How India Mahdavi Made Two Controversial Colors Look Undeniably Cool

De Gournay’s Paris showroom just got a whimsical update.
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floral wallapper and purple couch
Photography by Rebecca Reid

Leave it to India Mahdavi, the reigning queen of color, to show us that controversial orange and purple can be utterly sophisticated. The renowned Iranian-French designer behind London’s Sketch restaurant and Ladurée in Beverly Hills recently reimagined wallpaper fabricator de Gournay’s Paris showroom as a part of Deco Off 2020, an annual event where luxury fabric houses show off their latest collections. Violet and tangerine were at the center of her eye-opening palette. 

The two rooms in the private apartment couldn’t be more different. The large lounge space features her new scenic Abbassi in the Sky print, which was inspired by Persian miniature paintings from the 16th century. The adjacent area is swathed in a fiery orange rendition of Mahdavi and de Gournay’s existing Chez Nina print. The only detail visually connecting the two rooms? A plush lilac carpet. Here’s what we learned about decorating with the two hues.

Scrap Traditional Furniture Silhouettes

purple rug and light blue walls with graphic wallpaper
Photography by Rebecca Reid

A tufted white sofa is not your best friend in this scenario. On the other hand, low-slung seating (peep the hand-embroidered cushions in the lounge) makes all the purple feel relaxed and easy. Mahdavi further defied convention by elevating the seating circle on a platform and setting large, wavy trays directly on the floor in place of coffee tables.

Think Pink

orange walsl and pink swivel chairs
Photography by Rebecca Reid

Mahdavi’s scalloped swivel chairs in the next room got us thinking: Blush plus burnt orange is design gold. Add velvet to that equation, as she did, and it’s magic. The space is a lesson in simply relying on the color wheel (two warm tones side by side visually make a whole lot of sense).

Be Playful With Accents

A vivid color palette doesn’t mean you should go in the opposite direction (aka serious) with the decor. Mahdavi double downed on the space’s playful attitude with sconces that appear to be flowers (her Murano glass Clover lights) and a floor lamp that looks like a balloon. 

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Lydia Geisel Avatar

Lydia Geisel

Home Editor

Lydia Geisel has been on the editorial team at Domino since 2017. Today, she writes and edits home and renovation stories, including house tours, before and afters, and DIYs, and leads our design news coverage. She lives in New York City.