s near completion, to adjust details. I am known for last-minute changes, and I try to be completely objective at every stage of each project.

Back home, I have a quiet evening in front of the fire with a cigarette and a glass of Château Chasse-Spleen.

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India Mahdavi, People