Art can exist anywhere, we all need to start thinking outside the frame when decorating our homes
It will be news to many that art need not be confined to canvases, imprisoned in frames or suffocated behind panes of glass. Generally, when we think of an art collection, we think of framed paintings and drawings hung on the wall.
But, according to interior designers and homewares manufacturers alike, we can incorporate art into our homes in surprising and innovative ways.
While there will always be beauty in a gallery-style wall in a living room or bedroom, what’s to stop the design-savvy finding platforms for self-expression in unexpected places?
Brintons, a carpet manufacturer founded in 1783, has become renowned not only for its quality and beautiful collections, but for its collaborations with contemporary design houses.
In its most recent residential collaboration with the Scottish design duo Timorous Beasties, Brintons launched a collection inspired by John Ruskin’s watercolours featuring British flora and fauna.
The delicate, sprawling patterns feature butterflies, flowers and branches, tangled artfully in a woven controlled chaos.
The collection acts as a reminder that flooring should not be forgotten, but treated as an opportunity for a large scale design statement. Butterflies not obligatory, but certainly recommended.
Speaking of artistic statements, Andrew Martin uses its permission under licence to reproduce paintings in the National Gallery’s permanent collection to create home accessories, wall coverings and even headboards, turning even the plainest of walls or cushions into works of art.
Most striking is the brand’s recent collaboration with Savoir Beds to produce a collection of headboards which turn your bedroom into an artistic haven of maximalist design.
Headboards are certainly not the be-all and end-all of filling your bedroom with art in new and exciting ways. Sheridan Australia is a homewares company with absolutely unrivalled bed linen designs, using real artists in the research and development phase of their production.
Claudio Alcorso, Sheridan Australia’s Italian founder, always maintained that “art belongs everywhere, not just on gallery walls”, thus establishing the concept of bed linen as a piece of art in and of itself.
The in-house team of artists travel around Australia for the brand’s seasonal collections to draw and paint from the landscape and wildlife. The artwork is then taken to the Sydney design studio where it is digitised and printed onto the bedding.
Marilyn Monroe is known to have slept wearing only Chanel No 5, but sleeping in a work of art sounds much more luxurious (not to mention, warmer).
Perhaps the most underused and unprecedented platform for introducing art into the home is the staircase.
In the House and Garden Project of the Year, interior designer Shalini Misra made the staircase of her Chelsea space the undeniable focal point.
Misra says “when a staircase is merely a utility joining two levels, art can be the way of enriching an otherwise uninteresting space. Let’s not limit art to merely pictures on walls, it can also be an interesting quotation on a stair runner, as in this project.”
Aside from the creation of pieces of homeware intended as art, art can also be simply what you make of everyday objects. Andrew Martin is a key proponent of this school of thought, styling shoes, bikes, cars and baskets on the walls in its globally-inspired portfolio.
So too does Godrich Interiors, a London-based design studio, create works of art from objects otherwise forgotten. In one of its most notable projects, the team installed a life-size Michelin Man model in an entrance way, conjuring its retro, commercial, icon-like stature into a piece of art.
It seems to be that when you position something, lighting it and giving it a sense of occasion, you imbue the aura of an artwork into the object itself.
So ultimately it looks like we all need to start thinking outside the frame when decorating our homes. From flooring to bed linen, art can be ubiquitous and give a sense of intrigue to all aspects of the home.
As a first step, why not style some of your belongings on an open shelf? Objet d’art, finds from your travels and any beautiful trinkets can be styled to create your own mini installation.
So go forth and curate, finding art in unexpected places along the way.