For Lora Appleton, art and design are part of the family heirloom. Her grandparents, who were artists, initiated her into it since her earliest childhood. The founder and manager of kinder MODERN made it become a reference, and a good one: it is the reference for children furniture, with a 20th century specialisation. In other words, it is niche sector in which Lora excels, and her skills to identify and work with new talents made her a respected curator. Her choices, between iconic vintage pieces and contemporary creations, are always audacious and well thought out, just like her own apartment in TriBeCa, in Manhattan. In this glass turret which view – an impressing view – is naturally displayed, Lora Appleton and her family develop the joy to be together, thanks to the will for transmission which does Willem, 7 years old, good. This boy is growing up between the art pieces of his great-grandmother, Barbara Gross, and the ones which come from for his mother’s gallery and he experiences it joyfully and spiritedly. He even finds his own drawings on the wall accumulation in the bathroom! What Lora loves above all is to be surrounded with the people she loves. It is an adage she even respects when it comes to her apartment’s decoration, fully redesigned with her lifelong associate Bachman Brown Clem. The Socialite Family makes you visit this very private sanctuary were everything is well thought out.
Lora, can you introduce yourself?
I am the founder and Creative Director at kinder MODERN, the only gallery in the world that specializes in historical and contemporary child design. I am also a textile and furniture designer and will launch studiokinder, my child furniture and product design studio, in 2017.
Why did you choose this area to live with your son?
TriBeCa is just amazing, it has everything. We are so close to Batery Park, my favorite NYC park, to the water and to everything the city offers in Downtown Manhattan. It truly is very culturally engaged down here. We have excitement from the Whitney to the Occulus at World Trade to Brookfield Place. It is also close to the seaport where my son goes to school.
Could you tell us what is your style in terms of interior design?
I am a bit of an eclectic minimalist if there is such a thing. I love playful and iconic design, rich in history and steeped in hand craftedness. I like the furniture pieces in my home to be strong, graphic and well made, and also to mix well with the fact that I am a sculpture addict so my shelves are all peppered with unique sculpture, pottery and glass from every period. I also like to have unique art on the walls that plays of the lighting and shape of the room. I make rich choices in wallpaper, with a touch of glam thrown in.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I believe inspiration is everywhere: it’s cliché but true. I try and get as much offline inspiration as possible. Experiencing time with my son and his friends, seeing what the kids create at school, from self-portraits to building projects. I am obsessed with art, and love to check out innovative architecture, and I also love travelling and seeing how all types of people live and enjoy life.
What was your education in terms of interior design?
My education consisted of arts school where my design was mostly focused on sets for the theatre and film. Then I moved into steel and glass and other materials like plastics and wood when I worked in restaurant and nightclub branding & outdoor/environment design. But otherwise I have always been obsessed with design and have collected design pieces and furniture since I am a child. I have as well worked on decorating/designing a lot of homes before I started focusing on child design and designing playrooms and child-centric space.
Where do you go when you look for an object or a piece of furniture for your gallery?
I travel all over the world to flea markets, basements, vintage stores, online and more. A lot of people know what I do so they come to me with things they are looking to sell. I have pickers all over that scope for cool things, but I can do it as well.
What means kinder MODERN? How do you want to develop the concept?
Kinder MODERN began as a gallery and has transformed into multiple things: we are a gallery at our core where we specialize and have an amazing collection of revolving 20th century child furniture pieces, we also have a robust stable of designers (20 & counting!) on our contemporary side where we co-design and produce objects for the modern child. We also design child furniture for other brands, and are thrilled to be launching studiokinder, our in-house furniture and product design studio for children. We will continue to grow all of our collections and to spearhead trends and communication about child design with the launch of our new publication kinder JOURNAL, an online monthly publication dedicated to past, present and future child design.
Which piece do you like the most?
Ooh that’s tough, they all have a special place in my heart, but as of right now I would say it is the Black Rubber Chair, done in the 1980’s by Henner Kuckuck, this child piece is made out of rubber and steel and is a true collectors’ item as well as a piece that can be used.
How do you bring up your son in your daily life, with your work?
He is the center of my life, my joy, my inspiration, my heart. We create a lot of things together, make fun projects, draw all the time. He is often at the gallery/showroom and interacting with my amazing staff, a bunch of super fun creatives. He likes to give input on the designs, the rugs we make and often in his own work he will emulate designing furniture and more, it is very interesting to watch he effect of this design and creation have on him!
Credits : Constance Gennari @thesocialitefamily