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The Questionnaire : Maryam Mahdavi by Carole Schmitz


Maryam Mahdavi : Image as a reflection of imagination.

Interior designer, architect, stylist, and scenographer, Maryam Mahdavi defines herself as a dresser of houses. Full of paradoxes, she loves the politically incorrect and everything that is whimsical. Her universe is often colorful, and she dares to mix and match, giving an identity and a real signature to her creations. She loves the carefree provocation and the appearance of beauty, and is often inspired by the underground world of Studio 54 and Chateau Marmont, temples of glamour that have seen the greatest artists such as Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, but also photographers Bill Bernstein, Helmut Newton, David LaChapelle, Rose Hartman and many others. A bit provocative, she also likes to work on ugliness and everything that is not obvious. In short, she is not afraid of anything.

It is on the occasion of her capsule collection “The cherry on the cake” with Yoxeone, that she lent herself to the game of our Questionnaire.


Instagram: maryam_mahdavi_design

Also on Instagram : yoxeone_artgallery


The image man or woman who inspires you?
Maryam Mahdavi : There are many and for different reasons. In no particular order and not exhaustively I would mention: Peter Lindbergh, Terry Richardson, Robert Mapplethorpe, Cindy Sherman, Irving Penn, Annie Leibovitz.

The image you would have liked to make?
Maryam Mahdavi : There are too many to list here… and then I might forget some!

The one that moved you the most or made you angry?
Maryam Mahdavi : I am often drawn to photographers who capture the moment and the emotion (which can also be anger depending on the subject matter), whether it be ugly or beautiful, frozen or not.

According to you, what is the necessary quality to be a good photographer?
Maryam Mahdavi : As in my work as an architect, a photographer must be attentive to himself and his emotions in order to transcribe and tell things in the best possible way.

What is perfection for you in terms of image?
Maryam Mahdavi : For me perfection does not exist. Everything is a question of sensitivity, perspective and point of view. A phenomenon appears to us in one form or another depending on our emotion at a given moment. Reality versus photography is like the game of truth, who is right and who is wrong.

If you were a photographer, who is the person you would like to photograph?
Maryam Mahdavi : That’s a big question… But maybe I would say Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs or the Beauty and the Beast… As you can see, I love fantasy worlds.

What is your favorite photo book?
Maryam Mahdavi : The essential book for me is “Cecil Beaton, 20th Century Icons”. He was not only the fashion photographer and portraitist we all know, but also a set designer, illustrator and war photographer! He was an observer of life, a designer of movie costumes, a “voyeurist” of a whole era. In short, Cécil Beaton is for me the perfect definition of Transmission !

The camera of your youth?
Maryam Mahdavi : Instant photography cameras ! These photos that slide just after pushing the button. Magical and playful as should be our emotion in front of this great scene that is life!!! Simplicity and childish truth!

Which one do you use today?
Maryam Mahdavi : My Iphone, what else ? We are in 2022, no !?

Your favorite drug?
Maryam Madhavi : Observing. I’m sometimes a real concierge.

The best way to disconnect for you?
Maryam Mahdavi : I disconnect by running every day, by listening to nature as well, because by observing it, my eye is fed with beauty!

What is your greatest quality?
Maryam Mahdavi : I would say listening – I could have been a shrink in another life (laughs). Often, I would like to understand things less quickly because my speed of understanding is sometimes very tiring, both for me and for others.

A picture to illustrate a new banknote?
Maryam Mahdavi : The image of a Covid Sanitary Pass/test.

The job you would not have liked to do?
Maryam Mahdavi : Any administrative job.

What are the bridges between photography and design for you?
Maryam Mahdavi : Photography and design are intimately linked in my opinion. Design is the result of a form that we photograph in our imagination and vice versa. But in the end, everything is an illusion!

Your biggest extravagance as a designer?
Maryam Mahdavi : Doing my job with as much passion and sweet madness as ever. To provoke, to move forward with the same golden rule over and over again, i.e. “No rules!!!” To go to the end of things without any regret!

What do you want to share through your creations?
Maryam Mahdavi : Passion, a little bit of madness and above all, well-being.

The city, country or culture you dream of discovering?
Maryam Mahdavi : Black Africa for its mysteries and its passionate colors!

The place you never get tired of?
Maryam Mahdavi : Paris of course.

Your biggest regret?
Maryam Mahdavi : I have none. My advice : Never regret anything.

Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok or Snapchat?
Maryam Mahdavi : Insta!!! Of course!

Color or B&W?
Maryam Mahdavi : Color again and again.

Daylight or artificial light?
Maryam Mahdavi : I love artificial light. It is for me like a weapon (harmless of course!) with which we can play, create atmospheres, a bit like in theater and cinema.

The most photogenic city?
Maryam Mahdavi : Paris of course. It is feminine and addictive.

If God existed, would you ask him to pose for you, or would you opt for a selfie with him
Maryam Mahdavi : If God existed, I would ask him to leave me alone. As for the selfie, I think it is the tragedy of our time!

What is missing in today’s world?
Maryam Mahdavi : What is missing in today’s world is Simplicity.

What if everything had to be redone?
Maryam Mahdavi : Same.

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