Nipa Doshi & Jonathan Levien
Almora is a revolving chair named after the Indian region that offers a breath-taking view of the Himalayas and, quoting its designers, it longs to be “a haven from the world, a place for contemplation and reading from where one can admire magnificent snow-capped peaks. As protective as a second skin, enveloping like a soft blanket”. Dedicated to relaxation, it is composed of two conical glass fibre shells: that of the seat resting directly on the base and that of the backrest. The headrest, in curved wood in different finishes, has a padded portion and fits into the back shell, appearing at the same time slightly detached. Almora is an armchair that stands out for the balanced composition of the different elements, the materials and the leather upholstery. The coordinated footrest completes the proposal.
“The magic and mystery of Almora is that the screws are invisible!” say the design duo Doshi Levien. The materials used to make the armchair seem to be fit together like the components of a piece of jewellery. There is actually a hidden mechanical joint that connects the two conical shells, one for the seat and one for the back, and a third element - the headrest that inserts into the back, but looks like it is slightly detached.
Almora is named after the Indian region that offers a breath-taking view of the Himalayas and, quoting its designers, it longs to be “a haven from the world, a place for contemplation and reading from where one can admire magnificent snow-capped peaks. As protective as a second skin, enveloping like a soft blanket”. It is a sensual play on shapes and a combination of materials chosen because their characteristics evoke sensations of comfort: “when you touch this object, you must be immediately at ease, it must give the idea that it embraces you”, the same sort of design feeling that the two designers had in their lives and professional decisions. They have become quite famous in the past decade for their original approach, which forms a synthesis of technology and artisan craftsmanship, artistic vision and cultural plurality.
Seat, back and headrest internal shell:
Internal shell upholstery:
Bayfit® (Bayer®) flexible cold shaped polyurethane foam
Seat and back external shell:
white or anthracite painted glass fibre
Headrest external shell:
veneered beechwood multilayer panel: grey oak, brushed light oak, brushed black oak or smoked stained oak
Shell fixing to upholstery:
clip in plastic material
Armchair swivel support frame:
white or black painted aluminium
Footrest support frame:
white or black painted steel
natural or dark brown merino
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Doshi Levien was founded by the designers Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien, who met at the Royal College of Art. The London based studio is internationally renowned for its marriage of culture, technology, industrial design and fine craftsmanship. Nipa grew up in India and studied at the National Institute of Design; Jonathan trained in fine cabinet making followed by industrial design.
Together, they strive to create work that transcends rational and functional qualities, to imbue a sense of true inner beauty in their projects. Nipa’s practice is rooted in her plural upbringing and astute eye for visual culture; and Jonathan’s in industrial precision, combined with the sensibility of a maker’s hand and deep understanding of materials. What makes their work so distinctive is not just their confident relationship to colour, material and form, but the ability to translate meticulous design ideas to the context of production. This has enabled them to work coherently across industries and categories, including lighting and furniture.
The duo have created works for leading manufacturers, for prestigious international museums and cultural institutions. In 2008 Nipa and Jonathan were awarded the prestigious Future Legends of Design by the Cooper Hewitt National Museum of Design in New York. They have been invited to be keynote speakers and lectured internationally, been on important design juries and have taught at the Royal College of Art. Their work is part of the permanent collection at Moma, Cooper Hewitt National Museum of Design and important private collections.