It’s always fun to discover design that feels truly fresh, combining multiple influences in ways rarely seen before. The debut furniture collection by first generation Iranian-American designer Kouros Maghsoudi achieves that with playful shapes, a bold color palette, and cross-continental cultural exchange. Entitled “Mehmooni”, which translates to “gathering” or “party” in Farsi, the collection draws from Persian traditions and customs as well as artsy, unconventional postmodern design.
“Each piece in the collection is designed to foster and cultivate the spirit of a ‘Mehmooni,‘” says the 26-year-old designer, who was born in Highland Park, Illinois and now resides in Brooklyn. “The ‘Taarof’ table, for example, is a modular cocktail table with an optional built-in ice bucket, ashtray, and/or fruit bowl. In addition to promoting traditional Persian gatherings, the collection is both sustainable and carbon-neutral.”
Named for the Persian tradition of etiquette and generosity, the Taarof table is just begging to be a centerpiece at an event, inviting guests to drop their pretensions and get down low on the floor to share snacks and intimate conversation. Part of the fun is its modularity and an element of surprise, since the custom leg inserts just look like part of the design at first glance. And let’s be honest: removing the lids to reveal food, a chilled bottle of champagne, or a surface for burning incense is a pretty cool party trick. There’s something particularly pleasing about the shapes of the table and other elements in the collection, too, with not a single hard edge in sight.
Inspired by the low seating offered at traditional restaurants in Tehran’s Darband mountains, the “Behsheen” chair is a natural accompaniment to the table. It may consist of hard surfaces, but somehow it still seems soft and comforting with its almost fleshy sense of weight. Its simple shapes, reminiscent of natural rocks, could even have a Flintstones-like quality if it were rendered in harder materials.
Then there’s the “Doodool” mirror. If you’re raising an eyebrow at the shape, know that it’s intentional. Maghsoudi describes it as a “lighthearted phallic silhouette,” with an arched top, elongated body, and dual semi-circular feet. Standing 75 inches high, the mirror reinforces the tongue-in-cheek tone of the collection.
The materiality of the Mehmooni collection is another big part of its appeal. Though it may look like conventional plastic, it’s actually all made of a combination of organic materials, including corn-based 3D printed plastic, sustainably sourced FSC-certified lumber, and plant-based resin. All materials were sourced locally in the New York City area and fabricated in Red Hook, Brooklyn, with all carbon emissions from fabrication offset using carbon credits to make the project fully carbon-neutral and emission-free.
“There’s a lot of monotony in life and in decor,” Maghsoudi told Surface Magazine. “It’s important to not only design something beautiful, but design something that will influence how someone behaves. My work encourages people to gather, celebrate, and explore their hedonistic tendencies —sustainably, of course.”
“As the dust settles on my NYCxDesign show, I’m working with several private clients on custom orders. I love helping bring their dream piece to life and knowing that my work helps make their house a home. I’m also partnering with galleries and helping them deliver on their customers’ vision for design. And as always, I’m continuing to find inspiration as I design my next line.”