Cultured Magazine Interviews kinder Modern

June 1st, 2016

This week, kinder MODERN partners with Gallery Diet on Wrap Your Arms Around Me, a collaborative exhibition in their Miami space. Here, we speak to kinder MODERN founder Lora Appleton about the Brooklyn Museum’s recent acquisition, the future of child design, and the unique challenges of the genre.

It’s been a few years since kinder MODERN made its Collective Design fair debut. What have been some of your greatest surprises so far? What has been a highlight?The fact that kinder MODERN, as a child design focused gallery, was able to exhibit implied design erotica illustrates just how open people are to not only genre-bending work, but also to seeing design in the art world and vice versa.Another highlight was showing our life-size set of Design Chess at Sight Unseen OFFSITE during New York Design Week where we created a giant 20 foot rug out of our kinder GROUND modular luxury carpet, and had five contemporary designers create chess inspired child chairs. To top it off we ran live celebrity designer chess matches throughout the fair.

What led to the creation of kinder MODERN? Have your intentions or goals with the gallery evolved? Kinder MODERN was born from necessity. As I designed my son’s nursery, I became very frustrated with the lack of beautiful pieces for kids. As a longtime design addict and collector, I began researching vintage pieces and became fascinated by the history and  beauty of these original historical pieces for children. I had always intended to focus on the vintage/historical side of child design, but I also knew there was the possibility of developing a contemporary side-and we did! We have carved a clear path for collaborating with designers from all over the world to design and produce gallery-quality design for children.

Kinder MODERN is co-curating an exhibition at Miami’s Gallery Diet, opening July 9th. The show presents art in response to child design objects – how does design open a conversation not only with art, but also with behavior in a space? As this is a collaborative exhibition, I asked Gallery Diet director Nina Johnson-Milewski to answer this one. She said, “Design helps us activate space, particularly in the case of these objects which are intended to be used by children, there’s a very present sense of intentionality and movement. The artworks in the show provide a more meditative approach to the theme by looking specifically at two artists who are inspired and work with ideologies often associated with development; gesture and language. We hope that the viewers experience will move between these worlds and stimulate an alternative understanding to the mind of a child.”

What is your favorite item from your childhood bedroom?  I had an amazing Tommy Parzinger etagere that I used to stack all of my favorite things on. My Raggedy Ann doll, my faux-telephone . . . it was my kiddie ladder of loveys.

What do you think of contemporary children’s design?  I think the current climate of contemporary child design is super exciting. We have worked really hard to spark the conversation, keep it flowing, and grow the need for creative, innovative furniture and objects for children.  Since we launched kM, we have seen huge growth in the niche. For example, this year at Salone Del Mobile in Milan there was a sizable representation of contemporary child design. Major players such as Magis, Kartell, Thonet and more, are realizing that focusing on the home is essential to meet the needs of and be part of the lives of families.

Read the full interview here.