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Designer Spotlight: Kelly Behun

Once upon a time, Kelly Behun was destined for Wall Street. She spent a few months at Salomon Brothers after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, but quickly discovered that she had actually been more interested in how the lighting and ambiance of her environment could affect her learning of economics than in the learning of economics itself. A quick U-turn landed her at Bergdorf Goodman’s as an assistant buyer in a gorgeous office that overlooked Central Park and filled her with lofty feelings, which is when she knew that her destiny lay in the creation of unforgettable interiors.

After working with Ian Schrager Hotels’ design studio, where she was the protégé of Philippe Starck, and was introduced to the practical negotiations of space as sculpture and true innovation, she founded Kelly Behun | Studio in 2008. She has been crafting Narniaesque cloud-white perches in elegant apartments overlooking Manhattan in her signature white palette ever since.

Most recently, Behun has launched a line of unique furniture pieces in collaboration with artist Alex P. White. Inspired by the power of art and the desire to pioneer an alchemical site where art and design come together in startling functional treasures for the residential environment, Behun and White are at the forefront of a marvelous invention. Their first collection of experimental furniture and wallpaper is currently on show at R 20th Century in New York City and features Behun's organic, futuristic, intelligent creations, all named after or inspired by an artist or artwork, along with a smattering of archival pieces by Oscar Niemeyer, Sally England, Julia Krantz and Wendell Castle. The show, entitled After, runs through October 27.

After Lynda is one of three unique handcrafted poured resin tables influenced by the groundbreaking artwork of Lynda Benglis. “We are strong advocates of the mash-up phenomenon,” says White. “We believe that the key to a successful collaboration is the willingness to experiment and take risks,” adds Behun, “We are really excited about the Afer Lynda pieces—they are different to anything we have seen before; we can’t control the way the spills land and the kinds of patterns this creates, there is an immediacy and unpredictability about it which is made stable by the durable dried resin—this invents a new language for furniture.”

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