Jun 26th 2019

Kirei - Inspiring a Beautiful World for 17 Years

John Stein

Designing green and beautiful have not always gone hand in hand, and in 2002 John Stein, founder, and CEO of Kirei USA set out to prove otherwise. During an interview at the Neocon Materials Pavilion, Mr. Stein gave Christoph Trappe of Interiors and Sources magazine a glimpse into the state of the design industry at NeoCon 2019, and how the tide has turned in green (and acoustic) design.

Kirei was founded on the concept of incorporating beauty with sustainability and functionality through a series of design elements that utilized rapidly renewable and recycled raw materials. Here at NeoCon, John Stein elaborates on the driving force that created Kirei, the story behind the Kirei name, and how the introduction of EchoPanel changed how designers looked at acoustic products.

The Driving Force

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Like green design 15 years ago, acoustic products also had a problem: most of them didn’t look great! As designers opened up spaces and raised ceilings, the need for acoustic control increased, but there weren’t many good looking solutions. In talking with designers, he heard their desire for real acoustic solutions that looked great too.

Importance and function of acoustics that were especially needed in large, open spaces and noticed that interior designers did not have many appealing options to choose from.

Another key issue he recognized was the amount of waste that was being produced by building product materials. With his personal value focused on leaving behind a smaller footprint and generating less waste, he found materials that would offset this issue while also introducing new and beautiful acoustic elements to the market.

By providing sustainable acoustic design products, Kirei was able to break the walls of the design world and identify itself as an aesthetically pleasing, functional brand.

John goes on to explain the first impressions from designers who had recently discovered Kirei design elements:

“ 'Hey, look at this. This is beautiful. Oh, that was green? That didn’t hurt. That was fun.’

People love our products, and they keep coming back for more.’ ”

The Story of the Kirei Name

The original materials that Kirei released were from Japan, and that lead to the Japanese inspired name Kirei, pronounced ‘key-ray’, which means ‘beautiful’ and/or ‘clean’. As he was pondering the names of his new company, the name Kirei kept coming to mind.

John believes that this Japanese word embodies the principle of his company, creating the foundational message for Kirei USA. The Japanese translation of Kirei resonated with John and his vision-- Bringing beauty to designers who also wanted eco-friendly materials. 16 years later, and the name still stands true to its original purpose.

The Introduction to EchoPanel

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While acoustic solutions have not always been the most attractive option in the past, Kirei was able to provide an acoustical product to the US market that was not only functional but also beautiful.

Gone are the days of brown, fabric wrapped panels. Kirei is here today with bright, sustainable EchoPanels in a variety of shapes, sizes, and designs to assist with any acoustical issue at hand.

The best part about EchoPanel is that the product is only limited by the designer’s imagination. Kirei EchoPanel products come in a variety of unique colors and patterns, and the option to customize is limitless. Kirei provides the machinery to custom print and cut to any shape, size, and look that comes to mind.

According to Trappe, he claims that Kirei is not only establishing itself as an acoustic solution but also as an entire look in itself. John certainly agrees:

“We like to take the word “green” out of design. We like to take the word “acoustic” almost out of the design concept and create something amazing. Now, we can add back in the green, we can add back in the acoustics. It becomes a really fun design experience.”

Listen to the full conversation now!

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EchoPanel is a fun, dynamic design material that has become a great resource for designers. Kirei’s design products don’t have to hide behind anything-- They’re beautiful and stylish as they are, and did we mention sustainable? That’s right, Kirei EchoPanel is made from 80% post-consumer PET materials.

Interested in seeing Kirei products for yourself? Feel free to request samples and if you have any questions, you can find a rep in your area to assist you today!

Kirei Products Mentioned In This Article:


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