American interior designer Kelly Behun is well known in the US for her curatorial prowess. The interiors she creates often feature a blend of bespoke furniture, artwork and vintage finds. Prior to setting up her own practice in 2001, Behun cut her teeth as part of the in-house design team at Ian Schrager Hotel, where she worked under architect Anda Andrei and alongside the likes of Philippe Starck. She now runs her own studio in New York, and it’s this city where she’s made her home that has served as muse to her exciting new collaboration with British brand The Rug Company.
The view from Kelly’s Park Avenue penthouse in Manhattan’s Upper East Side gives her a prime viewing platform of the iconic skyline and it’s this panorama which has informed ‘Cityscapes’, a collection of two rugs. ‘The old saying that you “do what you know” couldn’t be more apt in this case,’ says Behun. ‘I am fortunate to have some lovely views from my apartment so the colours and shapes of each rug relate directly to the interplay of light and sky and architecture and the way they change throughout the day.’
Each of the designs represents a different time of day. ‘“Eclipse” is about nightfall and the sky at dusk – the dusty pinks and blue-greys, and the ombré was a way to capture how they subtly change and melt together as the sun sets,’ she says. While “Domus” is about how the architectural forms of the Manhattan skyline overlap like a giant collage and how the shadows they create interact as the day progresses’
Behun has worked with The Rug Company for a number of years on bespoke rugs for her clients, so the project happened organically. ‘When they asked me to create a few designs for them it felt like part of a natural evolution. I am so impressed with their ability to translate an idea – they really understand how to integrate the subtleties of a particular design and how colours should transition and what materials and techniques to use in order all to realise a gorgeous result,’ she says. These subtleties have been achieved by the rugs being made from fine hand-knotted Tibetan wool and silk, which gives them a slight shimmer evocative of moonlight or a hazy sunset.
This isn’t Behun’s first venture into product design, she already has a line of accessories sold through online market place 1st Dibs. So, what's next? ‘I have long wanted to create a line of fabrics and am working on that now!’ As for the day job, the projects keep rolling in. ‘Right now I am particularly excited about a small luxury residential building in Manhattan. It’s a collaboration with Robert A.M. Stern Architect and I am doing all of the interiors. The building is classically elegant and in a beautiful neighbourhood just a block from Central Park and the Guggenheim Museum.’ Another Manhattan story then, which comes as no surprise.
Behun discusses the collection in detail in the video below:
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