Hello and Welcome to DOCENT - your guide to design intelligence, creative solutions and earthly beauty.
Today’s DOCENT Briefing is about how I incorporate ART to create unique and soulful homes. The art world can be a mystifying and an overwhelming place, yet nothing I know elevates a room like a well-placed work of art. The hunt for art that speaks to your soul is worth the time. Guiding clients through this process is a great joy for me and I am happy to share a few insights here.
My 20-year design career has taught me that the sooner the art discussion happens the better the result. One of the first things I ask new clients is to describe their most valuable objects. Listening and empathy are important design skills and asking exploratory questions takes the discussion deeper. I learn much about my client’s values, passions and dreams through their cherished processions. I want to tell their unique story, not adhere to a signature style. My process involves developing a “design story” that captures their personality and anchors the vision.
Residences by Delta Wright Interior Design
Working with a creative family with two young kids in the Pacific Palisades, we determined “art gallery meets children’s museum” best captured their desired vibe. The client was an emerging art collector with an affinity for bold, original and colorful works. I brought in Maryna Hrushetska, an art advisor with a knack for discovering fresh talent, to simplify the search. My guiding principle for incorporating art is all about juxtaposition. Contrast creates visual interest - in the right dose. (It takes practice!)
I always consider the subject matter or conceptual message when placing art. In this case, the client wanted an “outer space” mood in the master bedroom. I selected a hand-painted foil wallcovering by Calico in a custom mural called "Andromeda" for the room and paired it with a pink Campagna Brother’s settee. For a dramatic focal point above the bed, Maryna suggested Lita Albuquerque’s Stellar Axis series, her epic land art installation that consisted of 99 blue spheres installed at the South Pole to correspond with celestial patterns. My client loved the concept and selected a massive 120” x 90” photo called “Constellation 1”.
“Andromeda” by Calico | From Lita Albuquerque’s "Stellar Axis" series
To address the kids’ love of shapes and primary colors without sacrificing style, we hung a series of Cherine Fahd’s “Homage to Rectangle” series in a light-filled hallway. These witty and experimental photographs, which feature a peek of body parts, have entertained both kids and adults alike.
On a more philosophical note, we installed this brilliant neon/mirror piece by text-based artist Alexandra Grant in the corner of the living room to encourage daily self-reflection.
Alexandra Grant neon and mirror installation in Palisades home by Delta Wright Interior Design
Putting art at the center of the design narrative allowed everyone involved to think beyond 3D space and dive into mood and story. Thanks to my adventuresome clients and a rich team of creatives and artists, I was able to create a home with the sophistication of an art gallery without losing childlike wonder.
Each space I design has its own human agenda that needs to be respected. Home is about creating an intimate space, a space that considers the feelings and values of the people who live there. Creating spaces that enhance human wellbeing means understanding the intangibles. I approach the placement of art intuitively, considering the emotional and visual “weight” an artwork communicates. All art carries a voice, a presence that needs to be considered in relation to furnishings. It should live in harmony with the decorative and functional elements of the home, but also have space to speak effusively.
I hope you enjoyed this DOCENT Briefing on LIVING WITH ART, a topic I can talk about for days. Enjoying art is a deeply personal experience and I am amazed how much there is to discover and learn.
Until Next time -