The human relationship with objects both ornamental and functional goes back to the beginning of human history. Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, or the Acropolis Museum in Athens, and it will be abundantly clear that as a species, we have always loved collecting beautiful things — and making necessary things beautiful. As the creators of objects, designers of course have a particularly potent relationship with the material world. We have spent a lifetime looking at objects, reflecting upon form and function, channeling the abstract world of emotions and intention into the tangible. Objects have almost fetishized resonance for us.
The Kalon showroom — our very first physical space — offered a new and ripe opportunity to champion the belief that the material world informs the way we live our lives. The objects we surround ourselves with reinforce our identities and reflect these ideals back at us. We’ve chosen things that hold meaning and communicate our collective interests. These objects collected in the showroom are not an accident; each and every piece was chosen for particular qualities that inspire and speak to us. The selection of objects is a language unto itself, communicating beyond, but still through, aesthetics.
Instead of new objects, we largely chose pieces that had previous lives and echoes of the personal. These types of objects become symbolic invitations to imagine, remember, and connect. A figure drawing from 1959 and a 1979 piece made from metal and plexiglass by the artist William Saltzman came to us via his granddaughter, our Studio Manager, Julia Saltzman. An unassuming yet charming hand-carved wooden horse is a relic from our co-founder Johann’s childhood.
Dotting the space are an array of antique German vessels with scratches, knicks, and unique patinas. We do not know what type of life these objects lived, but they contain a magnetism that called to Johann and Michaele from a crowded cellar packed with hundreds of vessels spanning decades. “The antique shops we visited in Berlin are not curated, but rather are jam-packed with dusty items that span an immense period of time. The rooms are claustrophobic and difficult to navigate; you have to squeeze yourself between stacks of paintings, lace, old photos, and glassware. Finding a piece feels more like a discovery. The ones we picked are the ones that, for us, had that special aura.” Plucked from this world and now placed in the showroom, they carry a nostalgia that will continue to evolve over time.
Elsewhere in the showroom, objects of striking sensoriality offer unique expressions of color, texture, pattern, and tactility. They engage our senses and invite closer observation. Organic material expressions like ceramic, metal, and stone speak to core Kalon philosophies of beauty growing with time and use, and the magnetism of imperfection. Materials that evade or allow us to experiment with the limits of human control stimulate the way we think about the relationship between a designer and their chosen form. A large vase with an uncommon visage — a mottled glaze with shadowy tones and charred textures — commands attention in the main showroom space. Made by friend and artist Adam Silverman, this piece is part of a collection made using clay, seashells, and seaweed collected from beaches in Narraganset, which is also where Rugosa (the beloved family home for which our Rugosa collection is named) is located. By using foraged, organic elements, instead of traditional glazes, he is experimenting with the inherent ungovernability of nature. Within our designs, we aim to honor these same forces with our material choices. In the showroom itself, Rugosa, the collection, takes center stage. And while this vase may seem to be just a beautiful piece of ceramicware — is in fact a crystallization of a time, place, and perspective that is precious to us.
Semi-abstract bronze sculptures, with their interplay of polish and patina, are living expressions of time and touch. A robust collection of books, gathered from our personal libraries, as well as work created by more friends from our local Los Angeles community, imbue the space with humanity and a warmth that feels lived in and alive with inspiration. New works, like a large-scale charcoal artwork by Austin Leis, reflect the ways that Kalon is perceived by friends and collaborators. Leis’ piece juxtaposes order and chaos, complexity and minimalism, much like Kalon’s design ethos.
Interior spaces are, of course, living places, and not just in a domestic sense. They transform right alongside the people within them. From selections for curtains and kitchen countertops to the objects that inhabit the showroom, we sought to create windows for people to see how we see, and to peer within and fall in love with the internal fabric of our world. In this way, we hope to bring Kalon — the people, places, and lives past and present that shape us — into sharper focus.