Tag Archives: interior design

ANOTHER COUNTRY- INSPIRED CRAFT

By 2010, the UK domestic market’s love affair with mass produced designs had reached its zenith and the future of handcrafted British furniture looked bleak. However, success stories are often born from visionaries going against the grain. 

Another Country, established in 2010 by Paul de Zwart, makes for a perfect example. As one of the founders of Wallpaper*, arguably the most successful interior design magazine in the UK, de Zwart’s in-depth knowledge of the industry allowed his studio to flourish when others were struggling. Indeed, the parallels between Another Country’s progression and the re-emergence of British design as a global player are striking. And while it’s hard to quantify the influence de Zwart has had on the industry as a whole, Another Country has undoubtedly emerged as one of the key drivers in today’s handcrafted furniture market.

The idea to start a design studio came to de Zwart after several attempts to source a simple wooden stool for his Wiltshire cottage. Unable to find one that was both well made and affordable, he decided to create it himself. Encouraged by the final design, de Zwart continued to draw and soon found himself developing an entire series that along with his stool, included a bench, chair, two tables and a sofa bed. He then proceeded to engage a local artisan, who set to work developing his designs using traditional, handcrafted techniques. Opting to form a partnership with the craftsman and choosing to put his pieces into production, Another Country was born.

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The first collection, launched at London Design Week, was an immediate hit. A second series followed which in turn, inspired a collaboration with Heals of a bedroom series. Faced with growing demand for his designs, de Zwart took the decision to transition from a virtual store to a physical one in 2014. Based in London’s Marylebone, Another Country’s headquarters perfectly encapsulate de Zwart’s original vision of producing simple and functional designs. Today the studio continues in the same manner: focusing on developing products that are high quality, affordable and importantly, come with a clearly defined provenance. Influences are both varied and international, drawing inspiration from Japanese furniture, Scandinavian design to Shaker and Mid-century modern styles.

The concept of provenance has proved a critical factor in forging Another Country’s unique position within the UK market. De Zwart explains, “we endeavour to produce our product and run our business at the most sustainable level possible.” What began as a decision to manufacture products via local as well as nationwide craftsmen has evolved into a passion that influences every stage of the process. From the timber (sourced only from sustainably certified UK, European and US suppliers) to their upholstery. The latter coming via Naturalmat: the only UK mattress maker currently using certified organic latex, certified organic coir (coconut fibre) and locally sourced lambswool.

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Whilst Another Country makes every effort to ensure their approach adheres to this philosophy, their rapid progression has led them to form relationships with other, like-minded artisans. In 2014, Another Country and Canadian designer Dana Cannam launched their First Light collection at Maison & Objet. The range, which comprised a pendant, floor and table light, was defined by the handmade, cylindrical ceramic shade that features in each model. 

Cannam was conscious of designing in a manner that would complement the studio’s existing philosophy. He explains “my inspiration came from mid-20th-century hand tools, specifically an old speed handle I have in the studio. I’ve always been obsessed with the clean and minimal aesthetic, steel and wood construction, and above all, how it demands a certain engagement from the user. This tool was very much the precursor to the timeless yet understated outcome of each design.”

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Along with aligning the conceptual approach, the finishes were also selected to complement the studio’s collections. He adds, “I’ve always appreciated Another Country’s use of warm materials; it speaks to their aesthetic which is pared-down and really brings a sense of honesty to each product. Brass and ceramic were the perfect balance between beauty and functionality for a project involving lighting; it seemed like a natural decision.”

Cannam is by no means Another Country’s sole foray into lighting. Working with New York studio, Workstead, de Zwart’s team act as their exclusive UK/EU agents for their collection of lighting formed from reconfigurable metal rods.

Accessories also play an important part in the studio’s expanding repertoire. De Zwart has commissioned several designers to produce collections including a pewter and ceramic pottery by Ian McIntyre and candle holders with handy inner compartments by Marie Dessuant. Similarly, brands that share a similar philosophy are also represented at their Marylebone headquarters. From David Mellor cutlery to bespoke linen by 31 Chapel Lane, every item stocked represents de Zwart’s ambition to create a showroom that serves as a window into the “world” of Another Country.

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The diversity of the business plays testament to the popularity of the studio ranging from an exclusive collection designed for John Lewis to custom projects which are carried out in UK workshops. The other half of the studio’s business is made up of trade, with requests from designers, architects and specific projects. 

Starting with one stool, de Zwart has not only built a brand with substance and integrity; his efforts have ensured that Another Country belongs to a movement above trends or fads. In an era where constant innovation reigns supreme, Another Country’s ability to twin this with a traditional approach has accorded the studio with an enviable reputation. The fact this was accomplished over only five years makes this achievement all the more remarkable, and clearly this is only the beginning with a Series 4 launching this autumn. 

Interior Design’s Flavour of the Month

The past decade has seen a complete overhaul of London’s gastronomic scene with the city now home to 65 Michelin starred restaurants. However, the cuisine is only half the story: any restaurant worth its salt must have an interior to match. With more focus put into the experience, dining out has become one of the best platforms for interior designers to flex their creative muscles.

The effect on the design industry has been significant and instantaneous. Indeed, this trend was instrumental in the formation of one of the UK’s most successful online furniture ventures of the past five years. Discover-Deliver, launched in 2012, was born from the founder’s quest to buy the statement furniture and furnishings she saw in high- end restaurants, bars, and hotels. Isabella Rutland explains, “…in the design world; I think great restaurants and bars are what the catwalk is to fashion – the best international designers are doing cool, inspiring stuff with big budgets.”

So what has driven this transition?

Mostly this comes down to catering for an increasingly educated consumer base. The adage ‘you eat with your eyes’ has never been more relevant than it is today. Diners now expect an immersive experience when it comes to eating out and this extends beyond the plate. Equally, with more restaurants opening each month, the need to stand out from the crowd is vital. Enter the interior designers, hired to translate the restaurant’s concept from the kitchen and into the interiors. These commissions offer the designer greater freedom of expression and a chance to push the creative envelope: a challenge that many relish.

We present our shortlist of London’s most exciting venues.

 

 

1. SCANDI CHIC: STICKS N’ SUSHI BY DIENER & DIENER AND .PSLAB

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Having first opened in Wimbledon in 2012, Sticks’n’Sushi is a relative newcomer to London. Already one of the most successful restaurant groups in Denmark, they have continued their creative approach that sees each restaurant individually designed within the context of its surroundings. Its the interior of their Covent Garden restaurant, which opened in 2013, which we are particularly keen on.

German-Swiss architects, Diener & Diener and .PSLAB produced the interior scheme which seamlessly merges the restaurant’s Japanese and Danish influences with the urban characteristics of the site’s location.

The design team have combined natural materials with a muted palette to transform this previously narrow, multi-storeyed layout into an airy yet intimate dining room and bar. Featuring exposed brick walls offset by a fabric panelled ceiling, the framework of the interior scheme is brought together by the lighting arrangements. Formed using a grid system and broken up by statement light features, this approach emphasises the existing spatial characteristics of the restaurant. The elegant combination of raw finishes, including black and powdered steel, brass and copper provide the visual interest. The minimalist timber furniture offers a subtle nod to the restaurant’s Danish heritage.

The entrances demonstrate a particular attention to detail. Guests entering from Henrietta Street are welcomed by the only break in the lighting grid: a large chandelier strikingly arranged in a bouquet of cylinders. On the opposite entrance from Maiden Lane, interest has been created via a set of parallel steel tubes beginning from the wall behind the bar and ending with exposed bulbs above the countertop. Their dynamic alignment adds rhythm to the bar and strengthens its face.

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2. OLD WORLD ELEGANCE: THE WOLSELEY BY DAVID COLLINS 

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Located in St James, the Wolseley is one of London’s landmarks. Built as the showroom for the Wolseley Motor Co in 1921, the original design by William Curtis Green drew on Venetian and Florentine influences, as well as incorporating the Eastern exotic touches that were then in vogue. Unfortunately, the expense that came with the vaulted ceilings, pillars and marble floors proved too excessive and ultimately bankrupted the company five years after. 

Acquired by Chris Corbin and Jeremy King in 2003, the two restaurateurs had the vision to transform the building into the grand European style cafe we know today. They appointed the late David Collins, the much-celebrated designer behind J Sheekey, Delaunay and the Corinthia hotel.

Collins drew inspiration from the art deco era, taking a sympathetic approach to the redesign. His team retained many of the original architectural features designing in a manner that not only emboldened the  original architectural features but brought the space into the 21st century. The result is an opulent evocation of Vienna’s fin-de-siècle cafés which combines London’s heritage with a decidedly Viennese grandeur. 

Those that step off Piccadilly and pass through the elaborately draped doors are immediately cast under the Wolseley’s spell. Upon entering guests are greeted by vaulted ceilings adorned with antique chandeliers and supported by ebony pillars accented with gold trim. Black-clad waiters transporting Fruits de Mer and lobster bisque on silver trays glide across the geometric marble floor. To the back of the room, the staircases with brass capped bannisters lead to two viewing galleries and on to the private dining room. The simple, yet elegant, colour scheme serves to enhance the main room’s extraordinary proportions while remaining faithful to the period. 

London may be an epicentre for haute cuisine, but in a city where new restaurants are now a dime a dozen, sometimes those places engineered to recall a past era with such vivid realism prove to be the most beloved. The Wolseley is such a place and as one of the most successful restaurants in our capital, it helps to remind us that occasionally, nostalgia can be a positive quality.

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3. THE AVANT-GUARDE: THE GALLERY AT SKETCH BY INDIA MAHDAVI 

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Launched in 2012, The Gallery Restaurant at Sketch has forged a reputation for its highly stylistic approach to fine dining. A combination of art gallery and avant-garde interior design, the restaurant’s latest renovation continues their collaboration with artists that began with Martin Creed. This time, the works of celebrated British artist, David Shrigley are presented in a scheme developed by India Mahdavi. 

The main dining room, playfully presented in a Laduree-esque dusty pink, provides an elegant contrast to Shrigley’s witty and occasionally outré artworks. “I was talking to Andre Balazs about it and he described it as very Beverly Hills, a bit of Beverly Hills in Mayfair. But I think of it as a feminine brasserie, a contemporary take on the brasserie”, explains Mahdavi. 

While Mahdavi’s design may display some similarities to the traditional brasserie; this has been elevated by a style that is very much her own. The banquettes, upholstered in luscious cotton velvet, are positioned so as to hug the outer walls and are complimented by bespoke, 1970’s style club chairs. Copper serves to accent the soft, organic shapes of the seating whilst the geometric marble flooring laid in a zig-zag pattern (reminiscent of Missoni’s signature weave) defines the space. 

Looking past the decor, closer inspection reveals a room expertly designed to train the eye towards the 239 new works that line the restaurant’s walls, forming the largest group of original drawings David Shrigley has ever exhibited. Mahdavi reveals, “The location and space are the starting point of any of my projects and each project is like an open question, for which there is a unique answer. Each project tells that inner story.” Shrigley’s exhibition isn’t only limited to the walls, though. Working closely with the Sketch’s Head Chef, Pierre Gagniere, the artist’s work extends to the ceramic tableware, adorned with the drawings and scribbles that characterise his artworks. This interaction between the food and design concept is one of the eclecticisms that sets the restaurant apart from the crowd.

 Additionally, renowned fashion designer Richard Nicholl has been commissioned to create the uniforms for the staff. Keeping with the diner/brasserie theme, Nicholl’s designs subtly reference his own signature t-shirt dress for the women and smart boiler suits for the men. He explains that, “For the sketch uniform project I liked the idea of creating elegant and utilitarian uniforms for the staff that reference a diner look but in a very modern and sophisticated way.”

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Highlights from SALONE DEL MOBILE, 2016

Now in its 55th year, Milan’s Salone Del Mobile is the biggest and longest running global design event. Spread over six days, this year’s edition saw 300,000 visitors converge on Italy’s industry capital to attend over 22,000 exhibitions and over 1,000 events. A veritable festival of design, each of these exhibitions represents a launchpad for the latest collections and concepts by many of the finest artisans in the world.

Shunning the traditional practice whereby designers just display their latest work, here in Milan every effort has been made to encapsulate a complete and immersive experience. Even the restaurants, which Milan is not short of, have been engineered to provide a showcase for new and exciting work. This year the spotlight was on Tom Dixon, who has collaborated with stone specialist Caesarstone to create their unique take on dining out. Located in the late baroque church, La Rotonda Della Besana, their installation features four futuristic kitchens inspired by the elements of Fire, Water, Earth, and Air; with each theme accompanied by a corresponding dining hall.

In a similar vein, British designer Lee Broom has taken a decidedly unorthodox approach this year. His latest collection, Optical, was presented via a delivery van nicknamed the ‘Salone Del Automobile.’ Over the festival, the van moved between a variety of hotspots around the city, stopping at the Brera Design District, Zona Torona, and Spazio­ Rossana Orlandi. Those who managed to track down the wandering installation were invited to step into the back of the van and experience Broom’s interpretation of an Italian palazzo complete with his new range of monochrome floor and pendant lights. “I wanted to make the same impact as last year but without creating a huge installation,” Broom says. “While deciding where to exhibit, I thought: what about everywhere?”

Every facet of the design industry is celebrated here. From Salone Satellite, a platform for young designers and now in its 19th year, and Space & Interiors, which focusses on architecture, to the International Bathroom Expo; the extent and range on show mean it is impossible to see everything. We present our shortlist among the happenings during the most important week in design.

 

1. DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT: MICHAEL ANASTASSIADES FOR HERMAN MILLER 

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One of the most popular launches was Michael Anastassiades’ first furniture collection for US company Herman Miller. Known for his minimalist lighting range, the London-based designer has produced a collection of stools alongside tables and large-scale versions of his mobile-style lights at the Herman Miller showroom in Milan. 

Working to create pieces that reflect Miller’s reputation for timeless pieces, the stools have been stripped to their bare fundamentals. Each one has been crafted from solid timber and features one leg in brass: a finish that appears regularly throughout Anastassiades’ lighting range. While further variations will be available at a later date, these first editions have been produced in American Oak or Walnut: materials which allow the stools to acquire a unique character over time. 

Titled ‘The Double Dream of Spring’, a reference to a 1915 painting by 20th-century Italian metaphysical artist Giorgio de Chirico, the installation was housed in the Herman Miller showroom on Corso Garibaldi.

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2.    THE NEXT GENERATION OF DANISH DESIGN: MINDCRAFT 

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Now in its eighth year, Minecraft returns to Salone Del Mobile under the guidance of celebrated design duo GamFatesi. Focussed on showcasing new and original works by some of Denmark’s most talented craftspeople and designers, the latest edition was held at the Circle Filologica in central Milan. 

This year’s theme sought to add another dimension to the exhibition by paying homage to the host building’s heritage. Titled, “In My Mind Craft’, GamFratesi explains their concept: “Like last year, we have chosen a historical venue for the MINDCRAFT exhibition: the Circolo Filologico in the center of Milan. This institution studies the origins of texts and literature, and driven by the notion of tracing the origins of a project, an idea, thought; we looked to historical ideas about the human brain as a source of inspiration for our exhibition concept. The designers and craftspeople selected to take part in MINDCRAFT16 have each interpreted the theme “In My Mind Craft” in their individual works.”

Presented by the Danish Arts Foundation, those participating included Benandsebastian, Anne Dorthe Vester and Maria Bruun, Christina Schou Christensen.

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3.   STANDOUT EXHIBITION: SOU FUJIMOTO’S ‘FOREST OF LIGHT’ FOR COS

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By far the biggest showstopper of the week was architect Sou Fujimoto’s Forest of Light installation for fashion label COS. Exploring the concept of interaction and perspective, Fujimoto has transformed a former theatre with towering cones of light that respond to visitors’ movements.

Here, light is used as an architectural material with the series of conical spotlights arranged to represent abstract tree formations. The forest effect is enhanced by mirrored walls surrounding the installation which help create the illusion of an infinite landscape. A combination of fog and specially composed sounds provide the surreal ambience, all adding to Fujimoto’s immersive experience.

“In this installation for COS, I envisage to make a forest of light,” said Fujimoto. “A forest which consists of countless light cones made from spotlights above. These lights pulsate and constantly undergo transience of state and flow. People meander through this forest as if lured by the charm of the light. Light and people interact with one another, its existence defining the transition of the other.”

Located at the Via Pietro Masgani 8, the exhibition represents COS’ fifth showing at Salone Del Mobile. Since 2011, COS have commissioned an architecture or design studio to create an installation. Previous projects have included collaborations with Nendo in 2014 and Snarkitecture last year.

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4.    TREND WATCH: CHINESE DESIGN

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Salone Del Mobile’s profile was significantly raised in the Chinese market with the official launch of their latest satellite exhibition coming to Shanghai in November. As a result, it comes as no surprise to see an influx of Asian design houses taking the opportunity to show their latest product lines in Milan, including Neri&Hu and Stellar Works.

Hong Kong designer André Fu presented his new ‘Tac/Tile’ collection of bespoke handblown lights (below). Created in collaboration with the Czech Republic-based glass manufacturer Lasvit, the project marks a return to the Hong Kong-based designer’s architectural roots. The series of lamps, each featuring a 23mm-thick seamless fold of handblown glass and paired with a minimalist matt-bronze frame, are part of what Fu describes as his ‘exploration of the materiality of glass.’

Further examples were shown in the ‘Alamak! Design in Asia’ exhibition which brought together 12 designers in hopes of making a “contemporary impression on the perception of what design in Asia is.” 

Elsewhere, Superstudio Piu hosted an exhibition titled ’Tradition in Evolution’, which featured some show stopping pieces including Frank Jiang’s White Moon vanity and Qiang Yu’s Screen (above).

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Period Features: Property’s Forgotten Past

Often overlooked in recent years, interior mouldings have returned to the spotlight. Traditionally used to enhance the proportion of a room and demonstrate status, the style of decoration is often considered as important to the building’s heritage as the exterior architecture.

HISTORY

With many historical trends, these architectural details have practical origins. Frequently seen in Greek and Roman architecture where it was used to enrich the interiors, plasterwork only became common practice in the UK following the fire of London in 1212. In light of the devastation this had on the city, King John decreed that all buildings along the Thames must plaster both their interior and exterior walls as a fireproof measure. 

Period mouldings such as plaster cornicing, coving, and ceiling roses have been an essential decorative feature of the home since gaining prominence in the Georgian period (1714-1830). This chapter saw the widespread transition from ceilings supported by visible timber joists to suspended ceilings adorned with decorative plasterwork. Previously reserved for the exceptionally wealthy or royal families, many of their stately homes have showcased crests and badges in their mouldings since the mid-1600s.

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Heavier and more elaborate decoration was reserved for the public parts of the house such as the porch, hallway, reception and dining rooms. These grander spaces provided an opportunity to showcase the homeowner’s wealth and taste with the private areas (kitchens and bedrooms) being adorned with comparatively simplistic detailing.

Ceiling Roses, while primarily considered a decorative element, once served an important role. Often boasting the most complex detailing in the house, they were used to distract attention from the soot and dust produced by candles and oil lamps that adorned the chandeliers below. In the Victorian era, it became common practice to add deep recesses that served as ventilation for gas lighting, a trend becoming popular among the British upper-class.

The introduction of wallpaper in the late 1880s saw a return to the more restrained and straightforward styles championed by the early Georgians. With successful trade routes established with the Orient, the aristocracy was quickly drawn to the lustrous effect that came with the first handcrafted silk wall finish.

These trends, which are once again proving popular, can be traced to three specific periods ranging over 200 years.

DEFINING PERIODS

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Georgian (1714-1830)

Preceded by the Baroque era, the Georgian period was heavily influenced by Palladian architecture. Pioneered by James Gibbs, this approach focussed on symmetry, proportion and perspective; drawing heavily from the ancient Greeks and Romans.

This period saw mouldings become less detailed and started to show heavier detailing. Popular designs included the ‘egg and dart’ or ‘dentil’ which featured along the bottom edge of the moulding.

The Georgian era saw the creation of the dado rail. With fashion dictating that dining chairs were placed against the walls rather than under the table, the rail offered protection from knocks and marking. These were traditionally positioned at 900mm from the floor.

Regency (1811-1820)

This period reflects the nine years the Prince Regent ruled before ascending to the throne as King George IV in 1820. This spell saw mouldings take on a lighter and more decorative quality. Designs followed an increasingly mathematical approach evidenced in the symmetry, scale, and proportions. These years also saw the rise of one of London’s greatest builders, John Nash, who was responsible for many of the best examples of Regency architecture. Predominantly formed of sweeping terraces, his work includes the Royal Pavilion, Regents Street, and Buckingham Palace.

Victorian (1837-1901)

Arguably the most creative and ambitious of all the periods, the Victorian era focussed on revival and reinterpretation. Drawing inspiration from a myriad of different architectural periods, from Neoclassical and the Renaissance to the Oriental and Medieval, the Victorians favoured the bold and ornate. They also created their versions such as Jacobethan: a combination of the Jacobean and Elizabethan styles.

This period also saw the phasing out of the dado rail, although the picture rail remained. With the preference now to place dining chairs around the table, the rail no longer served it’s original purpose. The removal of the rail led to higher skirting boards and deeper cornices designed to provide balance to the comparatively bare wall.

The surge in building work during these years saw plaster mouldings linked to social hierarchy. With developers free to determine the suitable style depending on their target market, detailing became integral to the success of the overall design. Larger and more substantial houses required more elaborate features to justify their price while at the lower end plaster mouldings were neither affordable nor appropriate.

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Joseph Dirand

With today’s interior market increasingly focussing on heritage for inspiration, we are seeing a resurgence in interest for period mouldings. Designers from Rose Uniake to Joseph Dirand are demonstrating how best to showcase these architectural features. Breathing life back into these details, this trend for preservation provides a much-needed celebration of the home’s historical identity.

A Definitive Guide to Collecting Art

The process of collecting art has until recently been a privilege to the few with means or connections. Over the past decade or so the industry has seen significant changes granting greater transparency for both the artists and collector. The move from galleries and auction houses to online platforms means it is easier than ever to gain access into this previously guarded world. With new artists being discovered and new markets emerging (particularly South Korea and China) this is the perfect time to begin your journey.

Never the less there are a few elements you need to consider before you start. We present the four essential stages required to starting your collection:

1. DO YOUR HOMEWORK

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The process of buying art falls mainly into two approaches: either finding and acquiring a piece that you love on the spot or via visiting exhibitions and by keeping abreast of what is happening in the market. Whist the former is more prevalent, the process of educating yourself allows for a more informed and confident final decision. 

Visiting exhibitions and fairs is the best way to start, and we are privileged in London to have a selection of the finest in the world. However, if the emerging market grabs your attention, then graduate shows are an excellent way to begin collecting an artist from the very beginning of their career – a prospect which is both exciting and perhaps, maybe even lucrative in years to come.  

Exhibitions: Frieze, Affordable Art Fair, PAD, Masterpiece, Pinta, LAPADA Art and Antiques Fair, Moniker Art Fair

Galleries: Ransom Gallery, Pace London, Gagosian, Lisson, White Cube, Victoria Miro, Johnny Van Haeften, Saatchi

Graduate Exhibitions: Royal College of Art (RAC), University of the Arts, Slade School of Fine Art, Central St Martins, Chelsea College of Arts.

2. WHAT IS YOUR MOTIVE?

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BUYING FOR LOVE

People buy art for many reasons, but primarily for two reasons: the piece itself or for the investment potential. More commonly, though, art is purchased because of the emotion it evokes in the buyer. It has been widely accepted that fine e art holds a certain power over people, although this effect is not universal. Whilst some are more affected by the classical works such as Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa or Michelangelo’s David, others are drawn to the more abstract works by Pollock or Hirst. 

Interestingly UCL completed a study in 2011 seeking to “see what happens in the brain when you look at beautiful paintings.” Subjects were shown a range of paintings from a selection of 28 works that included Monet, Constable and Reni, whilst undergoing an MRI scan that analysed the blood flow in the”medial orbitofrontal cortex, part of the brain associated with pleasure and desire” (Mendick). 

The results were instantaneous and as expected, varied from one subject to another. Zeki explains, ”what we found was the increase in blood flow was in proportion to how much the painting was liked……the blood flow increased for a beautiful painting just as it increases when you look at somebody you love”. So there you have it: buying art that resonates with you has proven psychological benefits.

INVESTMENT 

Buying art as an investment is a path well trodden and one increasingly difficult to make profitable. However, anyone can buy art intelligently. Here are three key questions that need to be satisfied before you close the deal:

1. Who is the artist?

Research who you are buying. Information usually comes in two forms: spoken and written. Spoken information will come from those directly involved with the sale (the dealer and the artist) or from others in the know. The written or published information is the most key. Research the artist through their websites, gallery websites, auction houses and other publications.  These are usually available from the galleries themselves or easily accessed via the internet.

The combination of the two will ensure that you are well informed and in a better position to make the purchase.

2. How significant is the art?

Knowing where a particular piece sits within an artists’ career or collection is key. Understanding whether your desired work is a ‘minor’ or ‘major’ player in their portfolio will help you ascertain the correct value.

Always check whether it is original or reproduction. If it is a print, then it is integral to understand whether it is a limited edition and if so how many are produced? If it is a limited edition, then check whether it is generated by the artist or by mechanical means as often reproductions (particularly glicees) are are digital creations with no input from the artist save a signature.

3. Provenience, history and documentation

Always ensure that you have the proper documentation relating to the artwork. The gallerists should be able to tell you of the previous owners (if any) and trace this back to the original sale. Failure to ensure that all accompanying documentation is correct at the time of sale may cause the value to reduce.

EMERGING MARKETS

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Emerging markets have provided a platform allowing new talent artists to showcase their work. This is particularly evident in the comparatively untapped regions of Eastern Europe, South Korea and China which are producing some of the most exciting talents today. MA graduates from these parts of the world are the best place to start as they are only just beginning their careers – you have to catch them early to profit!

Whilst this may not be the drive for some, the thought of picking up the future Pollock or Lichenstein for many is very much part of the journey. 

ALLOW YOUR COLLECTION TO EVOLVE

You shouldn’t think of your collection as static. “Your taste changes. The more educated you are, you start to look at things differently,” says Laura Noble, gallerist and author of the Art of Collecting Photography. She adds that one should “be prepared to part ways….when the time comes and let someone else fall in love with it.”

3. A GUIDE TO PHOTOGRAPHY

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“Photography is a love affair with life.” Burk Uzzle, 1938

One of the mediums that have become increasingly collectable in recent years is photography. Historically considered inferior to art regarding price and as such is a fantastic place to start your collection. This trend has changed over the past few years as collectors have become more educated in turn raising artists’ profiles, this medium remains an emerging market – bringing with it the excitement of untapped potential that many collectors crave. Remember: by investing in early-career photographers, you’re investing in the future of the medium.

What type of photograph is it?

From the almost extinct Polaroid to the digitally manipulated or even C-type, photographs vary considerably. Understanding the differences between these mediums and how they are developed will help you make a better end decision.

What does Limited Edition or AP mean?

Art’s commercial value stems from its rarity, but photography is inherently easy to reproduce. The limited edition has been developed to deal with this problem. It’s essentially a pledge by the photographer or their estate that no more than a certain number of prints of a given image will be made – ever. An edition can be anything from two to 500 or more. The fewer prints in the edition, the higher their worth.

The letters AP signify that the artist has elected to reserve a number of proofs for their personal use. These will be in addition to the overall number of prints detailed in the ‘limited edition’ figure.

Is it a one off?

Occasionally and if you are lucky enough, artists will offer unique photographs or ‘one-offs’. These are usually highly prized with this being reflected in the price.

4. CURATING YOUR COLLECTION

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How you arrange your collection is entirely up to you and the wall space you have available. Here are some tips to help you maximise the impact of your artwork. 

Pride of Place:

Usually, the finest works of a collection are placed in the most significant areas of the home. Above the fireplace or in the dining room, the more striking pieces are typically found in the areas used for entertaining.

Hallways: 

Hallways are a great place to show off your collection. Opting to hang on one side helps to create a widening effect on the passage. Similarly, mirrors can be added to increase the viewpoints and enhance the overall arrangement.

Bedrooms:

As the most intimate area of the house, this should be reserved for the pieces that you truly love. Equally, the choice of artwork should promote a calming and tranquil atmosphere – think ethereal photography, abstract paintings in dusty pastels or large scale landscapes.

Theme:

Whether you choose to do this by size, medium, palette or artist is a question of taste and desired intent. A centralised theme creates a coherence between the pieces, adding more impact to the space. Similarly, the content can be used to tell a story, and adds a further layer of detail.

These elements, when properly considered and executed, can help transform your home into a space which not only reflects your individuality but can also add a significant impact on your wellbeing. Art should alway be seen as an extension of the overall interior design, and a finely curated collection will elevate your home to its maximum potential.