Kalon’s first furniture collection in two years is an ode to reflection, escapism and sustainable living. 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.
While bigger brands typically take their cues from the fashion industry by chasing trends and rushing collections to market, Kalon takes the opposite approach. Designing for how people live today means using their own Los Angeles home as a laboratory, even if the overall process — from the initial concept to producing all the pieces within the U.S. — slows everything down.
Unlike other companies that commonly focus on selling products above all else, Kalon eschewed imports altogether. Instead, Simmering and Pauwen focused on a commitment to domestic manufacturing and a “zero compromise” approach to ethical, sustainable production. In other words, Kalon decided to march to the beat of its own well-designed drum.
When they started their business with the idea of being a fully sustainable brand—which for them means high quality products, domestically made in small batch production, with zero-compromises on sustainable materials and finishes, using only healthy, chemically neutral products and processes—every business expert they spoke to told the couple they were crazy.
The choice is largely driven by personal ideals," say Johann Pauwen and Michaele Simmering, co-founders of Kalon. "We aren’t just building beautiful pieces, we’re making choices that reflect the world we want to live in." The couple—in work and in life—do however add that "manufacturing in the U.S. has been, and continues to be, our greatest challenge."
Investing in people.. livable wages... the future of craftsmanship... the future of the planet... quality products, these are all important values to Kalon Studios, a brand based in Los Angeles known for its pared-back, timeless designs made from traditional + modern craftsmanship and natural materials.
Evocative of midcentury modernist homeware, Kalon’s versions are elegant but practical. “We’ve always been fascinated by humble objects,” Simmering told me. “Our work is deliberately not precious. When we design, it’s with the intention that people are going to truly live, and live hard, with the pieces. We want them to be part of everyday life.”
Founders Michaele Simmering and Johann Pauwen design their elemental pieces in Los Angeles, which are then made in Pennsylvania to ensure the utmost attention to detail and quality. Each addition in Kalon’s collection is conceived as a simple, yet highly elevated version of an everyday object, and embodies modern sustainability at every turn.
You won’t find Michaele Simmering and Johann Pauwen on a soapbox, but they are every bit furniture makers on a mission. In an era when cheaply constructed products are proliferating, their "highly considered, zero-compromise" pieces are produced start to finish in the USA, a practice that’s helping to revitalize an American tradition gutted by offshoring to Asia.
The married designers, based in LA, bring an appreciation for the utilitarian to their line, Kalon, which they founded in 2007. A collection of well designed, sustainable furniture and housewares, each item has a reductive quality; a pared-back aesthetic that’s meant to blend seamlessly into a space, elevating its function and look.