There’s a new breed of multifamily product out there and it’s being driven by design enthusiasts. Today’s renter doesn’t want to live in a cookie-cutter space and developers have become quite competitive as well as they strive to come up with unique offerings. One way to stand apart is by outfitting common areas with one or more custom furniture pieces. New York-based Kim Price is founder and principal of KAVANTE, a high-end custom furniture, lighting and accessories design company. Price’s KAVANTE Collection is available through The Bright Group, an amalgam of independently owned and operated manufacturers, artisans and designers, at showrooms in Boston, Chicago, Dallas and New York. In our exclusive interview, Price takes MHN inside the world of custom furniture design.
MHN: Why did you decide to partner with Bright?
Price: The Bright Group has an excellent reputation in the industry for making the highest quality American-made products and they have been in business for decades, so partnering with them was an obvious choice for me. I realized early on that I share a passion for furniture design with the president of Bright, Stan Gottlieb, and I’m fortunate to have someone like him in my circle. Our design aesthetics naturally compliment each other and work very well together in a space. I am thrilled and very humbled to offer the KAVANTE collection through The Bright Group showrooms along side stunning furniture and lighting collections by exceptionally talented designers such as Douglas Levine, Maxine Snider and Jonathan Browning whom I respect. It just seemed like the perfect fit.
MHN: What would be the benefit to an apartment developer of luxury condos, for example, if he utilized custom pieces for his model units or lobby?
Price: First impressions are powerful. When entering a building, the initial impression of the space sets the tone for the resident’s overall experience. The high quality of our custom furniture designs provides an engaging and bold first impression, suggesting that its surrounding environment is also of the highest quality and standards. In this way, custom furniture can provide both an elegant solution to a design problem while also creating a dynamic design scheme. I focus on making pieces that customers will be proud to have in their homes and communities, for years to come.
MHN: Why did you decide to become a furniture designer?
Price: I always knew I had a passion for all things design. After studying in Italy and graduating from Parsons with a BFA in Product Design, I moved into a full-time career in luxury products. Over the next ten years, I worked with leading interior design, architecture, and product-licensing firms, and directed product development initiatives for both luxury and commercial markets. In 2012, I fulfilled a long-held dream to start my own design firm. With KAVANTE, I wanted to create innovative design solutions anchored in a commitment to quality and personalized service for our clients. Recently, KAVANTE partnered with The Bright Group, a front-runner in high-end home furnishings, to represent our modern collection in four U.S. showrooms.
MHN: What’s the most important thing for our readers to know about working with a custom furniture designer?
Price: It’s important to keep the end user in mind. I like to ask: Who am I designing for? Does the design help solve a problem? Does it inspire? These are some of the questions that guide me in the design process. I like to think of how I can positively impact the user’s everyday life with my designs. I create pieces that I hope draw a real connection with someone because there is an emotional connection for me when I create them. One of my goals is for the user to experience that connection.
MHN: This service [customization] must be big in hospitality and luxury residential projects?
Price: I truly believe innovative, quality work that will stand the test of time will always be in demand when it comes to creating hospitality and luxury residential design projects that are different and memorable. These are qualities I value and try to focus on with my designs. Customization allows a designer or brand to set themselves apart from their competitors by creating a bespoke environment.
MHN: Where are your pieces manufactured and what’s the minimum quantity?
Price: Each of our furniture pieces is handcrafted in the United States by a team of highly experienced artisans who are passionate about making furniture. Whether a project calls for a quantity of one or a small batch production, each custom furniture piece is crafted individually with the utmost attention to detail and quality.
MHN: How long does it take?
Price: Each of our designs is one-of-a-kind with a unique and often intricate fabrication process that creates varying lead times. It generally takes from 10-16 weeks to create a custom furniture piece depending on the complexity of the design.
MHN: How does sustainability play a role in your designs?
Price: The quality of a product is very important to me. I focus on creating designs that are timeless and built to last. To me, furniture is an extension of oneself, shaping everyday life, complementing one’s character, and growing finer in time. Many years from now, I would be delighted to know that my furniture designs are being passed down through families for generations.
MHN: How would you define your designs?
Price: To me, breathing life into good design starts with the materials. I use the highest quality materials, and work with top craftsmen. I love exploring what can be done through combining materials and manufacturing processes in fun and innovative ways even when crafting the smallest detail. My designs are bold, yet they do not detract from their surrounding environment.
MHN: What are the hallmarks of luxury/high-end furniture?
Price: The luxury consumer is interested in a product that displays a discriminatory level of detail, a lasting quality and a bit of exclusivity. In my opinion, this is where customization becomes one of the reigning hallmarks of high-end home furnishings in general. Custom furniture can provide the perfect elegant solution to a design problem while delivering the level of detail necessary to bring the overall feel of a design to the next level. At KAVANTE, each of our designs is one-of-a-kind with a unique and often intricate fabrication process. We focus on customizability, which allows us to give the client exactly what they desire.
MHN: How do you define luxury?
Price: Luxury is a feeling as much as it is an exercise in attaining the highest quality, a refined aesthetic, rarity and extraordinariness. Something that is luxury gains value over time. The quality of the work should be everlasting and top of the line. Aesthetics should be chic and embody elegance. Rarity is important as well: by limiting production of a piece it maintains its quality and special nature. The result should be unexpected and it should symbolize the “best of the best.” When I think of something luxurious that I am impressed with, I am struck by how everything is married together. Nothing is out of place. Every detail has a purpose. Luxurious things in general have not been slapped together but worked over and over until it is as close to perfection as possible.