Kelly Behun | 2016 American Design Hot List

Kelly Behun

Kelly Behun

New York,
Behun is bringing downtown cool to an uptown crowd — both through her chic-yet-unexpected interiors and through her line of collaborative, Memphis-inflected furniture and objects that, this year, staged a takeover at Barneys.

What is American design to you, and what excites you about it?
There’s a wonderful spirit of non-conformity and fearlessness that I think is still uniquely American and permeates our subconscious in a way that’s profoundly liberating and exciting. This is absolutely the case in the world of American design — the dual realities of our strong emphasis on individuality and the freedom of individual expression, and even upending traditions, is one that not just lives but thrives alongside the reality that this is also a very tight knit, generous, and supportive community. When married together, these two seemingly disparate worlds create about as perfect an environment as one could hope to work in. That’s genuine gratitude speaking.

What are your plans and highlights for the upcoming year?
After coming off A Kook Milieu, my pop-up shop at Barneys New York, I’m really looking forward to my next line of furniture and accessories. It was such a great experience, and I especially loved working with new materials and techniques like marquetry and lacquered fabrics. My plan is to continue to explore different mediums, like blown glass, and more collaborations with artists, which has always been a cornerstone of my design practice. I am also working with clients on projects on both coasts and am looking forward to an interesting partnership with Artsy here in New York.

What inspires or informs your work in general?
I am endlessly inspired by the power our surroundings can have on our mood and ability to feel safe or happy, calm or restored. With so much uncertainty surrounding the political landscape and the world in general, it’s nice to feel there’s one environment you actually can control; your own little fiefdom where you can fashion the world as you want it, at least aesthetically. There’s
something deeply satisfying, and even life-affirming, about working with clients to figure out how to give them just that, and how to create an environment that is an authentic projection of who they are and that makes them feel happy and enriched to be at home.
ADHL_2016_Behun2 EDC110115_232 ADHL_2016_Behun4 ADHL_2016_Behun1