The art of the deal
Art is one of the most impactful components to an interior, thus interior designers are often highly involved in art-related decisions. One might liken it to the enriching layer that the right wine pairing adds to a chef ’s creation. Involvement may include the selection process of finding new work as well as placing, framing, and mounting of new or existing work.
Collectors often call upon their interior designers to visit galleries to see specific pieces they are considering for a space and to assess their scale, presence, and character. For additions to a collection and interior, the matter at hand may be how a piece might dance with other media, textures, forms, and shapes in the space and specifically with furniture, rugs, architectural elements, objects, and exist- ing art. The assessment often determines whether or not the piece will contribute to the balance of the design concept or add something newto the mix. By contrast, will it overpower a space and not have sufficient viewing distance or lighting to do it justice?
If a client is viscerally attracted to a work and “has to have it,” this will trump all the above questions. A seasoned interior designer can always make a piece within the overall concept when there is such a strong attraction.
In selecting a body of art for a blank-canvas interior, the intent is to create a dialogue between pieces and with the interior architecture. What does each piece have to say to the viewer and in what location and combination can it best communicate that message? The next step is to arrange the determined pieces in a way that compliments the design concept’s storyline. One strategy is to combine pieces in a space that are complimentary yet varied (for example, not all figurative or not all dimensional). Often the works combined with rugs, which are their own art form, are the lead characters in the narrative around which all other elements come together. Though the intention is not to match or be too prescriptive, cues are taken from the art for many of the other elements and direct decisions to be made. This may include pulling from the patterning or line, texture, color or tone of the work and creating subtle gestures back to it.
In addition to making selections, interior designers are often tasked with providing optimal placement. An interior designer might suggest a location never considered, such as to the far side of a wall or dramatically higher or lower than one might expect in order to create tension or become part of a larger assemblage. In new construction or remodels, interior designers work with the clients, architects, and builders to identify or create dedicated spaces for pieces of top priority. In other instances, a client might acquire a work for a specific area that then mandates a shifting or relocation of other pieces or elements in a room to achieve ideal composition.
Even still, the interior designer is sometimes involved in adding to and curating a client’s collection. Designers are often well versed in artists and galleries in their area and beyond to offer their projects context, reference, and sourcing. Often during this process, there is engagement in the framing or re-framing of certain pieces, working closely with a framer regarding glass and type, matting, frame profile and finish, and scale.
Whether speculating, acquiring, combining, or perfecting your art collection, a professional interior designer can assist transaction to transformation.
Heather Van Luchene ASID and Steffany Hollingsworth ASID are partners in HVL Interiors, LLC, an interior-design firm offering professional residential and hospitality design services. Both are New Mexico-licensed interior designers. They can be reached at (505) 983-3601 or firstname.lastname@example.org.