Act III presents a collection in which, for the first time, artistic Director Gabriel Hendifar mines personal cultural history to inform the studio’s new work. The genesis of the collection is a box, intricately inlaid in the Persian Khatam style, which his grandmother brought with her from Iran to the United States in 1979 as a political refugee.
As a first-generation American born after the Islamic Revolution, Gabriel’s moments of intersection with Iran and its culture were experienced at a distance. Passed down as an idealized and melancholy memory, it is kept alive through storytelling, food and music. This collection is an attempt to create a tangible connection to this place suspended in time, while also imagining it as a futurist fantasy.
The objects in this new collection evoke a pan-cultural aesthetic reminiscent of Bugatti, with elements made in Tehran, Italy and the United States. These include pieces using Khatam, a marquetry technique which originated in Shiraz, the birthplace of Gabriel’s grandmother; a dining table inspired by the Tombak, a drum that is foundational in Persian music and played by Gabriel’s father; a group of marble and leather tables that reference nomadic tray tables used across the Middle East to serve tea; a range of alabaster and fluted brass lighting that references Berber jewelry while pushing it through a futurist lens; a semi-precious stone sconce inspired by the details of statues at Persepolis.