For her first collection, Angola-born designer Indira Lourenço found inspiration by combining Northern European and African influences.
BY RACHEL SMALL
Designer Indira Lourenço recently debuted “45 Degrees,” the first collection for her company I.Lo, which she founded last year. The collection has a simple premise: Decorative lines and edges bend at 45-degree angles. It’s a measurement that “splits the right angle into two equal parts ... where balance between the sky and earth are harmonious,” she writes. It somehow adds up that Lourenço, 30, would seek a mathematical yet natural balance in her designs. Born and raised in Luanda, Angola, she left home for the United States in 2008 to study chemical engineering on a scholarship at Louisiana State University. But after gaining a reputation for making over the rooms of her college friends, it became clear that she’d found another calling, so she moved north to attend the New York School of Interior Design. In 2013, during her last summer as a student, she lived abroad in various cities in Northern Europe, including Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Oslo, where it was the “lightness and the clean lines” of local design, as well as its ability to adapt to the weather, that resonated with her. She started to consider how she could put a Scandinavian spin on African design, which, she noted, felt weighed down by heavier contours. She honed in on the chevron motif, an art deco favorite that is also prevalent in African patterns. Rendered in 3-D, zigs and zags meeting at 45 degrees, the shape became the physical and conceptual foundation for the collection. Over the next few years, she developed seven pieces that reflect what she describes as the simultaneously beautiful and painful history of Africa. She furthers this contrast through combinations of marble, brass, and glass that mix transparency with white, black, and gold surfaces. “Where the light comes through, it’s about times of joy, when you get into a rhythm and keep going.”