India-born and of Persian background, artist Shirin Sahba her half-Persian and 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 colours 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.
“I have been painting a lot of circular paintings. It’s like peering out of a boat window.”
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.
Meanwhile, the kitchen is the couple’s favourite place in the house since the couple loves 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.”