FOUNDED IN 1999 BY NILOUFAR BAKHTIAR BAKHTIARI, DESIGNER AND ART CONNOISSEUR WHO COMBINES COLOUR AND CONTEMPORARY ART WITH FLAIR AND EXPRESSION.
Interview by Alexia Taska
Born to an Iranian father and a Swiss mother, Niloufar embodies a fusion of different cultures. She has worked on projects in The United Kingdom, Switzerland, France, Greece, USA and UAE. Brought up by her grandparents, whose galleried library represented the soul of the house, Niloufar was strongly influenced by her grandfather, a great lover of art and a talented watchmaker. During many travels together, he taught her to appreciate the very best and how to choose each object, both for its own intrinsic merits and for its relationship with other pieces, which is the quintessence of artistic direction.
“At heart, I am an eclectic mix, and I love to cross styles, materials and functions.”
With a wide-ranging, relentless curiosity, Niloufar is always exploring new fields, whether for the work of Baudelaire or of contemporary artists like Alice Anderson or Rana Begum, or even writings of Bruce Lee. She juxtaposes different styles and eras, associates colours and marries functions and materials in an unusual way, combining audacity and harmony to create a feeling of well-being and softness: a Louis XVI armchair in a pop colour, a bookcase that also accommodates objects and works of art. She also likes to use fabric to soften cupboard doors, to hide their utility aspect and to reduce noise. The sensuality and softness of different fabrics, so well evoked by Ingres in his paintings, inspires the designer a lot.
“the colour gives the pulse”…
Niloufar could never be called faint-hearted person, and her work also reflects her Persian heritage, with its vivid colours, its luxuriant traditions, the pleasure and use of bathrooms (a far cry from tiling and clinical appearance), some play areas and nomadic way with multifunctional furniture. Colour, with its diverse uses, changing depending on the light, textures, materials … and perceived differently depending on each, is at the heart of Niloufar’s work, influenced by many artists: The brightness of black in the paintings of Soulages, a real revelation, like the use of shadows and lights in Tanizaki’s books, the interiors painted by Félix Vallotton and Matisse, the tones of Ellsworth Kelly or the original colours of Wedgwood, with the importance of texture. She uses the imperial purple of Tyr, Byzantine and Roman, but also the powdery pink of her grandfather’s Scottish cashmere jumper … or cement when it dries. And Kees Van Dongen, who expresses a sensation with a colour, which prevails over the real shade fascinates her. The red grass thus seems natural. Red Grass is also the title of a book by Boris Vian that she loves.
Following studies in law and languages, Niloufar made a career u-turn into the design industry.
After an initial career designing bedlinen and fabrics, Niloufar established her own interior design studio, NBB Design in 1999, specialising in the complete design, specification and implementation of exclusive interior and exterior spaces.
With a dedicated team of experienced builders and specialist suppliers, Niloufar has created a unique decorating style and a level of service that is unparalleled. Each project is treated on an individual basis and the architecture and location are duly considered. Niloufar believes in working closely with her clients to ensure their requirements are met and projects are delivered on time and on budget. For Niloufar, creating a comfortable yet functional home is a key aspect of her work.
NBB’s team of skilled interior designers handle all aspects of a design project from concept through to completion.
Vibrant colour is just one of the influences of Niloufar’s Persian heritage that has helped shape a clear design identity. Niloufar is passionate about antique and contemporary Middle Eastern art and her stewardship roles as Patron of the Royal Academy and member of the MENAAC acquisition committee at Tate Modern signify the central position that art takes in her life and work.
Niloufar centres her work on the client’s world whether for interiors or Art Direction. The scenographies she conceives are elegant, researched and shade an alternative angle to the project.