With a legacy of finely crafted furniture and accessories dating back more than a century, Baker have gained a reputation as one of America’s premier casegoods and upholstery makers. Now PRO-Design have brought Baker to Kuwait’s Al Tilal Mall, where they’ve opened up a 350 square meter showroom. In town for the opening was Rachel D. Kohler, Group President of Baker’s parent-company – Kohler Company. We walked the showroom with Rachel, and learned a little more.
As a member of the fourth-generation of the Kohler family, you could say it’s in her blood. Freely confessing to spending more time running the business- rather than design-side of things, as a graduate of Princeton she’s particularly adept at selecting the right people and partners for the job.
Prime amongst those she has approved the selection of are the renowned creatives behind Baker’s acclaimed designer series – Barbara Barry, Bill Sofield, Jacques Garcia and Thomas Pheasant amongst them.
“Our choice of guest designer is always well considered”, she explains. “We tend to have long relationships with them, so it has to be a very comfortable and very flexible relationship. It must be one of understanding, and even sometimes forgiveness”. She regards herself, and Baker, incredibly fortunate to have forged partnerships with such a stellar array of guest designers.
“They are respectful of our process, they are ‘designer’s designers’, and they understand to the finest details what it is that Baker stands for today and has stood for over the past decades”.
Clearly this presents itself through the quality of the collections, and further proof is presented through the praise their collections regularly receive.
Rachel believes, also, that today’s Baker pieces are the heirlooms of the future. She sees this already borne out in the burgeoning after-market for pre-owned pieces. “I think this is one of the biggest tests of a product, when you can already see it trading and acquiring a status beyond practical furniture alone”.
One should not believe, however, that Baker create furniture only for our tomorrows. The collections are designed with more than a nod to the contemporary too.
“This has been true throughout the history of all the finest designers”, she comments. “Looking at what we call ‘antiques’ today, we must remember that when they were created they were often considered very avant-garde. We do the same, we build on a classic form, and then we add a contemporary twist”.
“This is how we’re still around after one-hundred years. We keep updating ourselves through evolution, never through revolution”. And this is, perhaps, the secret to the DNA of Baker. You’ll find their designs of today will sit just as comfortably next to their designs of twenty years ago. Baker’s evolving styles over the decades cohabitate extraordinarily well. Equally, Rachel regards the ease with which the skilled eye will mix and match from across the collections within Baker.
Certainly, with 350 sqm of elegant and sophisticated surroundings, with virtually endless design possibilities, Baker at Al Tilal Mall will become a destination for those seeking the finest in home furnishings amongst architects, specifiers, interior designers and the most discriminating of consumers.
You’ll find Baker @ PRO-Design in Al Tilal Mall, Shuwaikh, telephone +965 2246 2460
First Published in Men's Passion Issue #38 March 2012