Announced this week, Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien – the design duo behind the studio Doshi Levien – are recipients of the King’s New Year Honours List 2023.
The awards recognise the pair’s service to design, where they have remodeled how culture constructs the material environment which we interact with every day.
Having established an unbounded design remit, Nipa and Jonathan’s early work includes a collaboration with the cookware brand Tefal, where they question the purely technological purpose of appliances, etching vibrant mosaic motifs from different cuisine’s cultures onto pan surfaces to exude an intimate connection with the user. A later installation with the British Council saw a multitude of items: a mattress, a dress, a water vessel, all recreating an ancient Indian shop probing visitors’ valuation of social exchange within the purchase of objects.
You can find the Doshi Levien studio down Columbia Road, adjoining the landscapes of the City and the neighborhoods of Globe Town. Their abode’s rather contrasting locale is simultaneously inspired by, and reflective of their own design approach. Speaking to Fiona McCarthy for Wish in 2022, Nipa and Jonathan emphasized their “different perspectives and points of view could create a really interesting mix in [their] work” (Wish, 2022).
Having studied design in Ahmedabad, Nipa is influenced by the plurality and magic of India; the chaos and celebration, a complex landscape intertwining tradition and modernity. Leaving school at 16, Jonathan worked for his family’s factory in Scotland and learned fine cabinet-making, developing his consideration for the utility of craft.
Since meeting at the Royal College of Art in 1995, their collaboration through both their studio and marriage has forged a design philosophy harmonizing Nipa’s sensuality in craft and Jonathan’s utile technique. Their cross-cultural lens captures the sentient connection we experience with our material environment and through their choice of materials, textiles, colours, and patterns they reevaluate this relationship.
Keep an eye out on the Doshi Levien website to see how Nipa and Jonathan continue to represent the plurality of culture living within East London and their exploration into our emotional interactions with our surroundings.
Can you help us?
As a not-for-profit media organisation using journalism to strengthen communities, we have not put our digital content behind a paywall or membership scheme as we think the benefits of an independent, local publication should be available to everyone living in our area.
If a fraction of the local 30,000 residents donated two pounds a month to Bethnal Green LDN it would be enough for our editorial team to serve the area full time and be beholden only to the community. A pound at a time, we believe we can get there.