Turn your home into a gallery – mi­nus the price tag

Some high-end homes are be­ing sold with the help of art, says An­drea Marechal Wat­son

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Front Page -

Have you ever browsed a gallery wish­ing you could take it all home? Don’t give up hope. A cu­ra­tor at a top Lon­don mu­seum has sug­gested that works in stor­age should be lent to pri­vate homes rather than hid­den away in a base­ment. Col­lec­tor Flo­rian Wup­per­feld, founder of Lead­ing Cul­tural Des­ti­na­tions, says the idea has merit. “It might be a good way to look af­ter works, as stor­age can be very costly,” he says. The tra­di­tion of lend­ing an art col­lec­tion to a mu­seum could soon be turned on its head.

Gal­leries faced with as­tro­nom­i­cal rents in the couloirs of May­fair and Bel­gravia find them­selves ever more pinched for space, es­pe­cially as the art it­self is get­ting big­ger. One dealer’s rent de­mand went from £75,000 to £350,000 last year, ac­cord­ing to gallery owner John Martin.

Sev­eral gal­lerists have solved the prob­lem by “out­sourc­ing” works to de­vel­op­ers, lend­ing them art to dress prop­er­ties while ex­pand­ing their ex­hi­bi­tion space at no cost. These free out­reach spa­ces may be con­ver­sions of Ge­or­gian homes, new lux­ury de­vel­op­ments on the

Thames or any of the emerg­ing cre­ative dis­tricts in the cap­i­tal.

Us­ing art as part of a mar­ket­ing strat­egy for high-end homes is wide­spread across the globe but in Lon­don it has reached epic pro­por­tions, as dozens of gal­leries and de­vel­op­ers jump on the band­wagon.

Lend­ing art to a de­vel­oper is a vir­tu­ous cir­cle: the gallery gets a classy ex­ten­sion where it can show work for free, the in­te­rior de­signer ac­quires a lux­ury look for lit­tle in­vest­ment and the artists, though of­ten last in line, get paid.

Fur­ni­ture is even tak­ing sec­ond place in show homes where vast can­vases, glass cases hous­ing an­tiques, be­spoke car­pets, rare prints and sculp­tures of­ten dom­i­nate the scene. There is of­ten the chance for clients, par­tic­u­larly those want­ing a turnkey prop­erty, to buy the works, or have them thrown in.

Turn­ing homes into mini-mu­se­ums goes hand-in-hand with hard ev­i­dence that the prices of prop­er­ties near im­por­tant mu­se­ums and gal­leries are soar­ing. The very rich, who af­ter all sus­tain the es­ti­mated £43bil­lion art mar­ket, want art on the doorstep as well as in their home.

Some new Lon­don schemes that are not blessed with an icon like a Tate or the Bri­tish Mu­seum nearby are try­ing to rein­vent the ar­eas around them as new cul­tural hubs. Nine Elms hails it­self as Lon­don’s new­est cul­tural hub, close by is the newly chris­tened Bat­tersea Cre­ative Dis­trict, while a series of art events, in­clud­ing the sus­pen­sion of a grand piano from a crane by Cather­ine Yass, is mark­ing the progress of work at Tele­vi­sion Cen­tre in White City.

And it’s not just the high-end de­vel­op­ers. Pe­abody, a hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tion that is over­haul­ing the run-down Thames­mead es­tate, an­nounced a part­ner­ship with Bow Arts “to help the area be­come one of the cap­i­tal’s new­est cul­tural lo­ca­tions for artists, de­sign­ers, mak­ers and food en­trepreneurs”.

This in­ter­twin­ing of art and prop­erty means that in­te­rior de­sign­ers have started to call them­selves cu­ra­tors, while de­vel­op­ers such as Nick and Ben Wil­son of Res­i­dence One say they have be­come “art deal­ers by de­fault”.

An­drew Kafkaris of Bru­ton Street Man­age­ment, which looks af­ter prime Lon­don prop­er­ties, says: “In the 18th cen­tury many great houses were built around the works of art, col­lected by peo­ple tak­ing the grand tour of Europe. We are re­turn­ing to that sit­u­a­tion to­day, with homes be­ing built or re­fur­bished around art col­lec­tions.”

One scheme in Maryle­bone was launched with an art ex­hi­bi­tion, put on at the same time as Frieze up the road last Septem­ber, with £100mil­lion worth of art­works by Sal­vador Dalí, Joan Miró and Andy Warhol ri­valling the to­tal price of the prop­erty. It worked: all but one of the six apart­ments at Park Cres­cent have been sold in what is a slow mar­ket for such lux­ury homes. The

apart­ments didn’t come with the art in situ, but if a buyer ex­pressed in­ter­est, the de­vel­oper, Ama­zon Prop­erty, might look to gift it to them, or help se­cure it at a pref­er­en­tial rate.

Lu­mi­naire Arts in Bel­gravia, one of the cap­i­tal’s many deal­ers now spe­cial­is­ing in rent­ing art, claims that its orig­i­nal art­works as­sist clients to sell the homes. Many es­tate agents agree, and this is par­tic­u­larly true for for­eign in­vestors and over­seas clients who don’t want the in­con­ve­nience of styling yet another home.

De­vel­op­ers and de­sign­ers have re­sponded to this de­sire for turnkey, fully fur­nished homes and many have, like the Wil­son broth­ers, be­come art deal­ers by de­fault. Alexan­der James In­te­ri­ors bought a limited edi­tion Damien Hirst but­ter­fly print, The

Souls III, to dress Bar­ratt’s show home in Land­mark Place, Tower Bridge. The print, on loan from AJI, is for sale to pur­chasers.

Would the Hirst print, which cost £5,500, be ne­go­tiable? It seems likely. Last year Strutt & Parker sold a house fur­nished with lent art­works in Ea­ton Square to a Mid­dle Eastern client who in­sisted that he would only take it “lock, stock and bar­rel” even though the art was not orig­i­nally for sale.

“The seller came to an ar­range­ment and agreed, as the value of the art was mi­nor in com­par­i­son to the £30mil­lion price tag for the house,” says part­ner James Gil­bert-Green.

At West Eleven’s new Clapham de­vel­op­ment, Bak­ery Place, it has printed a cat­a­logue of the art­works that dress the prop­erty, and are for sale. The as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween Banda Prop­erty’s 12-18 Rad­stock Street de­vel­op­ment and art could not be closer. At the ground level of the apart­ment block in Bat­tersea’s Cre­ative Dis­trict sits JGM Gallery, which deals in Abo­rig­i­nal art. The lux­u­ri­ous, lat­eral homes up­stairs are filled with its art­works and a be­spoke ta­pes­try by a grad­u­ate of the nearby Royal Col­lege of Art hangs in the lobby.

It’s not only paint­ings and sculp­ture that in­te­rior de­sign­ers hire: French glass­maker Lalique has lent works and Stein­way, whose pi­anos are works of art in them­selves, reg­u­larly loans out self-play­ing grands.

Most of the art used to dress prop­er­ties is dec­o­ra­tive or ab­stract. “More of­ten than not fig­u­ra­tive art is a no-go,” says Nick Camp­bell of Nar­cis­sus In­te­ri­ors. Yolanda CruzSuarez, gallery man­ager at the Store Street Gallery in Blooms­bury, which lends art­works, finds large state­ment pieces with bold colours work best. Con­tem­po­rary works of cal­lig­ra­phy, bird and an­i­mal paint­ings are also pop­u­lar, ac­cord­ing to the Art News­pa­per’s ed­i­tor-at-large Ge­orgina Adam.

Far from be­ing an af­ter­thought, art has be­come an in­te­gral part of the de­sign process, with the sheer weight and size of some works a ma­jor con­sid­er­a­tion for ar­chi­tects, says Joe Burns, of in­te­rior de­sign firm Oliver Burns. “From re­in­forced floors to freight el­e­va­tors to bear the weight of heavy paint­ings, the ar­chi­tec­tural fab­ric of the build­ing is now care­fully con­sid­ered to best ac­com­mo­date the needs of an as­pir­ing art col­lec­tor,” he says.

‘Large state­ment pieces with bold colours work best’

Burst: a Damien Hirst, below, dis­played at a show to launch Park Cres­cent

Curves: a home in May­fair, on the mar­ket with Knight Frank, cover; a flat by Duke­lease, de­signed by Rolfe Judd and kit­ted out in pieces lent by Lu­mi­naire Arts, above; a Stein­way piano lent to a prop­erty for sale, below

Colour: in­side Park Cres­cent, left; an in­te­rior in Banda Prop­erty’s 12-18 Rad­stock Street, right; the din­ing room at the Manor in May­fair, below, on the mar­ket with Knight Frank for £11.25 mil­lion

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