TALKING ART & INTERIORS WITH THE CONTEMPORARY ART CONSULTANCY & GALLERY:
Interior design and art have long been connected on multiple levels. From home décor implements to both fields interacting in galleries and public spaces, from inspiration to practicality and beyond, art and design go together in perfect synergy from the very beginning. After all, design itself is a branch of the art world – on the practical and progressive side, with less focus on personal expression and more focus on function.
Nevertheless, the two need each other just as much, and it takes a specialised consultancy to navigate the thin line in between. VELVENOIR is one such international contemporary art consultancy and gallery that focuses on residential, commercial and hotel projects.
Through high quality services and an affinity for unique artworks, the consultancy manages to successfully bridge the gap between design and art, as it dedicates its knowledge and resources to help build and elevate a beautiful space. Through classy partnerships across the globe, VELVENOIR advances the healthy belief according to which art can bring a deeper and more meaningful experience to design.
Most recently, VELVENOIR collaborated with steininger.designers for ART X INTERIOR, an exclusive event at Steininger’s showroom in Vienna that simply breaks the boundaries on experiencing contemporary art and design. The opening night brought together art lovers, architects, design aficionados and art collectors in a bid to experience what the art consultancy calls “a unique symbiosis of interior design and art”.
In all senses, the innovative concept brought forth a fresh perspective on how two seemingly different fields can merge and generate a whole new spectrum of sensations – where one focuses on function, the other praises the form. We often praise designs that can satisfy both angles, but seeing them separate and yet so perfect together is something extraordinary.
The private viewing was also a great opportunity to connect museum-standard and established artists such as Chen Ping (China), Olivia Steele (USA), Carl McCrow (UK), Jeremie Lenoir (France) and more, with international art consultants from the Netherlands, London, Paris and Salzburg, as well as with Steininger’s own team of designers and architects.
We’ve recently had the pleasure to speak to Alexandra Schafer, the Managing Director of VELVENOIR and the brilliant mind behind the ART x INTERIOR concept, and got a better understanding of the art consultancy and its noble endeavours.
Coshamie: How did you get started with VELVENOIR, and where did the idea come from?
‘Back in 2013, in the middle of the Australian dessert – I stumbled upon unique artworks, created by an Aborigines couple in a gallery close by Alice Springs,’ says Ms Schafer.
‘I was truly mesmerized by the artworks and couldn´t really kept the discovery to myself. I wanted to share that experience and unique art with my friends and family back home. When moving back after living in London and Sydney for a while, I launched the online gallery velvenoir.com.’
‘Velvenoir.com was the vehicle for making art accessible and to share a curated selection of contemporary artists at a global level. Within the years, VELVENOIR, evolved from an online gallery to an international art consultancy and gallery that works with a global network of curators, advisors and art consultants on various projects together.’
‘We also draw attention to how contemporary art impacts the space and remind collectors, interior designers and aspiring collectors about the importance of original art from a career artist – about the personal statement that can be found in a piece of art.’
Coshamie: What was your philosophy for its foundation at the time, and has it changed since?
‘The foundation of VELVENOIR´s philosophy is to make a difference with original art. Sourcing unique contemporary art pieces from international established and emerging artists, working with them, knowing them, as well as collaborating with them on projects. It is this careful approach to art and design, infused with passion, which brings each project or concept to life,’ says Ms Schafer.
‘Through VELVENOIR we all have a strong commitment to authenticity that can be seen in many of our developed projects, events and collaborations. So far, the core of the philosophy hasn´t changed with regards to working with original contemporary art pieces; it’s just the way we work that has changed over the past years. We´ve adapted to our clients’ requirements in order to deliver the best consultancy service and make art accessible at a global level through monthly art collections, our network, app and website.’
Coshamie: How do you currently see the position of women in the art world at the moment, both as artists and as art dealers/gallery owners?
‘I believe it is still tough for women in the art world as in many other industries; it is a constant challenge to earn respect within the art world, especially when you are starting off in the market. You have to build your reputation prior to having major clients purchase art from you – it’s a constant process which brings both a positive and negative side to the picture.’
Coshamie: What would you say sets VELVENOIR apart from similar consultancies in the UK?
‘What sets us apart is truly the international network I´ve built, where I partner through VELVENOIR with an amazing team of consultants, advisors and curators. Each one of them brings a unique experience and know-how to the network, and this allows us to fulfill any request our clients and collectors may have for us,’ says Ms Schafer.
‘Furthermore, together with this network, we curate monthly art collections for interior designers and their clients. This allows interior designers to work with the art from the collections, incorporating it directly into their concept and letting us know whenever the client would like to acquire a piece seen in the collection.’
‘We recently also launched the first online art concierge service, where designers can simply submit their design brief and we complimentary tailor a collection for the project, in order for the designer to save time and be able to assist their clients in finding their personal statement.’
Coshamie: Can you name some of the highlight art works that you’ve placed for clients across various projects?
‘Absolutely, we´ve placed artworks by Ana Cvjic, Chen Ping, Dusica Pejic, Carl McCrow, Javiera Estrada, Eva Leopoldi, Michael Pinxtern, Jos Out, Jeremie Lenoir and various others.’
Coshamie: How do you see the art market develop over the next five years?
‘Online sales have truly grown over the years; young collectors are more confident in acquiring art through social media or online galleries,’ says Ms Schafer.
‘Major collectors, however prefer the personalization and keep going to art fairs and gallery openings. The market, however, will cater for both collector types through various different approaches, which I think is good as more artists will be able to expose their art while aspiring collectors will be able to truly source after what sort of genre they are into.’
Coshamie: Can you tell us a little bit more about ART x INTERIOR and what it is you hope to achieve with it?
‘Through ART x INTERIOR we partnered with steininger.designers to turn their interior design showroom in to a unique art experience, where clients are able to experience contemporary art from international artists in high-end interior design concepts,’ says Ms Schafer.
‘The aim with this collaboration is to make art accessible from museums, private collections and emerging artists altogether and create unique concepts that clients fall in love with. Through ART x INTERIOR we bring art out of the white – cube gallery and break the boundaries within the art scene to experience contemporary art in a complete new way and most important showcase that interior designers do play an important part within this process.’
That being said, we are confident that this year’s ART x INTERIOR development is only the beginning, as it has the potential to expand into a truly global phenomenon. To find out more about VELVENOIR and their services in art consultancy and interiors – including the art concierge angle, head on over to their website.
Coshamie is a London-based boutique digital marketing agency that works exclusively with interior design and contemporary art brands, with a focus on great strategies – individually designed to grow brands and fit budgets. Our #EspressoBlog mirrors our commitment to, knowledge of and passion towards design and art. To find out more, have a look at our services or one of our case studies.