New York-based interior designer Kelly Behun is known for her high-end hotel-style interiors – she honed her technique by working for six years alongside Andrée Putman and Philippe Starck for Ian Schrager, New York’s king of contemporary hotel design. Now she has come up with a series of punchy pieces especially for Barneys’ Madison Avenue store, so shoppers can take her pop-inspired postmodern style home with them. These exclusives will feature alongside highlights from her new season line at a pop-up shop (September 8-October 31) named A Kook Milieu and inspired by gallerist Holly Solomon, a figure in the 1970s and ’80s pattern and decoration movement.
The space will also be showing original works by two artists from Solomon’s gallery, Izhar Patkin and Kim MacConnel, with the standout showpiece a painted neoprene curtain that Patkin originally created to hang in Solomon’s Park Avenue dining room, which was then shown at Venice Biennale.
Behun identifies with Solomon’s irreverent approach to style and how she played with the point at which art and design overlap; Behun’s dining and coffee tables are topped with striking decoration that’s both artistic and fun. Far from fussy, they offer a dash of confident, contemporary character. A highlight from the new line is a mosaic-tiled dining-table top ($7,500, made to order, first picture) that features abstract, painterly swoops of colour in pale black, mushroom brown, oatmeal cream and royal blue and would work just as well in a city apartment as in a house by the Mediterranean. And the Preface side table ($5,500), which Behun designed in collaboration with ceramicist Cody Hoyt, features handmade ceramic tiles, a marbled stoneware inlay and concrete and antiqued brass top, and is in a limited edition of 20.
Smaller pieces include cashmere throws ($995), interlocking geometric vases (from $475), ceramic table centrepieces ($1,500, second picture), cushions (from $325) covered in embossed suede and printed linen with metallic foil and, of course, Behun’s scented candles ($65). Many of her pieces feature graphic black and white stripes, sometimes with flashes of bright colour.
Beside her own works, Behun has chosen products she rates by other designers, including organic-looking sculptural ceramic planters by Monty (from $250, third picture) and colourful artsy Manal Kara ceramics (from $500) that look very du jour. Everything has been selected by Behun to channel Solomon’s fearless risk-taking spirit, and can be found in the Chelsea Passage homewares section of the iconic midtown department store.