Laura Kirar is, first and foremost, an artist. Initially she was a sculptor; it wasn’t until her wall sculptures were purchased as sconces by a private collector in Chicago that she realized she wanted to be involved in interior design. (She was 21.)
Kirar received her degree in sculpture and interior architecture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and from there her career in design quickly took off. She founded Tru Partners, Inc. in 1999, and in 2006 she partnered with Baker to create The Laura Kirar Collection.
Though she’s always busy with projects (ranging from luxury residences in New York City to a signature loft at the W Dallas to her own personal project in Mexico), the designer was able to pause for a moment to thoughtfully answer some questions about her design inspirations.
Where in the world do you find yourself most inspired?
Currently I’m thrilled by Latin America, and Mexico in particular. It’s an incredible country and I’m enjoying the landscape, culture, history, people and the colors!
What artist has inspired you most?
As art is such a huge influence on my work, it’s impossible for me to choose just one. The foundation of my passions lay with the early modernist designers and artists, who, in their use of authentic materials, artisan details and elegant form, set the stage for the best of what our era of design has to offer.
Among decorative artists, I love the work of Eileen Gray, Joseph Hoffman, Dagobert Peche, Jean Michel Frank, Jacques Emile Ruhlman, Jacques Quinet.
As for painters and sculptors: Matisse, Picasso, Klimt, Scheile, Brancusi, Manolo Valdes, Nevelson, Pat Steir, Richmond Burton, Louise Fishman.
Who is your favorite fashion icon/designer?
Again, I can’t choose just one!
Daphne Guinness – punk rock elegance.
Alexander McQueen –master of cut, material and drama.
Vintage – mainly 40s, but my silk leopard YSL circa 1984 is a favorite frock!
If you could choose one other interior designer or architect to collaborate with on a project, who would it be?
Jean Nouvel – I think his is work fascinating – completely sculptural and modern, yet poetic.
I’m also a huge fan of Fernando Romero – the work he’s doing is dynamic and exciting and his incredible new museum design will bring, like Luis Barragan, another wave of modern design to Mexico City.
What has been your most rewarding project to date?
In progress! Building my creative oasis, the hacienda in Mexico.
What is your favorite hotel in the world?
Oh that’s so hard…Hotel Tragara, Punta Tragara, Capri because of the amazing service and incredible view. It overlooks the Faraglioni rocks. Or maybe it’s the Fasano in Sao Paulo, a modernist masterpiece by Isay Weinfeld.
What is your favorite room to design?
The living room is my favorite room to design because it has so many functions and means different things to different people depending on how they live. I love to create spaces for people to lounge with family, read quietly, entertain guests etc. The best rooms are conducive to many functions.
What is your favorite room in your own home?
The outdoor sitting room. It functions as dining and living room and is the best place to spend the entire day from morning until night.
What is your favorite time of the day?
However you look at it…very very late evening or very very early morning…when everyone else is asleep! I love to create in the quiet hours when the illusion exists that time is standing still. It’s magic!
What is your favorite design book?
“The Unknown Craftsman” – really more about traditional Japanese craft and Buddhist philosophy.
What’s on your coffee table right now?
An enormous red leaf from our tree and drawings of a Greenwich Village townhouse I’m designing for a client.
What’s the one color you couldn’t live without?
I’m a New Yorker so…black, of course!
Do you have a favorite item in your collection for Baker?
The Frazier Étagère. I love the scale and masculine, architectural quality of this piece. Functional and elegant.