SPACES | ARTIST SHIRIN SAHBA’S HOME

The one-bedroom open-plan apartment in Beijing is decorated with natural Indian fabrics and handwoven textiles from around the world|

India-born and of Persian background, artist Shirin Sahba and her half-Persian, half-American husband Na’im Moore have moved cities six times in six years. She believes in putting down roots wherever she goes.

Their tiny one-bedroom apartment is located in a hip and trendy part of Beijing called Sanlitun. Shirin believes in an open-plan living concept. On her design ethos, she says, “I love a space that is both comfortable and uplifting in its choice of colors and décor. I love natural Indian fabrics and collect handwoven textiles from around the world. I adore my embroidered wall-hanging, the Mexican Otomi, in the living room.”

Shirin’s work is influenced by the miniature tradition of the East, particularly India. She remarks, “I have been painting a lot of circular paintings recently. I find the shape so calming and organic; it’s like peering out of a boat window.” In the hallway is what she calls her Chinese corner, featuring her collection of antiques—three wooden praying monks, a large painted opera chest and a lotus pattern hand-painted vase.

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“I have been painting a lot of circular paintings. It’s like peering out of a boat window.”

 

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She says, “My work desk is large and I spend most of my working days at it. I love all the natural light that floods in through the large windows. I gain a lot of inspiration from this peaceful and bright space.” In her bedroom is a large painting of an elephant by an Indian artist— “he was completely willing to do a huge painting even though he usually does miniatures!” An antique suzani was a gift from her sister-in-law after a trip to Turkey. The bolster cushions are designed by her.

 

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Meanwhile, the kitchen is the couple’s favorite place in the house since they love to cook and entertain. Remarks Shirin, “It’s very streamlined, minimalist and compact. I love that everything is white because it’s easier to keep it clean and spotless. There is a washer/dryer (together in one machine) in this tiny kitchen, but you wouldn’t know it because it’s sleekly designed.”

The Rajasthani pink mother-of-pearl inlaid cupboard is Shirin’s favourite piece of furniture and was commissioned for her birthday by her husband. On the wall is a juju head-dress from Africa. She tells us, “It’s a tribal hat used in village ceremonies, from Cameroon, Africa. I have a few of these and love them.”

 

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