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 info@hvlin­te­ri­

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