Designer Spotlight: Your Guide to Understanding KARE Furniture Los Angeles
When people talk about KARE furniture they often use words reserved for a hot new fashion line or a blockbuster movie. It’s frequently called vibrant, dramatic, theatrical and joyful. The only word no one has ever used to describe their furniture is boring.
But what is it about their designs that sets KARE apart as a unique brand?
We spoke with Rapport Furniture’s KARE Design franchise manager Christian Sparger to learn more about what makes them stand out.
Q: Tell us about the origins of KARE.
Christian Sparger: KARE was founded in 1981 by Jürgen Reiter and Peter Schönhofen. They were German college students at the time, who thought the mainstream furniture market was boring, but they found that in order to achieve the fun, creative, unconventional style that excited them, their only option was to purchase a custom-made piece.
They wanted furniture that had the dramatic flair of a custom piece, but they couldn't afford the custom price.
So, their goal was to create beautiful, vibrant, and unique designs, but at an affordable price. They started in a 130-square-foot store in Munich, and forty years later they have over 120 franchises around the world, and they're still run by the original founders.
Q: What is the style of KARE?
CS: KARE is separated into three distinct style groups and each group is meant to represent a different personality and different emotions. Their three main groups are Elegance, Modern Times and Cozy Living.
So Elegance is exactly what it sounds like. It’s glamorous. There's a lot of gold and mirrors and chrome. There’s a good mix of different metals and a lot of velvet.
Cozy Living is much more rustic and features a lot of wood combined with other natural materials.
Modern Times on the other hand is much sleeker and we see more marble and powder-coated metals as opposed to shiny.
Q: What do you love about KARE?
CS: They're such unique and unconventional designers. Their style is unlike anyone else’s. Since I’ve been in the industry, I’ve done a lot of research on different furniture brands and I’ve never found anyone that is even close to what KARE is doing in terms of design.
And the prices are much lower than what I would expect to pay for something of their quality. KARE does that intentionally because that’s what’s at the heart of their company. They were always driven by the desire to create amazing designs that were accessible to as many people as possible and I think there’s something really beautiful about that
Q: Are they a brand that cares about sustainability?
CS: Yes, KARE is very eco-friendly. All of their wood comes from certified organic, sustainable sources. For example, they use a lot of mango wood, which only comes from organic plantations. The wood that they use is only harvested after the mango trees are completely finished producing fruit. They also use a lot of Sheesham wood, which is a very fast-growing tree that's commonly found in India and it's actually harder and more robust than oak.
Q: Who is the typical customer for KARE furniture?
CS: Typically younger professionals who want something that’s more unique or fun. It works really well for people who are getting their first apartment or their first home because the pieces tend to be a little more compact.
People with bigger homes and mansions tend to really love the artwork and accessories. So if you’re a Natuzzi customer and you’re buying these super high-end sofas that are meant to last for fifteen or twenty years, but you want to refresh your look, then a lot of them will go for the art and rugs and sculptures.
And the great thing is that at KARE’s price point, you can keep switching things up without breaking the bank. Their art and accessories are actually our top sellers in the entire store.
Q: Where can people find KARE furniture and accessories if they want to know more about them?
CS: Rapport is the only licensed franchise in America with KARE in our showroom. The only place you can see their pieces in person is in either our Los Angeles or Rancho Mirage stores.