Founded in 2007 by Johannes Pauwen and Michaele Simmering, LA-based furniture maker Kalon Studios is recognised for producing straightforward silhouettes and functional forms, underpinned by a quiet, understated aesthetic. “[Our] practice stems from a belief in the simple beauty and emotive quality of everyday objects,” enthuses Johann and Michaele. “Each piece is thoughtfully designed with a focus on detail, material and experience,” they add.
The latest furniture drop from Kalon Studios, a striking collection titled Highland, calls upon the rugged expanse of California’s oak-laden, golden-hued hillsides. Adding to the persuasive sales pitch, the campaign imagery for the collection was captured inside the 1920s international-style Lovell Health House, an early modernest residence by celebrated Austrian-American architect Richard Neutra.
The Highland furniture collection by Kalon Studios
Named in honour of the California uplands, the Highland collection is cut from solid oak and is generous in scale. The proportions of the pieces seek a balance between substance and elegance, offset by knobby flourishes that call to mind the “irregular character” of the coastal oak trees endemic to California. “These blunt shapes counterbalance the refined and clear precision of machining,” says the Kalon team. There’s even a nod to brutalism: “The collection plays with slab-like, cantilevered forms and imperfect curves,” the team adds.
Comprising a bench, desk, chair and extendable dining table, Highland is manufactured by a handpicked team of master craftsmen in North America, who finish each piece with a premium, plant-based oil-wax finish. Harnessing a blend of traditional and high-tech methods – plus a “360-degree approach to sustainability” – the furniture aligns succinctly with Kalon’s intense focus on materiality, something which rests at the forefront of their enduring designs.
Each piece is thoughtfully designed with a focus on detail, material and experience.
The brand’s carbon footprint is also front of mind. All materials and resources selected (with the exception of linen upholstery options) are thoughtfully sourced within close proximity to the factory. Furthermore, the timber employed in the pieces is white oak; a readily available domestic hardwood that is harvested from a nearby sustainably-managed forest.
By building smarter and utilising Batch Size One production, pieces are built on demand, resulting in minimal waste or overstock. “Advanced technologies are used to maximise material yield and to significantly reduce material waste,” says the team. They also point out that “pieces are not warehoused, meaning no additional transport or energy is used for heating or cooling storage areas.” Instead, furniture pieces are shipped upon completion, minimising energy use and carbon output created by transport.
Highland takes on the challenge of inverting furniture production norms to create a sustainable, accessibly priced and American-made furniture collection that makes no compromises in terms of quality and aesthetics. “From its raw materials to its finishes and upholstery, the collection utilises solid, all-natural materials that enrich rather than deplete resources,” explains the Kalon team.
“The goal [with Highland] is not to simply meet the accepted standards and practices for environmentally safe production, but rather to push beyond them to find the exact limits of what can be done to have a net positive effect on the environment, economy, society and culture,” adds Johannes and Michaele, who conclude: “The collection seeks to change practices and perspectives from the inside out.”
The collection utilises solid, all-natural materials that enrich rather than deplete resources.