With its reputation as a seminal event on the A & D scene definitively written in stone, NeoCon draws an impressive roster of international manufacturers, but that’s not to say the event ever loses sight of its local roots. In fact, with all the quiet competence of a mild Cow’s-Milk Swiss, Mid-Western design firms like Michigan’s Sparkeology and TMC Furniture routinely grace the Merchandise Mart’s cavernous expanses.
Ki’s booth at @NeoCon10.
But local design is not only for the “Mitten state.” A quick look at the easy alliance between office formality and residential ease displayed in KI’s new Lyra Collection will have you adding a third item to the requisite list of “things that come from Wisconsin” (in no particular order)—first-rate cheese, consistently exciting football, and an excellent assortment of modular furniture for home and office.
Last year at NeoCon, KI drew raves with the Sela Collection, a grouping of slightly over-sized, definitely plush, and exceedingly comfy armchairs and sofas. But while Sela drew a bead on the college crowd, this year’s Lyra has a slightly more refined clientele in mind—I’m thinking the no-nonsense environs of healthcare, government, and corporate markets. High on style but appropriately reserved, Lyra displays a tempting synthesis between organic curves and straight lines. And when I think “curve meets line,” I instinctively picture classic work in bentwood. Just so, Lyra evokes the spirit of both the Eames and Alvar Aalto. Offerings in the collection include a sofa, lounge chair, long table, low table, and ottoman. They come in a variety of finishes and upholsteries, and feature steel bases in a simple trapezoidal or pedestal style.
But back to the icons of bentwood. Lyra achieves the nifty trick of synthesizing those mavens of modernity with a decided contemporary look. Many of the sofas and armchairs integrate wooden laminate with rigid foam upholstery such that they offer a symphony for the senses—especially in regards to visual and textural appeal. Such is the stuff of Lyra’s knack for stream-lined elegance—“offering a clean, classic form that complements environments with a design expression derived from strong lines and subtle curves.”