Safoura Zahedi’s Hypnotic Installation Uses Geometry as a Spiritual Tool

The edges of the stainless-steel panels glimmer as the light touches them, the modular structure shifting and morphing depending on your point of view, as though it were alive. And, in a sense, it is; Safoura Zahedi’s hypnotic “Journey Through Geometry” installation, showcased at the 2024 Interior Design Show and the DesignTO Festival, takes traditional culture and craftsmanship and carries them into the future. Like any living thing, it embodies the past while leaping forward in time.

Zahedi was born in Tokyo to parents from Isfahan, Iran, and grew up in Tehran and Toronto, where she’s now based. It’s this mix of different cultures that’s culminated in who she is, both as a person and as an artist. In her practice, she’s been keenly interested in connecting to her own heritage as part of a diaspora. “There’s always these questions of how to bring these different parts of myself together,” Zahedi says. Over the years she’s developed a focus on using her work in architecture and design to enable “cross-cultural connection.”

“Journey Through Geometry” by Safoura Zahedi.

To accomplish this goal, she uses geometry as a tool that encourages meditation, connection, and curiosity cross-culturally. Geometry was a part of her life from a young age: her mother, also an artist, used geometric patterns to illustrate the stories of female characters in the Quran. During her master’s, Zahedi studied Islamic geometry; in 2022, to dive deeply into this tradition, she travelled to more than 40 cities across historic Islamic dynasties and learned about the craftsmanship of the local people working with geometric arts.

After discovering that peace and wisdom are integral parts of their practices, she was reminded that the act of creation is a sacred and spiritual one; a lesson that she hadn’t felt through her Western, Eurocentric studies. It’s this insight that she attempts to continue through her own practice, in which she takes those traditionally two-dimensional patterns and uses digital technologies to translate them into three-dimensional designs that remain informed by the same philosophies and that carry the same soul.

“Journey Through Geometry” uses a six-fold pattern, which is commonly used across many different cultures and faiths, to create modules that repeat in a fractal design in which each unit is the same as the whole and the whole is the same as each unit. “I’m really interested in how spatial experiences can have better impacts on our mental health and well-being,” says Zahedi, referencing studies on how fractal patterns can have positive effects on viewers. A forward-thinking and deeply thoughtful study on respectfully translating the historical into the future-oriented, “Journey Through Geometry” cements Safoura Zahedi as an emerging designer to watch.

Feature image courtesy of Kurtis Chen.