Delta Wright

Interiors That Look and Feel Good

DOCENT Briefing No.6 | Eye Spy

Delta Wright

Hello and Welcome to DOCENT - your guide to design intelligence, creative solutions and earthly beauty.

Today’s DOCENT Briefing highlights 5 contemporary artists that recently caught my eye. They inspire me aesthetically and intellectually. Art preferences are highly personal and each choice reveals a bit of the person’s worldview. Here is a peek into mine.

SECUNDINO HERNÁNDEZ | b. 1975 Madrid, Spain
My craft-based education reveals itself in multiple ways including my interest in process. Secundino Hernández's large-scale paintings require a process-oriented approach that involves both rehearsal and surrender. His paintings are hard to characterize, as they are hybrids of figuration and abstraction, linear draftsmanship and intuitive color painting, minimalism and gesturalism. I particularly like the architectural scale of his “washed paintings” created by layering and then removing paint with a heavy-duty pressure washer. These large-scale canvases require great physicality on the part of the artist. Wielding the industrial pressure washer to carve through layers of dried pigment to expose raw canvas is akin to sculpting. The resulting works feel archaeological, like weathered walls in an old town square or an urban area long abandoned. These paintings act like a dramatic repository of collective memories.

Images courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro Gallery

ORLAN | b. 1947 Saint-Étienne, France

The pioneering vision of French artist ORLAN has shaped pop culture from Instagram selfies to Lady Gaga (a lawsuit continues…). Her five decades of multi-disciplinary art making has revolved primarily around self portraits. To say ORLAN has taken control of her own image and body is an understatement. In the 1990’s she underwent 9 plastic surgeries to “resculpt” various facial features based on famous artworks created by male artists. ORLAN has made her body her medium as a tool for her own liberation. If a woman’s body is to be controlled by politics and religion, taking back control is an act of freedom, no? I admire her complete commitment to her art and her utter disregard for orthodoxy. Her extensive self-portraiture has given me a wider perspective on how often identity is “performed”. She challenges many preconceived notions of art making and female empowerment. ORLAN’s radical perspectives keep me on my toes.

Images courtesy the artist

CHRISTINA QUARLES | b. 1985 Chicago, Il
In contrast to ORLAN who has made a career of precisely sculpting her identity, Los Angeles based artist Christina Quarles revels in ambiguity. With painterly virtuosity, Christina captures the contradiction of her identity, appearance and beliefs. Mistaken racial and sexual identities (she is a queer-identifying African American artist with fair skin) fuel her erotically charged paintings full of converging bodies. Visually, it is often hard to tell when one figure ends and other begins, but the desirous nature of the scene is unmistakable. Her large-scale acrylic paintings feature ubiquitous humans floating amongst crisp objects and patterns. Christina’s enigmatic works can feel unsettling at times, but also an opportunity to remind myself that things are not always what they seem.

Images courtesy the artist

CHRIS ANTEMANN
My affinity for minimalism in architecture is balanced out by my love of objects with implicit narratives. I also appreciate a good sense of humor and a get a kick out of romantic fantasies, so naturally fell in love with Chris Antemann. This unique artist has taken 18th century porcelain figurines and turned them into contemporary telenovelas. Using literary techniques to frame a narrative, Chris builds layers upon layer of story details - often loaded with social parody. The artist infuses 18th century social scenes of elaborate dinner parties, picnics, garden parties and courtship rituals with her wicked sense of humor. Scantily clad male and female figures with coquettish grins set in decadent scenes of the rich and famous grace her delicately painted sculptures. While she employs Rococo aesthetics, the seductive undertones of her characters are more modern. A favorite work is Forbidden Fruit Dinner Party (2013), where socialites gather around a table snacking on ripe fruit while hungrily gazing at their male companions. I enjoy Chris’ playful approach to documenting the shifting male/female dynamic and appreciate her skill in marrying design and concept so masterfully.

Images courtesy the artist

ALEXANDRA GRANT | b. 1973 Fairview Park, OH
As a songstress I know the power of a powerful lyric to catalyze emotion, so text-based artist Alexandra Grant felt like an artistic cousin the first time I saw her work. The L.A. based artist uses language and collaborations with writers as source material for her paintings, drawings and sculptures. Alexandra’s multi-disciplinary works are less a facsimile of the source material and more maps of emotion, meaning and symbolism. Her work explores translation from text to image, from 2D to 3D, from spoken to unspoken. The images in Alexandra’s work are familiar to us, yet each of us will “read” them differently adding layers of meaning based on our own frame of reference. Much of Alexandra’s work is based on long-term collaborations, or conversations, with writers and thinkers, including the hypertext fiction of Michael Joyce, the photography of the actor Keanu Reeves, and the work of French philosopher Hélène Cixous. If you are in L.A., you have likely run across Alexandra’s philanthropic grantLOVE project, which produces and sells limited edition works to benefit artist projects and arts non-profits. These works make great gifts!

Images courtesy the artist

I hope you enjoyed learning more about art that inspires me to think and feel
more deeply. Curious to hear which one of the five was your favorite.

Until Next time -

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DOCENT Briefing No.5 | A Quantum Trip to the Fair

Delta Wright

Hello and Welcome to DOCENT - your guide to design intelligence, creative solutions and earthly beauty.

Today’s DOCENT Briefing highlights my favorite captures from Salone del Mobile 2019. Hint: This year I relished the excitement of Milan in real-time through the eyes of my brilliant friends and colleagues via Instagram - while I opted for family time on the Oregon Coast and the beaches of Tamarindo, Costa Rica. It was just the quantum leap I needed to take!

DESIGN WEEK DARLINGS

FORMAFANTASMA: My intensive “studio years” spent garnering a B.F.A. in Glass and Ceramics before moving on to study Interior Design have always propelled me towards craft-conscious, chic artists who get their hands dirty and let the materials lead. This explains my ongoing attraction to Amsterdam-based design duo FORMAFANTASMA. Their installation/creation/collab with Dzek was visually rich and minimally austere. "Ex-Cinere" is a series of refined volcanic-ash-glazed tiles suitable for both interior and exterior surfaces, from bathrooms to façade cladding. Here are some quotes from Andrea and Simone about this work...
"We always think that, as designers, we have to decide things, but the world also decides things for us. In this case, the ferrous colours and final tile format were determined by Mount Etna. Volcanic ash is the grainy aftermath of molten magma that has erupted from under the planet’s crust. We’d been considering pastels and almost artificial colours, but these tones are more like life, and they bring back a quality that’s disappearing in architecture, which is the non-uniformity of colour."

MICHAEL ANASTASSIADES: Long term Flos collaborator Michael Anastassiades created a new lighting system called "Coordinates". The system consists of horizontal and vertical strip lights that form custom illuminated grid-like structures across ceilings. A second lighting system by Anastassiades, called "My Circuit", is made up of simple individual curved and linear sections that can be joined together to create custom configurations. Mounted on the ceiling, the curved sections can be used in tandem with five pendant fixtures which are fixed along the track. As Michael's most adoring fan, I always look forward to the reveal of his next works.

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PATRICIA URQUIOLA: Speaking of "Nuances", her collab with Gan Rugs: "While felt is typically a winter material, we worked with colors and patterns with a terrace effect to make surfaces lighter, less dense. The waves, the stripes, the color gradients are my ‘obsession’: they’re part of an aesthetic research that began with marble some years ago, and I’ve now transferred to different materials, from wood to fabrics."

VON ELLRICHSHAUSEN + DE CASTELLI: I consider blurring the lines between Art, Architecture, Interior Design, Sculpture and Experience - my life's mandate. Chilean duo PEZO VON ELLRICHSHAUSEN + DE CASTELLI have mastered this skill with their installation called "ECHO" at Palazzo Litta. "This mysterious object inspires a sensitive adherence between the interior and exterior settings...The exterior of Echo, covered with a mirrored surface, reflects the baroque colonnade and the two upper orders that make up the courtyard of the building. In contrast, the interior reveals the sky, a natural element isolated from the city. The installation establishes a relationship between art and architecture announcing the surrounding environment through a visual echo. It’s an open object, both restricted and expansive, visible and invisible, solid and ethereal. It’s a deceptive artifact and a form that resonates with the dimensions and proportions of the courtyard”. The pavilion alternates between appearances, reflections, and disappearance”. At ground level visitors encounter an unprecedented version of the monument, by looking up they see themselves reflected on an impressive tilted ceiling. Upon entering into the central room, into a massive steel grid frame, the weight of the historical architecture.

NILUFAR FROM HERE

Discovering, Crossing, Creating...

Nina Yashar's Nilufar Depot is a magical place. On my first visit to this fantastical furniture gallery (opened en masse in 2015), I was breathless for nearly two hours - snapping over 200 pictures while taking in a completely unique vista of composition, color, material and detail at each turn or even slight shift of my eyes. This year's exhibitions proved no different. Experienced only through myriad camera lenses the exhibitions and compositions still left me breathless. Deprived of physical touch this year, I found myself collecting more back story on this design world wonder. Here I selected a few translated excerpts from the Nilufar website...
"Nilufar gives life to projects, editions, site-specific shows and publications, working both with great masters and emerging authors. Nilufar has its own small manifesto, composed of three words: Discovering, Crossing, Creating. The history of taste is a never-ending exercise of decomposition and re-composition, just like a kaleidoscope... Milan is an interesting lab and a privileged point to observe the euphoric and restless scene of design."

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FUTURE RELICS

A collection of furniture pieces with presence and poise captured my feed and became instantly timeless. A single curving tube flows into the form of a chair (Atelier de Troupe), folded leather strips create a dense, decorative surface (Apparatus) and translucent glass forms structures to envelop space (Glas Italia).

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YOU LIGHT UP MY EUROLUCE

Euroluce, the International Lighting Exhibition, runs every two years since 1976 and presents the most innovative solutions in the field of light for interiors. At this 29th edition, it is recognized as the global benchmark lighting exhibition, where technological innovation and design culture take center stage. My eye is always captured by glowing sculptural specimens and unusual floating forms. Here are a few favorites I collected as their stories passed by...

VIVACIOUS VIGNETTES

Colors and textures, patterns and materials, modern innovations next to primal classics intertwining and overlapping at every turn. For me, a favorite pastime while at the Milan furniture fair is to visually study these design relationships in their astonishing - if only temporary - habitats.

Using Instagram as my instrument of quantum mechanics, this year my "trip to Milan" was as stunning as ever. Perhaps the filtered and edited view even better? Of course, the experience moves far beyond only the visual senses (hello, risotto), so I could never forego the in-person visit completely. But for a change this year, a little remote beach time with my device in-hand undoubtedly provided the best of both worlds. PURA VIDA!

If you enjoyed this DOCENT Briefing and you were at the fair this year, send me a note with your favorite finds. I'd love to see even more treasures through your eyes!

Until Next time -

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SPECIAL THANKS to my LOVE @graye_la who escorts me to the fair and keeps me attuned to the highest order of beauty year round. If you see anything in this post you'd like to inquire about, call GrayeMaria Cicione and her team will guide you.

BRAVO and GRAZIE to my REAL-LIFE Instagram friends @saradt  @natashabaradaran@abfabgram  @gc_collaborative  @gardeshop  @arielfoxdesign and @rum_idfor their perspectives and captures from this year's Salone del Mobile in Milano, Italy.

DOCENT Briefing No.4 | Living with Art

Delta Wright

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.

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Residences by Delta Wright Interior Design


CASE STUDY

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.

From Cherine Fahd’s " Homage to Rectangle"  series

From Cherine Fahd’s "Homage to Rectangle" series


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 -

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