Natasha Baradaran founded Natasha Baradaran Interior Design in 2000, building a trademark aesthetic in the decades since that is inspired by her love of flamenco, Italian summers, her mother’s jewelry, and the California desert. But to define the creative powerhouse, who has worked with clients like actors Kate Hudson and Sara Foster, as just an interior designer is to only paint half the picture. Since 2014, Baradaran has crafted high-demand textile and furniture collections (as well as some exquisite rosewater Irish linen tablecloths) while running her West Hollywood–based design firm. So, when she unveiled her latest sustainable furniture line this spring, it wasn’t totally surprising.
What is surprising is her choice of material: cactus leather harvested from an organic ranch in Central Mexico. Here, the fashion-forward designer shares the inspiration for her collection, Livwell Cactus Leather by Natasha Baradaran Textiles.
You’re originally an interior designer. Why did you start making furniture, and what attracted you to vegan leather for this new collection?
I felt I had something different to say than what was out there. I wanted to create pieces that did not exist in the marketplace. The same goes for the creation of our new Livwell Cactus Leather collection. There are already faux leathers out there, but ours is made from plant material and has a softer hand and color palette. As an individual, I have become more environmentally conscious, and I would like my work to reflect that.
Does cactus leather offer any particular advantages over other types of vegan leather?
Compared to other vegan leathers, cactus leather does not have the off-gas smell of vinyl. In our case, the embossing and tipping of the material give our furniture a unique feature. Our cactus leather is not trying to emulate animal leather. It is its own material in its texture and color palette. Plus, cactus leather wears well but does not patina like conventional leather.
How does the cactus leather material align with your broader aesthetic and sustainability vision?
I love to embrace tradition by juxtaposing vintage elements against contemporary design, along with my furniture pieces and textiles, to give each space a unique vibe. Our pieces are also made of multiple materials. I approached our Livwell Cactus Leather with the same thought process. I took something simple, embossed it with a custom design, and added my color sensibility by tipping it.
Your brand marries your Persian Italian heritage with the beauty of California. Do you draw inspiration from different art forms and landscapes within these cultures?
My work fuses European design traditions with the laid-back luxury synonymous with Los Angeles living. It’s a layered look that is sophisticated yet approachable. As a native Californian, I have always been intrigued by succulents and cacti. The soft, earthy pastel colors of our Livwell leathers are in keeping with the freshness of my interior design approach.
What other projects are you currently working on?
My largest textile collection to date, Persian Garden, is coming out this spring. It is inspired by my Persian heritage and my love of gardens.