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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Art in Interiors


By Lalit Hira


Just as water is incomplete without that one molecule of oxygen, interiors are incomplete without art. Exploring ‘Fine Art & Interior Décor’ – the human perspective...

It isn’t always that we take a moment to ponder on the two inseparables – fine art and interior décor; but when we do, we realise that they are correlated by the human perspective.

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In my various interactions with eminent architects and designers, I was once asked a very strange question –“What is the distance between an architect and an interior designer?” I wondered whether this was another wisecrack! But the answer was indeed amazing and thought provoking!

The answer was – “11 inches” – just 11 inches!

“How do you mean?” I asked.

I was told - that an architect visualises a detail, which is a fraction of a foot – 3, 6, 9, and 12 not below - while an interior designer visualises the fraction of an inch.

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“And the artist?” I asked quickly.  “An artist”, he said, “is just 1 inch away from both – adept at lending that subliminal charismatic touch to the creative genius of the architect as well as the designer”.

It is very difficult, I would say, to anatomise every nuance of interiors and architecture that has been afflicted by art. There was a time when art manifested itself in the décor of a building, as a soul inhabits its assigned body. Even today this holds true. There really is no difference in the perception of the artistic.

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While “a well designed” edifice was once predominated by neoclassicism, baroque, and ornamental designs and motifs, today design is characterised by sleek contemporary lines that classically trace the contours and forms that at once become stylised, upbeat and trendy. It is size that has made a cognisable difference - from the elaborately painted interiors to a painting within the set parameters of a frame – hung on the wall.

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Art has traversed - from the authoritarian churches to the nurturing riches of the Raje Maharaje, (kings) from the shrines of Ajanta-Ellora-Khajuraho, where one could only appreciate the rich artistry from afar, and the age-old manifestations of folklore and tribal art, down to the household of the common man.

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Yet, irrespective of the milieu, we are far from naïve about the transgressions that characterise the field of art and strongly influence a clear cultural definition. Which then leads us to the premise that we care little for creating a context of relevance or purposefulness where art is concerned.

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In simple words – the baton lies in the hands of us - interior designers and architects.  We are the ones who can truly influence the art lovers, home-makers and spearhead a true appreciation for art. It is we, who can budget for art at the onset of the project, and grant it its true value by prioritising art purchase as integral as the bathroom fittings.  

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The second dimension to this thinking-aloud is - Do we really, sincerely appreciate a true talent for what it is worth rather than what it is tagged with – the name, the price? Does the fresh face stand a chance in the burgeoning milieu of the famed? Are we open to promoting a fresh talent? If yes, to what extent?

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Are we sensitive to the creative genius of a person from the lower rungs of the social ladder? In what manner? Speech and speech alone or deed? What manner of deed? A one off fling with a social cause?

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I would like to conclude with an example – most people are like a glass upside down, when it comes to a willingness to learn – whatever you try to pour – is wasted!

Fortunately, for us – the audience for art is like a glass right side up – some may even be like a glass half filled – and there is always scope for learning.

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We have a responsibility to be just a little more aware of what we pour into that glass. And if in these last few moments of our interaction, this awareness has been emphasised even a little – then my objective is achieved.  

Lalit Hira is an interior & furniture designer based in Mumb ai, India. He is also the Founder-CEO of Gallery Pradarshak & India Art n Design Ezine

32 comments :

  1. Sandra Jackoboice,April 5, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    What you are showing here is very contemporary, unusual, extremely bright, etc. Is there any hope or space left for the Traditional, more "calming" Subjects/Art of Landscapes, Nature, Figurative, etc. in sculpture
    paintings, furnishings, etc.???
    I worked with a designer a few years ago who placed my work in homes.
    Unfortunately she moved to another State and we lost contact due to her
    life changes. I would like to work with designers again, but unfortunately, even galleries, as well as interior designers are showing more of the above.

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  2. I have similar concerns with those of Sandra, above, and refuse to adapt my own viewpoints to an industrial approach to painting. I love to react to my moment of experience, in observing people & surroundings. I can't help but cling to the uniqueness of all objects around me...with open implications I perceive. So how does this fit a contemporary moment in the art of lemmings?
    -DEB, painter

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  3. Great article and "reminder". I will pass along.
    Posted by Dana Kleinm on Linked In Group: ART Professionals Worldwide in reponse to IAnD's discussion thread:How important is it for an architect/ interior designer to recommend art to his clientele?

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  4. Interior designers and building architects have both brought me many commissions by recommending my works for their clients. I seem to get more of my large outdoor monuments placed through building architectural/engineering firms. That leaves me to think their cliental follow their recommendations closely.
    Posted by Peggy Detmers on LinkedIn Group: Art Collecting Network in response to IAnD's discussion: How important is it for an architect/ interior designer to recommend art to his clientele?

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  5. Art is most essential design element, setting the tone, influencing emotion and energy of interior and exterior spaces.
    Posted by Donna Bruni Cox on Linkedin Group: International Network for the Arts in response to IAnD's discussion: How important is it for an architect/ interior designer to recommend art to his clientele?

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  6. Very important, but this step should closely involve the client, specially if it is a residential project.
    Posted by Edward Romero on Linkedin Group: ARCHITECT in response to IAnD's discussion: How important is it for an architect/ interior designer to recommend art to his clientele?

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  7. Beautifully written by Lalit Hira! Yes, I do think it is important and vital to the design of the interior. The artwork chosen must integrate with the overall design yet still stand out as a design element itself.
    Posted by Mary Haertel on LinkedIn Group: Paintings in response to IAnD's discussion: How important is it for an architect/ interior designer to recommend art to his clientele?

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  8. I do believe that every house needs at least one piece of art however when it comes to giving advice, it is more tricky. If you are a good psychologist and can figure out your client than i think it is a good idea.
    Posted by Inessa Karalnik on LinkedIn Group: Interior Architecture + Design in response to IAnD's discussion: How important is it for an architect/ interior designer to recommend art to his clientele?

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  9. A good project lives from its design components. It is the quality of its ingredients like architectural and interior design as well as landscaping design and technical standard, which makes a project outstanding. Art is an important feature and should find its place indoor as well as outdoor wherever possible......and affordable.
    Posted by Klaus Gollnick on LinkedIn Group: Design & Architecture in response to IAnD's discussion: How important is it for an architect/ interior designer to recommend art to his clientele?

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  10. Nice article Lalit. We supply artwork to interior desingers and like to think it is an important aspect of their project and not just and afterthought!
    Posted by Laura Grainger on Linkedin Group: Interior Design Professionals in response to IAnD's discussion: How important is it for an architect/ interior designer to recommend art to his clientele?

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  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  12. Art connects and grounds a space by adding the window of soul . Art can become the focal point or the finishing touch to a space. Art creates a mood for the environment and can be healing as well. Let's never lose perspective of just how important Art is . Many designers and architects attempt to cut corners on the art once the budget has been spent on other decorative items that do not withstand the test of time as Art does. Many architects are not even aware of the 2% rule .
    We can't let Art fall by the wayside , we need to embrace the culture just as the French and Italians have.Posted by Glynnis Sorrentino on LinkedIn Group: Design & Art Resource in response to IAnD's discussion: How important is it for an architect/ interior designer to recommend art to his clientele?

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  13. i often sell to interior designers who will bring in a client to see a piece they think will work. designers are vital to my sales. they make the recommendation, but in the end the client has the final say. if there is interest i always suggest bringing it home for trial run!
    Posted by Deanna Fainelli on LinkedIn Group:Design & Art Resource in response to IAnD's discussion: How important is it for an architect/ interior designer to recommend art to his clientele?

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  14. Beautifully written by Lalit Hira! Yes, I do think it is important and vital to the design of the interior. The artwork chosen must integrate with the overall design yet still stand out as a design element itself.
    Posted by Mary Haertel on LinkedIn Group: Paintings in response to IAnD's discussion: How important is it for an architect/ interior designer to recommend art to his clientele?

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  15. My brother is architect. I chose the Fine Arts. So I think I may posses a bit of insight here.
    In Canada- despite the hype and some anecdotal cases- Art is not part of the deal. The % mandated for art in architectural gigs is seen as a massive distraction. Many stories circulate of builders preferring to pay a fine rather than indulge is 'decorating'. Other tales abound of architects viewing the mandated art as a budget grab that they would rather keep- so the 'designers 'pencil in' art flourishes such as pointless fountains and textured walls to appropriate the art budgets for themselves.
    In Miami- I see less of this- but often the well intentioned art/architecture combo is un -even, with little integration between the art idea and the architectural idea.

    Another abomination is the cheap art integration prevalent at chain cofee shops and mid range hotels. If I see another B&W giclee of the Brooklyn bridge- i will be forced to call up a graffiti brigade!

    Architectural art should probably be seen rather as a design issue. The artist should be briefed by the architects, and scales should be respected. Too often we see bold architecture with diminutive sculptures littering the promenades. ( But at Miami's Aventura Mall- we see a retro-fitted art collection 'in situ' - in the mall and around the structure- good curation here overcomes the awkward 'fit' of the art/architecture dilemma.)
    Another horror to avoid is the case of the modern building with the 'correspondingly boring' art. As if the dullness of the un-inspired architecture must be matched with flat, monotone art.

    To me- the art must speak to the building. But most (not all) architects are box designers- and are surprisingly un-enlightened. After all- what is a modern building? It s a hugely upscaled variation on a cheese grater. Four connected upright panels with cleverly arranged holes (windows) in parallel lines. Up the idea scale is the clever variation of surface materials to disguise the monotony- or the breaking up of the box into sectional 'masses"- again - to disguise the engineering bias. Or try applying lines or panel motifs on the endless monotone surfaces to make a building look 'artsy'.
    Does anyone think the World Trade Center was worthy architecture? Sure- It was an engineering acheivement- but ...really!..
    Finally- artists around the world have indeed already integrated their art upon architecture. It s called graffiti. It is a massive grass roots reaction to monotone surfaces. The monotone surface having been championed as the crowning achievement of modern engineering, adopted by architects as a style statement of modernity (streamlining). Well unfortunately this surface style makes surfaces unbearable to look at, makes our city streets into wind tunnels, and results in the marginalization of the profession of architecture - relegated them to mere engineers- where a foment of art hostility is allowed to thrive.
    In conclusion- perhaps the architect recommends art to his client in order to mask the creative bankrupcy of the architecture. Otherwise- The art would ALREADY have been an integral part of the architectural vision.
    Posted by Robert Mazerolle on LinkedIn Group: Fine Art Professionals Exchange in response to IAnD's discussion: How important is it for an architect/ interior designer to recommend art to his clientele?

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    Replies
    1. in your very long rant, you do not say what art or architecture you admire. are you familiar with Frank Lloyd Wright? The architect ? He designed furniture and stained glass windows for his buildings, because as his famously said "Form follows function", He designed with the viewpoint of how the interior space would be experienced by the people living inside. Do you perhaps admire the highly decorative styles of the seventeenth and eighteenth century so popular among some wealthy Indians who like the look of the "Raj" with gold brocades and gilded ornate furniture and decorations on everything ? Is art to you supposed to be ? what ? Like a 16th century landscape, in a heavy gilded frame ? What do you think of Matisse ?
      Or Frank Stella ? To me good architecture is wonderful to live in, full of light and air.
      Good art is based on good design and whether representational or abstract engages the mind and the senses.

      Delete
  16. If we have to convince our cousins—the architects of the value of Art, we are dumbed to depend on the jerks who have enough money to play art-investor.
    I have low esteem for politicians, government and corporate social workers and can't wrap my head around grant application rules. Art is about like, not about inform and too often it works when it entertains politically, but I guess that's OK; it's just sad.

    Sad is as good a state of mind as happy is for an artist, maybe better,
    so, in the end it's all good.

    In retrospect, I liked the Twin Towers a lot—they were part of my daily skyline.
    (and had thousands of working people inside; a sad afterthought by itself, for itself, just like Art)
    Posted by Laurentiu Todie on LinkedIn Group: Fine Art Professionals Exchange in response to IAnD's discussion: How important is it for an architect/ interior designer to recommend art to his clientele?

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  17. If it is a commercial establishment then you need an interior designer to recommend and select the art. If it is residential then the interior designer should recommend to the client the possibilities. They can go with the client to review and select. But in the end it is the client who has to live with the art and should truly appreciate it since it shall hang on their walls. Nothing worse than a client who is buying something to match the blue sofa in the green living room.
    Posted by Ron Rossion LinkedIn Group: Fine Art Professionals Exchange in response to IAnD's discussion: How important is it for an architect/ interior designer to recommend art to his clientele?

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  18. Thank you everyone for this excellent exchange of views. As a designer, and director of a contemporary fine arts gallery for upcoming Indian artists, I have seen various types of buyers. There are the aesthetically well informed as well as those with a natural eye for picking fine art. It is not always that a designer has to educate the buyer. It is a little hand-holding that helps.

    But, do keep the discussion going. We get to broaden our viewpoints.
    Posted by Lalit Hira

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  19. Hmmm this discussion seems to be entirely about clients - be they private or commercial - who have large budgets but no taste in art. Does that really happen? Do people really need architects or designers to tell them what is "good" art?
    Posted by maura haverly on LinkedIn Group: Fine Art Professionals Exchange in response to IAnD's discussion: How important is it for an architect/ interior designer to recommend art to his clientele?

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  20. Everybody needs either guidance or confirmation for their taste.
    Galleries and museums rely on show statistics, architects and interior decorators wing it, sometimes well and sometimes poorly.
    Posted by Laurentiu Todie on LinkedIn Group: Fine Art Professionals Exchange in response to IAnD's discussion: How important is it for an architect/ interior designer to recommend art to his clientele?

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  21. Laurentiu, I might agree with "some people" or even "many people", but "everybody" seems a bit much...Maura Haverly

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  22. Everybody what? : )
    guidance or confirmation? Laurentiu Todie

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  23. Neither nor :)maura haverly

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  24. In my opinion, you're wrong.
    Tastes have been changing since the cave paintings time. For anyone to not need at least confirmation that their taste is keeping up with the changing times, seems arrogant and ludicrous to me. Unprofessional.

    What is it that you like in art, and what do you base your opinion on?
    Do you like digital art?
    Considering that art is about like not about how things are made : )Laurentiu Todie

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  25. i think the art guidance subtext here is debatable. Certainly, buildings developed by commitees will require booking an art 'expert'. The state of most- not all, maybe- modern buildding projects is such that the zeitgeist is to 'take away' as much as possible- to save money. In Toronto- almost all recent condos built are under 1000 sq ft. Parking slots are very tight. on and on. by the time the building is finished- it is now necessary for art (and other elements) to be pasted back into the vision. So that is why an art expert is needed. People dont do very well at all when they attempt their own landscaping, child rearing, investing, cooking, or even carreer management. Not very well at all. Not even so-so- statiscally. So we can't let the poor dears buy architectural art. Most people do- in fact - buy art of a kind - it is called 'fashion'. They can handle that. As long as it is disposable.
    Posted by Robert Mazerolle on LinkedIn Group: Fine Art Professionals Exchange in response to IAnD's discussion: How important is it for an architect/ interior designer to recommend art to his clientele?

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  26. People buy art too, but a lot of them buy Kincade
    (which is fine by me, but I can think better : )Posted by Laurentiu Todie on LinkedIn Group: Fine Art Professionals Exchange in response to IAnD's discussion: How important is it for an architect/ interior designer to recommend art to his clientele?

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  27. I am an interior designer, but my training initially was in a fine art institute. I usually BEGIN my projects from art whether on canvas or rug...whatever the form takes. The room becomes a 3D expression of that energy, color, etc. A great way to read a client's sense of style is to have them chose a great piece of art. My rooms are full of art.
    Posted by Maryann Syrek on Linkiedin Group: Design & Architecture in response to IAnD's discussion: How important is it for an architect/ interior designer to recommend art to his clientele?

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  28. From my experience, many times, clients of interior designers, despite having considerable financial confidence, have little confidence in buying or hanging a piece of art.
    However, then the issue is whether the interior designer has actually an "eye" for art...but they are often only concerned with colour and size so that a work will "fit" a certain space.
    I have always advised my clients who own art to build their interior design around their art.
    Posted by Anthony Smith on Linkedin Group: Fine Art Professionals Exchange in response to IAnD's discussion: How important is it for an architect/ interior designer to recommend art to his clientele?

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  29. Wonderful designs. The Architecture of the Classical Interior is a comprehensive, thematic study of the architectural conception and treatment of classically designed rooms. I really appreciate all your work and also providing a lot vital ideas for your readers. Thanks a lot…

    Architects In Hyderabad

    ReplyDelete
  30. Wonderful designs. The Architecture of the Classical Interior is a comprehensive, thematic study of the architectural conception and treatment of classically designed rooms. I really appreciate all your work and also providing a lot vital ideas for your readers. Thanks a lot…

    ReplyDelete
  31. I want to to thank you for this wonderful read!!

    I absolutely enjoyed every bitt of it. I have you
    book marked to check out new things you post…

    ReplyDelete

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