Hospitality Design Connoisseur Studio K and Karen Herold
When it comes to a fabulous bar, restaurant or hotel design, atmosphere and interior design are key ingredients for success! Enter Karen Herold and her creative house Studio K – the woman and team behind the design of some of the best restaurants in Chicago and many other buzz-worthy spots in the city and around the country!
After arriving in the US from Amsterdam in 2001 with a degree in fashion design, Karen soon realized her passion for design extended well beyond fashion. She joined Chicago’s 555 International Inc. soon after her arrival and spent the next 13 years there evolving its retail-focused interiors work into the popular hospitality design department it is recognized for today. While at 555 she led the design of impressive venues such as one of Chicago’s most popular restaurants, BOKA Restaurant Group’s Girl & the Goat, The Playboy Club at the Palms Las Vegas, the brilliantly appointed restaurant Embeya, and La Cave restaurant at the Wynn Las Vegas, among many others. In 2014 Karen left 555 to expand her design versatility and started her own multidisciplinary creative house, Studio K.
Karen’s interiors create an energy and experience that people want to return to time and again, they are both timeless and eclectic; never trend-driven. While she approaches design with an overall minimalism, each space divulges an element of humor – a reflection of Karen’s ability to never take herself too seriously. Her love of laughter, one of the many charming qualities composing her magnetic personality, is perfectly illustrated in the addition of a swing in the middle of her office (the one she is seen seated on above). When asked about this swing Karen replied,
“I bought a swing for a restaurant I did in Vegas, and I put it in the bar. When people sit on a swing, or a bouncy ball, instantly they get happier. Even if it’s 1%, your quality of life just went up. It’s really simple. I designed a furniture collection in school called “Let’s skip dinner”, and it was based on this skippy ball we had in Holland. And as soon as you sit on a skippy ball, you just start giggling. It’s kind of like how they say when you smile at yourself in the mirror, your day is going to be better. So the whole idea of the swing was, how can you not be happy sitting on a swing? We all need a swing in our life. It’s a whole can-do thing. If we want a swing, let’s get a swing.”
We love a good giggle at KOKET!
Karen loves to travel and does so often, she believes that inspiration can be found in the most unlikely of places and experiences. Her relentless passion for design, loyal following of clients and collaborators and innate ability to solve operational challenges while creating unique interiors which intrigue end costumers and invite them to return make her an invaluable resource on any design project!
In 2016, Karen’s amazing interior design talent was revealed once again with the opening of Chicago’s GT Prime restaurant. The space’s fairy tale theme features whimsical animal heads, lavish faux fur upholstery and luxury furniture set in a warm and cozy atmosphere of rich browns and royal purples and crowned with a massive crystal chandelier.
If you love the fur look as much as we do, check out KOKET’s soft good collection!
One of the product’s Karen loves to work with in her hospitality designs is cement tile, so it is no surprise she decided to design a collection of Brasserie tiles with the Sabine Hill line. The collection features classic mosaic patterns inspired by the traditional French brasserie.
We look forward to seeing what Karen and Studio K create next as she continues to grow her firm!
For more profiles on fabulous interior designers and their projects visit our Designers section!