Even well-designed spaces, despite all the care and attention to detail put into them, can end in rather generic results. For example, contemporary interior design, lifestyle and travel publications with their countless photographs of minimal and timeless interiors, haven’t been able to avoid becoming uniformly predictable in their effort to be inspiring. They will all inadvertently achieve the opposite if something new doesn’t come along to shake things up.
Appetite for good design has grown substantially over the past decade. Capitalizing on internationally recognized brands of modern furniture, lighting and decorative arts sold by the likes of Knoll and Design Within Reach has become a prerequisite of any trustworthy architectural or interior design showcase. Dare we say, what was once unique is now ubiquitous? But satisfying the desire and need for beauty and art is an ongoing process—something that more industries have been starting to take more seriously.
Art boutique hotels, for example, have become part of a movement that has declared war on indifference. The stylish mini-chain, ACE Hotels based in Portland, Oregon has collaborated with local artists for each of its four US locations, turning each hotel into a showroom of local art. In other words, they’ve transformed their spaces into destinations in and of themselves.
Even the yachting and boating industry has joined in on the fun. The camouflage designed boat Guilty was a project encompassing revolutionary boat architecture and an exceptional art fusion collaboration between Milan-based interior design studio, Porfiri and the well-known artist, Jeff Koons. Even though Greek industrialist and art collector Dakis Joannou commissioned the project privately, it has set a precedent within yachting and boating culture, causing the entire industry to re-examine the status quo.
In our own backyard, art boutique hotel The Gladstone Hotel where art apparently “is not just to be found on the walls, but even in dreams”, has become one of Toronto’s favourite hotels. With its multitude of onsite arts and music venues, The Gladstone has become a cultural destination for tourists and local Torontonians alike.
Holace Cluny, a Toronto retail destination for its exclusive collection of international furniture, lighting and decorative arts has been showcasing pieces by venerable design brands like Carl Hanson & Son and Knoll for years. But lately, it has been adding something else to its traditional repertoire. Its recent art fusion collaboration with Rollout and Robert Sangster has introduced a collection of wallpapers that redefine the form and function of commercial and residential surfaces and patterns alike. The artfully installed wallpaper collection provides a highly dynamic contrast to the monotony of the high-end retail design spectacle we’re used to.
The bottom line? Who wouldn’t like to spend time in spaces that are not only sophisticated, but also inviting and captivating, all the while vigorously defeating indifference in every possible way? We certainly would. And it’s no surprise that the coveted high-end consumer would too.
In our next post we’ll discuss some brands that despite their small size, think large and engage in art fusion collaborations ceaselessly. There’s much to be learned from their brazenness, so stay tuned.