The integration of art into commercial design and architecture projects can leave a visceral impact. We speak to an art consultant and an art dealer to get an insight on how designers can get the best results for their commercial projects.
July 12th, 2018
Hospitals, hotels and workplaces are increasingly becoming a dynamic backdrop for progressive and inspirational artworks. These semi-public to public commercial spaces provide the perfect shell for elevated design outcomes, which can be achieved through artistic collaboration.
But as a designer, what does that process look like? The curation of art in a project sits slightly adjacent to the repertoire of a traditional designer and that’s where the help of an art consultant, or a dealer, can come in.
Swee Lim, of Swee Design, is an art consultant, interior designer and stylist who brings expertise in the selection of furniture and art.
For Swee it’s all about a collaborative approach when working with architects and designers, “I work closely with the designer on the brief,” continuing that, “I find my role is often that of a conduit or broker between artists and designers; facilitating opportunities to incorporate art within the design process and to further my client’s appreciation and knowledge of the visual arts.”
From the art dealer side, Megan Dicks and Hannah Abbott, the directors of Otomys, reiterate the power of an art consultant.
For commercial interior designer’s who are looking to specify art in a project, “Start by having a conversation with an art consultant or by engaging their services. The relationship with art shouldn’t feel intimidating, so an art consultant with an overall appreciation of architecture and design is more likely to provide interior designers with an insight into art that celebrates their design intention,” share the pair.
For those still on the fence as to whether the addition of art is a worthwhile inclusion in a commercial project, all three offer up some convincing insights.
“Procuring art for a commercial project is a long-term investment for businesses of any scale. To maximise the impact of this investment, a collection should be curated on a visceral level,” say Megan and Hannah.
And that doesn’t mean that it has to be limited to the walls, as Swee says, “Artworks can be stand-alone pieces but they can also be integrated into the fabric of a building’s design, such as the façade, ceiling or flooring. A fantastic example of this is at The Musee du Quai Branly in Paris where Aboriginal art is presented as an artistic installation on the ceilings and façade of the building.”
Megan and Hannah add another layer to that thought, “Art appreciation begins with an enquiring mind. The experience may not remain on the canvas, rather beginning to exist between the artwork and individual, and that’s where the conversation becomes three-dimensional,
“Appreciating art beyond the visual offers a most impactful outcome. Something that is integral to the procurement process for us at Otomys is the ability to encourage our clients to step outside their comfort zone.”
Hannah and Megan share an example of this boundary-pushing approach in action, “We have had the honour to work alongside HASSELL and Montlaur for Transurban’s extraordinary new head office.”
Although the project is yet to be finished, Megan and Hannah share that, “HASSELL has worked with Transurban for many years and have a complete understanding of its business demands. Otomys has curated a collection of artwork that shares a deep connection with the urban environment, far beyond a literal composition. Everyone involved in the curatorial process has shied away from safe choices and rather welcomed cutting-edge pieces. We cannot wait to share it later this year – expect the unexpected!”
Swee has also recently been working on a noteworthy project – an ongoing collaboration with SJB. “When SJB moved to its new premises in Oliver Lane, I proposed using the new office space to showcase an ever-changing range of artworks and exhibitions curated by myself and Gallerysmith.”
The first exhibition was The Memory of Time and the second program titled Other Worlds officially opens on Wednesday 18 July. What is special about this collaboration is that it brings “a great opportunity to introduce SJB’s corporate clients to dynamic new artists,” says Swee. It also helps that SJB’s new office has a distinct NYC loft and residential vibe, which the artwork complements while serving a commercial purpose.
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