West Elm Taps Stylist Colin King to Conceive a Stellar New Collection

Pieces from the new Colin King Studio + West Elm collection, installed at Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney’s former villa. 

Photo: Rich Stapleton

Oftentimes, when star stylist Colin King arrives on set, the first thing he does is take everything out of a room. Bookshelves? Empty. Coffee table? Clear. Walls? Bare. “It’s my way of seeing things with fresh eyes,” notes the creative multihyphenate, who then layers objects throughout the space in an intuitive and often fast-paced dance, sparking new conversations among familiar pieces. Even he, however, can find himself at a loss for that missing link. “There are certain objects I always reach for, objects which are somehow hard to find.”

Bowls and Nesting tables. 

Photo: Rich Stapleton

No longer, thanks to King’s elegant new line with West Elm. Conceived with versatility in mind, the collection comprises an array of everyday staples—designs that, rather than pushing any one specific world, prescribe nimble solutions for homes of all styles. Simple boxes, for example, double as plinths on which to display beloved keepsakes. A pine pedestal, meanwhile, offers a high perch for particularly prized treasures. And a perfectly scaled bench, upholstered in a smart stripe, invites a variety of uses, be it in a hallway or at the foot of a bed. “Everything is related but holds its own,” says King, who played with scale and silhouette to create a universal language of complementary forms. As West Elm president Day Kornbluth notes, the collection “celebrates our shared belief that simple and good design go hand in hand.”

Taken together, the mix offers a snapshot of King’s ethos, which foregrounds rich textures, sensuous lines, and a dynamic interplay of light and shadow. Materials err on the side of organic—from the woven rattan of an oversized basket to the pitted travertine of a table lamp. Shapes, similarly, take inspiration from Mother Earth, whether in the languid swoops 
of a vase or the egg-shaped tops of nesting tables. “I wanted to let the natural beauty shine,” says King, pointing to the mottled patina on a series of light fixtures, their tiered shades inspired by Scandinavian classics. History, too, is a constant muse. As a way to spotlight the collection, King headed to the former Long Island studio of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. “It couldn’t be more different from my own apartment,” King notes. And yet, sprinkled among that villa’s traditional rooms, his new West Elm pieces feel right at home. westelm.com

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