March 5, 2015

Laura Kirar's Collection for Baker Furniture

Laura Kirar develops a collection for Baker that reflects a melting pot of cultures, influences, history, decorative arts, and inspiration—all leading to a more relaxed way of life.

by Nicole Haddad photographer Baker


"I remember the morning that I closed on the hacienda in Mexico, it had this real presence. I was standing at the fork in the road and I was about to choose which way to go," recalls designer Laura Kirar, who recently celebrated her 15th anniversary of being in business. "And once I took that step, my life was forever changed." That accidental opportunity combined with an instinctual impulse to set down (part-time) roots in the Yucatán Peninsula nearly six years ago has led her to a complete shift in perspective.

Kirar has just now launched her third eponymous collection with Baker. While this introduction of 30 new case and upholstery pieces stays true to Baker's refined vocabulary as well as to Kirar's global aesthetic and penchant for integrating aspects of different periods, these designs also reflect a markedly different approach to living-and to living in a more relaxed way.

"There is dichotomy in the way we live down there," says Kirar. "There is so much intact of the older, colonial architecture. The scale of things is so grand in a way, and the proportions, so classical. Yet because of time, the harsh jungle growing up through the buildings, and the effects of the elements, there is this faded kind of glory that exists." The majestic scale and proportions characteristic of architecture throughout Yucatán, including in the ancient Mayan ruins, seep into the pieces of this collection. Longer, lower, heavier proportions define the designs and instill in them a sense of luxurious indulgence.

In Kirar's sectional, for example, a deep seat and a channeled back encourage a feeling of opulence but negate the formality of a quintessentially modern upholstery piece. The mesmerizing two-toned pattern seen on Tonio, a case piece reminiscent of Art Deco highboy chests, celebrates craft-specifically the geometry seen in the traditional weavings of primitive cultures and motif tiles the designer has seen throughout her travels. "Everything's a fusion of culture, travel, ideas, historical references, and inspiration," says Kirar.

A central aspect of the collection encompasses the treatment of materials. Four new wood finishes were developed with this question in mind: "What would a beautiful piece of walnut left on a sunny portico for fifty years look like?" In a move away from the high polish that Baker is known for, each has a time-aged quality that fits sublimely with Kirar's use of metals in many of the pieces. As for textiles, chalky neutrals mimic the sun-bleached quality of the buildings in Yucatán and take off the super-gloss sheen. While the Baker spin is definitely there, a more matte kind of elegance is present that reflects a formality and a luxury tempered by nature.

"The collection is really about a feeling, a feeling of how one wants to live graciously and expansively, yet casually and in a relaxed manner," says Kirar. And what a feeling that is!