Kara Mann is the founder and creative director of KARA MANN, the design firm she established in Chicago in 2005. In 2011, she expanded her firm to Manhattan, where she continues to work with an international roster of discerning clients and industry leaders on both residential and commercial projects. The New York Times describes her signature style, a balance of sophistication and edge, as “interiors with a subversive side.”
Mann is known for creating environments that align her backgrounds in fashion, art and design by re-imagining the possibilities of spatial design. Mann studied fine arts, with a focus in ceramics, at Tulane and received her degree in interior design from the Harrington College of Interior Design, then working as a fashion and interior stylist. Her work draws on all of these experiences and broad range of cultural references, including iconic fashion houses (Alexander McQueen, Saint Laurent, Rick Owens), contemporary art and architecture (Anish Kapoor, Carlo Mollino, Carlo Scarpa, Joseph Dirand), and classical interiors, she conceives unexpected combinations through materiality and architecture with a focus on strong juxtapositions that feel simultaneously cutting edge and timeless.
Mann further elevates spaces with her distinctive approach to interior architecture, and often transforms the physical structure of a space by creating dynamic compositions with a heightened sense of drama. Architecture informs Mann’s choices of palette and texture. It is this synthesis of disparate elements that showcases her balance of the classic and the experimental.
Mann recently completed the renovation of the Talbott Hotel in Chicago, and is currently working on projects in Chicago, New York, Palm Springs, Napa and Boston. In addition, she launched a new line of furniture and accessories for the venerable, American company, Baker Furniture, in 2015, and is currently developing a second collection of furniture for the brand.
Kara’s work has been featured in leading international publications including: Elle Décor, The New York Times, Traditional Home, House Beautiful, Design Bureau Magazine, Coastal Living, Chicago Tribune and Domino, to name just a few, as well as multiple design books.