Neither too pretty nor too decorated, but a touch of twist defines the true expression of Kara Mann, an eponymous design studio based in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, is renowned for a sophisticated yet edgy horde of art, architecture, and fashion. A fine artist by education with experience as a fashion stylist, made Kara realize her interest in creating the whole environment of a lifestyle rather than individual components. Kara’s distinctive signature of mixing modern and traditional brings out sheer elegance and beauty in her designs. The Wall Street Journal describes her as a “sparkplug in the world of design”. Her ability to combine formal design elements with refined materiality, architecture, and irreverence is exceptional.

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The seamless flow between fashion, art, and design guides the experience at Kara Mann. Her use of contrasting elements and inspirations are at once casual and refined, minimal and opulent, glamorous and gritty. Her ability to create environments by re-imagining the possibilities of spatial design is quite commendable. She comes up with unexpected combinations through materiality and architecture with a focus on strong composition. Positive tension is nidi to her practice. She creates homes that reflect the psychology of her clients. She believes in a well-lived life of whatever form you choose as the true meaning of luxury.

Keywords: Kara Mann, Chicago, Modern, traditional

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Kara thinks that the extremities in her life are black and white, which ultimately reflects the balance in both her life and designs. An entrepreneur by heart says that she loves the business side of things as much as she loves the creative side of things. A gene of a workaholic dad and a mother with a beautiful eye is what makes Kara a sensible yet grounded entrepreneur and keeps her drive alive, and she is always excited for her work. Just like Madonna, she loves to reinvent herself constantly. Thus, her style is evolving, instinctive, and not confined to one aesthetic, but the contrast between two opposing themes or ideas. She likes to blend different things in a way that feels harmonious and creates a certain kind of energy between materials and composition.

Keywords: Balance, White, Black

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The journey of Kara from an artist to interior design dynamo is invigoratingly demure, much like the designer herself. She was very creative since her childhood and always wanted to be an artist. Her internal competitiveness and approach to design and life are quite similar- creative, considered, thoughtful, but always with a casual, lived-in feel that is never precious.

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The queen of contrast likes designs that are edgy but soft, masculine and feminine, contemporary yet full of vintage finds. Easy-looking and easy-feeling with a balance of aesthetics quite define her taste. Black and white are polarizing in a way, but a requisite in most of her designs. The whites are warm and soft like an oyster with a sort of luminosity to it, while the blacks are more muted. Working on the opposite ends of the color spectrum allows for subtleties in the colors.

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Keywords: Contrast, monochrome, textures

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Curio Kara loves architecture as the complete thought of conceptualizing an entire environment, from space planning to accessorizing every single corner, inspires her to craft unexpected designs. The projects by Mann describe her philosophy that monochromatic color palettes don’t have to be one-dimensional. The use of textures, polish, and pattern are all trademarks of her projects.

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Kara steeped in an environment of creativity, elegance, and resourcefulness. She neither believes in rules nor following trends, but going with the gut instinct always. She also believes that a home or space should be a true essence of who you are because inside you, there are no rules.

Composition and editing are two principles on which Mann leans on consistently. Composition to her is more about balance and layering things together sensibly and consciously. Put it together and play with it to find poise because that is where the magic gets created. Mann hugely advocates editing to help hone in on your particular taste and style. She has always believed that everything should have its substance, and it should be poignant on its own. However, she adheres to one golden design rule and the most important principle of a home- to just have fun and be comfortable.

Her scavenger hunt across local shops and e-commerce sites for stylish essentials made her come up with a complement of household utility pieces. So, with a mantra to make things one need into things one loves, Kara launched a new Utilitarian line, Kept. A promising and divergent designer with an advent in art, architecture, and fashion describes herself as a “punk rock classicist” for her stand on bold shapes and high style. Kept offers a sleek furniture line, all black lacquer, and angles. Her product line and furniture range is a blend of classical and contemporary, the old and the new, the high and the low.

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Keywords: furniture, utility, bold, contemporary

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Author

Jinal is an architect whose goal is to create a vibrant time machine through her photography and writing for everyone to revisit some of the aspects of life. She is forever inspired by the nuances of nature and by the underpinning ideas of works of art.

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