We’ve been celebrating the inspirational rugged designs of Los Angeles-based designer Stephen Kenn since the inception of his label about five years ago. While perfecting the fundament he has created with some of the most interesting minimal luxury furniture designs on the market, over the last few years Kenn has kept busy finding interesting creative partners in search of elegant variations of his existing aesthetic design vision. In 2014 he joined forces with fashion designer Simon Miller which resulted in an incredible indigo canvas collection of his sofa and armchair. Last month, on the 21st of April, Stephen Kenn returned with another impressive creative collaboration at the JF Chen gallery in Los Angeles: this time standing shoulder along shoulder with Longjourney menswear founders Alonzo Ester and Alex Carapetian. In their shared project repurposed motorcycle jackets and vintage sweatshirts are getting a second life. The collection includes a pair of black leather armchairs upholstered with panels from motorcycle jackets, and a sofa with a black nickel frame and cushions covered with strips of waxed vintage sweatshirts. Instead of the usual lack of aesthetic relevance of up-cycling projects, this collection truly marries both ethics and beauty, showing what a strong palette Kenn has created for different variations which we one by one really appreciate.
Kenn used to run a denim line called Iron Army, which Ester had carried a decade ago in his boutique named Hollywood Trading Co. The two reunited last year at a party at JF Chen, which eventually resulted in the collaboration.
Los Angeles-based designer Stephen Kenn has long been inspired by clean and simple design aesthetics and the stories inherent in vintage military fabrics. When he was 20 years old, he and his friend Steve Dubbeldam started a denim brand together and quickly made the move down to Los Angeles after attending a trade show in Las Vegas. In 2011 he combined his love for clean and simple design on furniture for the first time by creating ‘The Inheritance Collection’, inspired by his wife who pushed him in the right direction. The collection was the result of an exploration of how furniture is constructed, and then a desire to distill the process down to the barest bones. Likening the process of furniture construction to the way the human body is constructed, the frame, belts, and cushions became the bones, muscles, and skin of each piece.
Since then Stephen has continued to design, releasing ‘The Encounter Collection in 2013’, a men’s leather travel bag collection that was inspired by the life lessons that a father leaves to his son. In 2014 Kenn joined forces with fashion designer Simon Miller to create the remarkable indigo canvas variations of his sofa and armchair. All of the designers creations are manufactures in Los Angeles, following his curiosity to new ventures, in both product and space design. Using sustainable materials and practicing responsible manufacturing are essential parts of Stephen’s work, and further support his design philosophy:
Good design should embody the simplest, most functional form and the materials used should tell stories from the past and wear well into the future.
All images courtesy of Stephen Kenn.
For more information on this and other designs by talented Stephen Kenn see here