Komal Kehar

Coolstuff Team
November 10, 2023

Meet Komal, the architect and designer behind the new East Village shop, Common Things. Outside of her retail project, Komal runs her own architecture firm called MIRA PROJECTS. Her vast architectural output includes everything from designing retail spaces for Alexander Wang in Paris and ideating exhibition spaces for Design Miami to teaching an Environmental Theory course at New York’s Pratt Institute.

How did you start your career in the world of architecture and design?

My career began when I moved to New York and enrolled in the Masters of Architecture program at Parsons School of Design. Before that, I studied Economics and Political Science in Montreal. Although those two chapters seem world's apart, in a way I've always been interested in the architecture of things — the way people live their lives and the way our experiences are designed. Making sense of space and place is something that's had a hold on me from the start because for me design is the opportunity for change and for bettering our lives.


What led you to open your new East Village shop, Common Things?

A desire for togetherness, really. The pandemic created a situation in which everyone became very good — maybe too good — at working remotely and distancing themselves from everything. While it was convenient at the time, the lack of physical connection became so palpable and its effects have felt long lasting in how people go about their lives now. For me, this shop is the antithesis of that isolated, small circle experience because it brings so many people and their perspectives into one tangible place. It's a space where we can reconnect and find common ground through mutual provisions and delights. My hope is that people are craving that as much as I am! 

What’s your favorite piece for sale right now in Common Things, and how did you discover it? 

The plush, bouclé Tunisian blankets from Fouta Harrisa have my full attention right now as the weather gets colder here in New York. They're just the right size for wrapping, draping, or sharing and they also dress a bed or sofa beautifully with the open tassel micro fringe which adds a subtle, natural shimmer. Earlier this year, I met one of the founders of the brand, Alia Mahmoud, through a mutual friend in Miami. Sometimes, wonderful things find you when you're not even seeking them. 

What’s your favorite part about the New York creative community? 

It's entirely unbound. Every kind of artist that you can imagine is here, and so many that you never could have dreamt of. Being here is one of the next best things to experiencing every corner of the world because the city draws people in from all of those places. As an aesthete, it's a tremendous privilege to watch what happens here, and to be a part of it. 

What’s inspiring you right now? 

Lately, I’ve been enamored with floriography, the language of flowers. Across cultures, almost every kind carries some sort of symbolism. I’m interested in these meanings, the stories that come with them, and how they can be used to communicate when words fall flat. Excitingly, this subject will be the root of the shop's first series of workshops launching before the end of the year.

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@_commonthings_ on Instagram

Photos by Sean Davidson