Lora Appleton is one of the leading forces in the New York Design scene today. She is the founder of both acclaimed design studio, kinder MODERN and the founder of the Female Design Council, an action-oriented membership organization dedicated to supporting women in the field of design. The FDC provides professional support, guidance and mentorship, while fostering dialogue and spurring action on the issues facing women in this predominantly male industry. Her influence reaches beyond her Flatiron Showroom into the studios of emerging artists whom she hands pick to collaborate with on exclusively curated products. Her fresh approach to kinder furniture has evolved into a full on experience design firm, studiokinder, which will transform spaces into a world seen through her playful and innovative lens. We caught up with Lora as she prepared for her next exhibition opening next week in New York to find out more about what makes her a Workaholic.

Where is your workspace?

My workspace is in the No-Mad/Flatiron area in New York City, Our gallery and design studio are on the top floor of the historical St. James building, designed in 1897.

Photograph by Alexandra Rowley

What made you turn in this direction?

Getting pregnant with my son helped focus my attention on design for the family home. Wanting to explore the niche of historical design for children happened after digging in & realizing how little information there was on this niche.

Was this always your dream job?

In parts yes, my dream has always been to have a creative studio that supported the different design initiatives I’m involved in; designing furniture, crafting installations, playrooms, collective vintage furniture etc. The gallery allows me to curate amazing programming and work with designers worldwide; nothing bad about that!

How much of the week is work and how much is play?

So much of the week is work, however I love what I do, so its hard to not think of it as play.  kinder MODERN is playful in all ways, our space, the objects and furniture we make & deal in, everyday we sit in a playful dream.

What has been the most exciting thing you’ve done with your work and what is a dream situation you’d like to find yourself in?

I would say one of my most exciting things was selling both historical and contemporary work to the Brooklyn Museum. To have a cultural institution validate the work of my gallery felt amazing, and was a great lift to keep me pushing through all of the hard work to find additional successes.

A dream situation would be to install a full historical and contemporary show on designing for children in a major International museum (and it’s coming I can feel it!).

Cosmos, Lora Appleton x Cody Hoyt Collaboration

How do you find inspiration?

I am a problem solver, so I see inspiration in solutions. I am inspired by human interaction, food, culture, travel. I love to learn about other people and what makes them tick creatively, i find it very inspiring. I also see inspiration in my dreams, around my day to day walks, and definitely through my son, who opens my eyes to so much love, innocence and creative life ideas.

Wrap Your Arms Around Me, 2016 presented by Lora Appleton’s kinder MODERN and Miami’s Nina Johnson Gallery

How do you define your personal style: work, clothing, home etc?

Eclectic yet refined. My home is a unique mix of mostly vintage items, some collected, found, purchased etc. I am a collector at heart, and you can see that in all of my things. I enjoy the sentiment and story behind even the most basic items, like mixing the sculptures of Arne Lindaas, glassy Karl springer and my grandmother’s original Vladimir Kagan couch, its worn and lived in but with history.

 Lucas Maassen & Sons Retrospective for NYCxDesign 2018

What is the project you are working on that you are most excited about?

I am most excited about the growth of my design studio, studiokinder. We are exploring designing for children and our  discovery is so different from day to day. I like the change, excitement, and working with my awesome team of designers. We’re a funky little family that has fun and pushes each other to be better every day.

Lora Appleton and kinder MODERN will host a dual show exhibition: Before & Be After: Growing Up Design with Lucas Maassen & Sons and Play in Motion with Rodger Stevens Opening Reception: Friday, May 11, 6-8PM On-Going Friday, May 11 through Friday, May 25, 2018. For more information visit kindermodern.com

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