Interior motives: Why you should care about Kare
German furniture design chain Kare opens in Johannesburg
Founded by two students 35 years ago, Kare Design has become a well-known fixture in the furniture world. The flagship store is in the Munich district of Obersendling and now Jürgen Reiter and Peter Schönhofen have brought their design savvy to South Africa. Co-founder Peter Schönhofen opened the first store in Johannesburg last week.When was Kare established and how did it all come about?
I founded Kare Design in 1981 with my business partner Jürgen Reiter. As owners and managing partners we continue to manage the mid-sized company today. As students in Munich we wanted to furnish the flat we shared. Our passion for stylish furniture was great – and a lot bigger than our budget. Outstanding design was elitist and very expensive in those days, so we simply invented our own. We then developed a business plan for our first shop together with our credo that “furniture deserves great design at an attractive price and with a touch of unconventionality”, because decorating should be fun after all.
How would you describe your personal design aesthetic?
I like to combine elements of modern Italian design with authentic historic pieces.What décor trends are you excited about right now?
The world of interior design is going through a big change: the dictatorship of one trend or style has finally ended. It is all about mixing styles and compositions, expressing your own mood and personality. The variety of styles from Retro-Glam to Cosy-Living symbolises the victory of taste and a funky, unconventional lifestyle.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
Since 1981 Kare has managed, like no other brand, to identify style icons, upcoming trends and innovations in furniture design. Every season the Kare trend scouts create décor concepts that are anything but boring. Whether customers are lateral thinkers or wish to realise their desire for the new simplicity, whether they have a passion for romantic furnishing, enjoy surrounding themselves with wild and eccentric items, or prefer to invest in enduring pieces at entry-level or on the luxury spectrum, they will find inspiration in our collections no matter their personal style.What is the last piece of furniture you bought and why?
My favourite ways to refresh my look is to change single furniture pieces, table lamps or decorative accessories, or reupholstering flea market finds – these all create a new inspired ambiance in my space. My last piece was a vintage chair I found at a local market.
What is your own personal design mantra?
The interior design of a space should have a significant individual character, a personal ambiance that makes the family life relaxed from the minute they come home. Innovative designs of today demand on the one hand surprising materials, such as velvet fabric and waxed wood, and on the other hand objects with glamorous surfaces, with metallic effects for example, satisfying the imagination of consumers.How did the South African store’s opening come about?
Two ideas and one passion have found each other. We love unconventional interior design and our new franchise partner in Johannesburg as well. Karin Cawthorne has transformed her interior decorating hobby into her profession. Her passion and love for interiors and her people-oriented attitude qualifies her as our brand ambassador in South Africa.