architectural design

Sourcing Artful Design

A recent project in a Bank featured Cody Hudson paintings.

A recent project in a Bank featured Cody Hudson paintings.

As art consultants, we work hard to serve any art-related need a client may present to us. While much of our role involves advising on which artworks a client should purchase, we also help provide visual elements that may fall outside the definition of “fine art”. This could involve sourcing functional objects like furniture, fabrics, or accessories for a dining area that still require an artful touch.

A tea towel designed by Cody Hudson for Norden Goods.

A tea towel designed by Cody Hudson for Norden Goods.

Artists as Designers

Many artists use their creativity in a variety of fields, and can offer unique visual options outside of their fine art practice. Chicago artist Cody Hudson is an iconic example of a visual renaissance man. His fine artwork practice includes paintings on linen, steel sculptures, and screenprints. Outside the gallery context, he has also collaborated on graphic design for Target and Warby Parker, and partnered with Nike to design promotional materials and running shoes for the 2012 Chicago Marathon.

Art in Everyday Objects

Translating fine art principles into functional objects can elevate the overall experience of an environment; seeing how an artist’s mind approaches design can have a powerful impact. It presents an opportunity to connect to artwork in a new way. Having artwork on the wall adjacent to artist-designed accessories offers a chance to embrace the client’s art collection in alternate media, creating a dynamic dialogue between fine art and design in their space.

Collaborating with Interior Decorators and Architectural Designers

Many decorative and design-based projects require professionals beyond our immediate area of expertise, which is why we love to partner with interior decorators and architectural designers. Interior decorators bring a wealth of knowledge about the details needed to make a space visually cohesive, and artwork complements that. Occasionally recommending artist-designed details helps blend the vision of the interior decorators with the fine art collection connected to that space.

Similarly, architectural designers have extensive knowledge about how a person navigates through space and the structural components needed to execute the visual design of a space. We work closely with these designers to select artwork that balances the visual elements they’ve included, ensuring that all elements are harmonious and that the visual intent is clear. During these types of projects we’ll review furniture textures and color, materials used throughout a space, and aspirational goals of the client to best determine what artwork to recommend for the project. For example, clients with a crisp, modern design sense may benefit from artwork with organic texture, such as a wood sculpture, to add a warm element that balances their cool aesthetic.

Supporting artists who work in multiple visual fields provides a creative roadmap to make artwork accessible in non-traditional ways. It can also offer an interesting layer to the story of an art collection; artwork can appear in furniture design, textiles, and accessories as small visual clues that add a layer of interest to the experience of a place.  

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Adding Artwork To Large Spaces

Lobby Installation

When consulting with larger companies, we often recommend artwork for large, public-facing spaces. Commercial lobbies are a great opportunity to use artwork to complement a building's architecture while projecting a company's taste and visual style. The right sculpture or painting can have a huge impact on visitors, providing a very striking welcome.

Lobbies are designed to impress, and often the walls and floors are covered with marble, wood paneling, or other built-in design features. In some instances we will advise on site-specific artwork installations, and maintaining the integrity of these features is often a priority. Part of our role includes implementing non-permanent installation methods to protect the space while allowing flexibility to change the artwork in future. 

TRACK HANGING SYSTEMS

Cable Options

Large-scale artwork installations are often a part of a remodel or renovation, in which case we work with the project's architects and designers to strategize the best art display method for each particular project. One option we consistently recommend is a track hanging system. These systems are very versatile, with versions that are secure and compatible with the needs of most structures and artworks.

Depending on the specifications of the track, paintings, sculptures, and textiles can be displayed safely, elevating the design of a space without compromising design finishes. This gives clients the option to alternate the artwork from their collection on display, or even sponsor a rotating artwork program. This opportunity to refresh let's clients showcase their connection to visual culture, and elevate their brand.

collaborating during construction

Lighting Artwork

To select the proper track hanging option, we'll consult with the building's engineers to determine which areas are best suited to load-bearing. Certain tracks connect to the ceiling, and others to the wall. Selecting the right option during construction allows mindful selections that blend in with the space, and don't distract from the artwork. The track colors and lengths are customized, and we recommend the most subtle option. A thoughtfully selected tracking system should be minimal and camouflaged by the design of the lobby. Depending on the type of track, cables compatible with the type of track are purchased as well as hooks that hold the artwork. These have locking features to ensure the security of the artwork on display. 

Once the placement of the track is finalized, we collaborate with lighting consultants to strategize the best option for illuminating the artwork. The best lighting is unnoticeable, and requires expertise on color temperature, combining directable with wall-wash lights, and selecting bulbs with the proper specifications to prevent pigments from fading.

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