India Mahdavi and Crosby Studios create reflective ping pong parlour in Paris

Designer Harry Nuriev of Crosby Studios has transformed India Mahdavi’s Paris gallery into a silver-coloured space where visitors can play table tennis in the lead-up to the 2024 Olympic Games.

The Match Point installation is the 14th takeover of Mahdavi’s Project Room gallery space on the Left Bank, where the Iranian-French architect also has her studio, showroom and boutique.

People playing ping-pong at immersive installation by Crosby Studios
Harry Nuriev has transformed India Mahdavi’s Paris gallery into a ping pong parlour

Given carte blanche to transform the 28-square-metre space, Nuriev employed a minimalist aesthetic to make visitors feel like they are part of a video game.

The table at the centre of the space is completely painted silver, as are the bats and the balls. Reflective materials were used throughout, including the silver linoleum floor and aluminium panels cladding the walls.

India Mahdavi's Paris gallery installation
Reflective materials are used throughout the gallery space

“It’s a physical experience as much as a visual one because the space seems to have been dematerialised, as if it were part of the digital world,” Mahdavi told Dezeen.

Mahdavi conceived the installation ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympics, aiming to create a playful installation that references the games while maintaining her studio’s focus on domestic spaces.

The choice of table tennis was based on its ability to bring together people of all ages and to encourage exercise in various settings, including the home.

Ping-pong table within India Mahdavi's gallery in Paris
The ping pong table, racket and ball were all painted silver

“Project Room #14 acts as a modern-day parlour and seeks to address table tennis from a spatial and social perspective,” Mahdavi said.

“On the one hand, it reconnects with the game’s origin by devoting a domestic interior space to physical activity, and on the other, it invites the outside to play on the inside.”

The collaboration with Nuriev was a “quick and energetic” back-and-forth akin to a game of ping pong, Mahdavi explained.

“I was interested to see how Harry would appropriate the space as he stands at the crossroads of many different disciplines, as my practice embodies this very principle, too,” she said. “There’s a sense of playfulness and domesticity in both our practices; in a way, we are both athletes in our fields.”

Silver interior at installation by Crosby Studios
Visitors are invited to play ping pong in the lead-up to the Olympic Games

The intention behind covering the entire room in reflective surfaces was to create the effect of a spatial mirror connecting the interior with the street outside.

In the spirit of creating an installation that is interactive and social, the public is invited to use Match Point as a place to meet and play, with the ping pong table available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Silver bats and balls for ping-pong installation by Crosby Studios
Even the net has a silver colour

Scenography is a central pillar of Mahdavi’s practice, with previous examples including the design for an exhibition of works by French painter Pierre Bonnard in Melbourne, Australia, as well a stripy seaside-inspired backdrop for an furniture exhibition at Paris’s Centre Pompidou.

Mahdavi also develops her own brightly coloured furniture and products, including rugs and seating used to temporarily enliven the interiors of a 16th-century villa in Rome.

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