Laura Kirar expertly entwines art and design; her world travels and life’s simple pleasures like art, food, and music influence her aesthetic. Known for unexpectedly mixing light and dark neutrals with acid-bright tones, or boldly integrating earth and jewel colors, Laura’s sophisticated approach to color and material pull you in like only an accomplished artist could.
How did you discover your creative talents?
I grew up in Chicago, the eldest of six. My father, a schoolteacher and the owner of a general contracting business, used to paint large canvases in the evenings, and my mother made everything from our home’s draperies to our Halloween costumes. My parents always encouraged my artistic expression.
What is your life like now?
I am an artist, entrepreneur, globetrotter, and a lover of life experiences, gained through my travels and international network of friends. Music, art, food, dance, family, friends and entertaining are very important to me. I live and work in both NYC and Miami, and I also have a hacienda in Mexico that I am restoring.
How did you know design was the path for you?
I discovered I was interested in interior design while at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I was arranging a showing of my work, and I found myself really concerned with how one might feel in the environment as much as how they would feel about my objects in it. From that point forward, my work became more focused on spatial experiences and my sculptures became more functional. It was a gradual evolution, but eventually I found myself taking interior architecture classes and designing and making my own furniture.
How did your background as an artist help you become a more successful designer?
My background as an artist produced a profound respect for authentic materials and a working knowledge of how to make things with my own hands. The experience of working in many mediums, from wood to weaving to bronze casting, gave me an early understanding of the both the limitations and beautiful qualities of these materials. I’ve heard from manufacturers that my pieces are the most challenging to work on, but also the most successful.
Who are your design heroes?
Historically, the modernist greats inspire me, such as Hoffman, Peche, Ruhlman, Frank, Eileen Gray. As a contemporary, I’m a huge fan of Alberto Pinto.
What’s worth splurging on and what isn’t?
Pieces of high quality and stylistic flexibility are money well spent. Timeless pieces are always worth the investment, such as great accessories, which add luxury and personality to a space.
What is the key to successfully layering accessories in a room?
I always try to have at least two places in a room for the eye to rest, be it a clean surface, a blank wall or an open window with a pleasant view.
How do you incorporate art in your designs?
Incorporating art into my work is very important, but I don’t give myself too many rules. Sometimes I’ll fill a wall with photographs, small drawings and kitsch pieces of little importance. Sometimes I have a large piece that commands full attention, and everything in the space becomes secondary.
How do you create an ideal mix between trendy and classic?
I create layered and timeless interiors for my clients. I prefer a level of quiet, classic form seasoned with interesting objects curated from markets all over the world. Just as we change with time and our experiences, an interior should always continue to evolve and be refreshed. Carefully selecting pieces that work is never trendy.
Where is your favorite place to travel to?
Even though I travel all over the world for work, I try to vacation somewhere I’ve never been before every year. Last year I went sightseeing in India and surfing in Barbados; this year I will visit Beijing and Chile.
How can you reflect your love for traveling without having a room full of souvenirs?
I love to shop when I travel but always have a wish list of what I’m looking for when I go to a market in a foreign city. If I don’t have a place for something, it doesn’t come home with me.
Cooking is a big component of your life. What do you love about it?
Cooking is another creative outlet for me. I love to experiment with new recipes or recreate favorite dishes from a restaurant. I’m famous for spontaneously whipping up something delicious from mysterious contents in the refrigerator. My key ingredient is cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil.
Is there a common thread among all your projects?
My spaces and furniture have the balance of masculine and feminine, luxury and restraint. I approach my design work as an artist, considering the function and conceptual possibilities as well as aesthetics. My work often reveals a surprise or second layer of detail that makes it unique.
To learn more about Laura Kirar, click here www.trudesign.com.