Interior Designer Kelly Behun Talks NYCxDesign and the Spots That Inspire Her

Photos: Richard Powers (L); Charlie Schuck (R)

In advance of NYCxDesign, Behun reveals her favorite New York City design destinations.

Each May, New York City buzzes with excitement as the city’s design scene presents its latest and greatest as part of NYCxDesign, the design festival that pops up in locations all around the city.

For this year’s fair, top interior designer Kelly Behun partnered with the Sight Unseen OFFSITE fair as part of the “Field Studies” exhibition, a project that paired 13 interior and furniture designers with creatives from the worlds of fashion, food, and even film. For her project, Behun partnered with her friend the fashion designer Narciso Rodriguez to create PnKrck, a sleek upholstered armchair. Comprised of suede, linen, lacquer, and oak, the asymmetrical piece features a pared-down, classic slide opposed with one that’s slightly, “off,” a move that “rather nicely reflects our two personalities,” Behun says.

But what was it like collaborating with a leader from another field? “It was fascinating to watch Narciso work in a different medium,” Behun says. “He has the ability to cut through the clutter and really get to the essence of things. He makes everything look quite effortless, but there is an enormous amount of thought in everything he does.”  


Josh Gaddy

The group show will be on display at OFFSITE’s Mulberry Street HUB space—one of more than a dozen locations where OFFSITE pops up this season—through Sunday, May 20, and will culminate with a 1stdibs auction that opens May 23. The sale will benefit charities of the designers’ choice, with proceeds from Behun and Rodriguez’s collaboration going to support Aid for AIDS.

While you check out NYCxDesign happenings, be sure to stop by some of Behun’s favorite exhibitions and New York City design destinations.

Designer Kelly Behun’s Must-See Spots for NYC Design Lovers

“Start with Sight Unseen OFFSITE of course, to see the ‘Field Studies’ exhibit,” says Behun. Not only will you find her collaboration with Narciso Rodriguez, you’ll also find new work including pieces by architect Rafael de Cárdenas and stylist Mel Ottenberg; a piano by Wall for Apricots and actor Jason Schwartzman; and even a mirror by design studio Bower and comedian Seth Rogen. “[Co-founders] Jill Singer and Monica Khemsurov have an incredible eye for emerging design; they should always be on your short list!” May 17–23, 201 Mulberry St.

A set of rainbow stairs is just part of what it took to transform a Soho townhouse into Raquel’s Dream House, an exhibition of the wild IRL world of Raquel Cayre, “the force behind the popular @ettoresottsass Instagram account,” says Behun. The group exhibition includes work by design legends Peter Shire, Gaetano Pesce, and, of course, Ettore Sottsass, plus Anna Karlin, Misha Kahn, and a new wave of design talent. May 3–31, 79 Greene St.


Courtesy Roman and Williams

For the second season in a row, female-owned design studio Egg Collective presents a lineup of women in design. Co-curated by Lora Appleton of kinderMODERN, the show pairs contemporary designers like Katie Stout and Mimi Jung, with historic voices including multidisciplinary artist Nicola L. Designing Women II, May 10–June 1, 304 Hudson St. #307

While visiting showrooms in the Soho Design District, Behun recommends a stop at an often-overlooked art installation. “I’ve always loved Walter de Maria’s New York Earth Room on Wooster Street, because it is so utterly surreal and unexpected,” Behun says. “It’s also very calming—the loamy smell is transporting.” 141 Wooster St.

Need a break? Behun recommends a stop at Roman and Williams Guild, a design shop (and shoppable restaurant) created by the duo behind some of Manhattan’s best-loved restaurants. “It’s no surprise that the Roman and Williams Guild shop is so beautiful, as is the restaurant there, La Mercerie,” Behun says. “The shop and restaurant are seamlessly connected, and the shopping experience feels really pleasant and unrushed.” 53 Howard St., 212-852-9099