09 Oct Niloufar Bakhtiar Bakhtiari, founder of NBB studio
If I were . . .
Born to an Iranian father and a Swiss mother, Niloufar embodies a fusion of different cultures. She founded her NBB studio in 1999 and since then has worked on high-end residential projects in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, France, Greece, USA and UAE. An art connoisseur and collector of note, 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: the quintessence of artistic direction.
If I were a CAR, I would love to be a Matra-Simca Bagheera. Very few were made and my grandfather had one. It has three seats in the front only and I still remember the joy of sitting between my grandparents. His was white and had a huge dragon on the bonnet!
If I were a FLOWER, it would have to be the Peony, because it is beautiful at every stage from the round “bulb” to the explosion of petals. Until the very end of its life, it retains something glorious. Having said this, I have a little problem with flowers: I love them but seeing a flower fade can make me cry . . . I find it one the saddest aesthetical experiences.
If I were a SONG, definitely Le tourbillon de la vie [The Whirlpool of Life] sung by Jeanne Moreau in the film, Jules et Jim. It transports me . . . I discovered it as a child and would listen to it for hours on my orange-slotted disc player. Decades later, I used to sing it to my children at bedtime . . . I still sing it in the shower!
If I were a FABRIC, I would be my grandfather’s pink cashmere jumper.
If I were a CITY, it would have to be London, even though I have lived all over the world! It’s where I feel truly at home. Virginia Woolf’s description of London in Mrs Dalloway would make anyone fall in love with it.
If I were an ISLAND: Patmos in Greece. It is a small, sacred island and is the most eastern one in the Dodecanese . . . the beginning of Orient, but still European. I have a house there where I spend every summer.
If I were a BOAT, the Santa María in which Christopher Columbus discovered America!
If I were a COLOUR: Purple, because it amazes and perplexes me. The first time purple was mentioned was by Pliny the Elder and he described it as dry blood, yet today purple is more often understood as close to violet. It was made from a mollusc off the shore of Tyre. The coloured fabric when drying would range from Tyrian pink to deep purple and this colour was only used for Emperors.
If I were a TREE, I would love to be a Christmas tree, chosen, cherished and decorated with love. I would see the children’s eyes and hear their happy shrieks once Santa came!