10th June 2022 | IN DESIGN ADVICE | BY SBID ShareTweetPinterestLinkedIn The idea always comes first. This brings excitement, planning, and construction. So much time is spent thinking about the design, employing the right architects, and sourcing the materials. The last on the list is usually the artwork. This is due to many factors, deadlines and budgets, but often, the client has their own art in mind and is determined to use it. This is tricky to navigate; however, it can often undermine the whole project when the painting or artwork is overlooked. It’s such a shame that great projects end up with artwork that does not fit in or gets ignored. It is an awareness of art that can create and bring so much value to a project. Art can rescue some designs from the plain and boring to the ‘Wow’. Art can also be introduced to a reasonably mediocre project with limited funding to uplift and create a more lavishing, memorable experience. Many people choose to stay in hotels and are attracted to apartments only for the art. The power of art When I lived in Monte Carlo I frequently had meetings in a hotel part of a contemporary chain that had decided to revamp its old dated style. The new theme was very modern and would have appeared angular and static if they had not brought in real art made by real artists. The art rotated every 12 months. They employed a curator to seek the most exciting and diverse local artists. It was always something new to look at for regular customers and added more culture and diversity to the community. The artist’s private views quickly became something to look forward to. The openings provided a source of new contacts ranging from artists, clients, and interior designers. It offered a buzz in the reception area, and the international hotel guests benefited from seeing new and different art. It’s also inspiring for the staff that work day in and day out at the hotel, creating a conversation. Art can attract and complement a design. It can also detract from and destroy a project. For example, a sleek, contemporary hotel built next to a beach may be the perfect opportunity to use paintings of seascapes. Without much thought except to save time, a designer will contact a gallery or art agents for ‘seascape’ images, but often, they end up with acyclic on canvas or, worse still, prints in frames that don’t fit properly or are too heavy or light for the image. Apart from the sea connection, the artwork is dull and lacks energy and ownership. People sit in amongst art; it’s usually the first thing a guest will see in the hotel reception, and this engagement is so critical. Art helps to start a conversation, often breaking the ice with strangers. The first impression is lasting, and it sets the tone and dialogue. Good idea to get the art right. Working with an artist One of the ways to guarantee success is if an interior designer works with a local artist who perhaps knows the area and has original oil paintings or watercolours and sketches of the beach at different times of the year. They understand the weather in the area and the unique colours of the sea, sky and sand. This brings a story to the picture and an artist who has a connection with the local community. It may save time working with a gallery or agent with a stock full of images, but these organisations charge. Artists will never expect service fees. Inviting an artist and their work into the design encourages a conversation, builds new contacts, and there is always a continuation to the story. It costs nothing to reach out to an artist, and although their artwork may be more expensive, or not it brings a richer experience, ensuring longevity and sustaining reputation. Working with artists brings opportunities and events to a project that perhaps had not been thought about. An opening evening or private view always attracts people and is the perfect excuse to invite the press and other critics who will publicise the opening for free. The worthy outcome I was invited to a new apartment opening again in Monaco; although it was a stunning penthouse that I could not afford, I was intrigued, and when I arrived, there were half a dozen agents and staff handing out glasses of champagne. The spacious apartment needed little explaining with beautiful views overlooking the Mediterranean, but it felt empty and devoid of the human touch. It lacked the warm atmosphere of a family home and cosy comforts. I think the agents recognised this and worked with an interior designer bringing in some fantastic oil paintings from a local artist. This not only generated even more interest but was packed every day for a whole week with viewings. The lucky people that bought the apartment were probably thrilled that it was an art gallery for a week. I believe it sold effortlessly and for more than the asking price. A good design is alive from conception and well into the future; art helps nurture and keep a project fresh and growing. As the artists develop, so does the oeuvre of work. An artist’s work becomes their identity; it carries a story. I now live in the English countryside and love my local pubs, one of which has been refurbished and completely gutted. It has a rural feel with lots of exposed beams, wooden floors perfect for the dogs and quirky ornaments made from recycled bottles and reclaimed bits and pieces. Art is dotted around on the walls, each describing the artist, where they work and live. This is a fun and organic way to bring new customers; it adds value to the experience and brings a sense of community. Art rarely gets boring, and it brings different societies together, from elusive capitalists to bearded hippies, political to radical and has no religious boundaries. It’s a free spirit that can bring warmth to lost spaces, lonely rooms and blank walls. About Kay Hare Kay Hare creates oil paintings on linen with 10c natural gemstone diamonds and 10k gold leaf paintings. The bright artworks are commission-based and bring life and character into the interiors. If you’d like to feature your product news here, get in touch to find out more. If you’d like to become SBID Accredited, click here for more information.