Kalon’s first furniture collection in two years is an ode to reflection, escapism and sustainable living
It’s been two years since LA-based design studio Kalon released a collection, making the unveiling of its new seven-piece furniture series all the more of an event. Of course, the studio’s founders Michaele Simmering and Johannes Pauwen could never have predicted their launch would coincide with a near-global lockdown and so, instead of the usual physical fanfare, the debut is a predominantly digital one – part of Offsite Online, the exhibition by Sight Unseen.
The present period has thrown up its challenges, but it has also created a new and unexpected resonance for the collection – an ode to creatives, intended to stimulate reflection. The name, Rugosa (meaning beach rose), comes from a Rhode Island beach house that has been in the designers’ family for generations and which once served as a retreat for artists and scholars. In times of isolation – and even solitude – there’s power in the consciously transportive nature of the pieces, their lightness and ease a contemplation on the coast and, as Simmering and Pauwen hint, on the natural world more broadly.
“Since starting Kalon in 2007, our goal has been to create the simplest but most elevated version of an everyday object, in the most sustainable way possible,” says Simmering. “This is our most comprehensive furniture launch to date and embodies what we set out to do from the beginning.”
Indeed, crafted from planks of western sugar pine and bronzed glass, with Belgian linen upholstery, each piece in the collection is designed to ‘enrich not deplete’ resources. Materials are fully biodegradable and the production process is tailored to reduce waste and minimise any carbon footprint, from shipping on completion (so no energy or transportation expended on storage) to bolstering traditional, local crafts at risk of fading into irrelevance in the age of assembly lines.
Our goal has been to create the simplest but most elevated version of an everyday object, in the most sustainable way possible
Pauwen describes Rugosa as a ‘body of work’, summoning comparisons with an art collection or literary endeavour and less so a purely practical assortment of objects. In this case it’s a philosophy that feels fitting. Rugosa is in many ways a singular creative expression, made up of individual fragments that are intended to inspire and provoke, as well as function and serve. But serve they do: a sofa, daybed, chair, tables and bookcase something of an essential capsule collection for modern living.
It’s arrival may not be quite as planned, but Pauwen is bouyant: “We have the utmost respect for the curatorial vision of Sight Unseen and feel honoured to be included as creatives on the vanguard of design today.”