With cross-sector expertise as international art consultants, Artelier specialises in curating art for private clients, residential developments and luxury hotels. In this article, Artelier's curators reveal the growing importance of international experience in delivering the next generation of projects. This achieves a sophisticated fusion between local artistic heritage and a refined international standard.
1. Why Diverse International Experience Matters
Travelling is one of the most enriching experiences for many individuals. In soaking up local culture and being exposed to diverse aesthetics, international travellers develop sophisticated tastes. Private clients look to reflect the breadth of their experiences in their homes; meanwhile, in order to appeal to those international travellers, hotels try to capture the essence of their location in interiors. Art is a key way to do this, and can communicate unique aspects of a culture. An art consultancy with diverse and in-depth international experience has therefore become increasingly important to private clients and brands alike.
Undertaking a deep, detailed level of research for each project is not only beneficial for uncovering relevant themes for the project at hand, but builds an extensive knowledge that is carried forward. It offers the opportunity to learn about the artistic heritage of different regions, becoming familiar with their artistic philosophies. The process of curating a new project also leads us to discover a pool of local contemporary artists, which are added to our growing database. Every project therefore accumulates an understanding of international art histories, as well as of the most exciting global art today. This cumulative experience becomes the foundation for later projects, enabling richer and more culturally nuanced responses.
Delivering projects throughout Europe and North America, as well as the Middle East and Asia, we have the benefit of being involved in flagship international projects such as One Hyde Park (London), One Palm (Dubai), and collaborating with leading hotel brands such as Hilton, Sheraton, St. Regis and Rosewood. Working behind the scenes of these exclusive projects gives us an instinct and benchmark for the standards of quality and illuminates the expectations of discerning clients and hotel guests.
In a globalised world, these standards are consistent – there is a level of finesse and sophistication that is an essential criteria for high-end art and design. Whilst the artworks we curate are rooted in their locality, they are therefore still contextualised within an international artistic language. In order to ensure that the tastes and expectations of international travellers are being met, it is often helpful to work with experts based in locations that are immersed in an international culture and lifestyle, and have experience of projects from all corners of the globe.
2. The International Heritage of European Culture
As an art consultancy that works internationally – from Japan to the UAE, Russia to Ethiopia – there is no clear location to have a base. Indeed, with technology, it is possible to authentically connect to distant countries regardless of where you are located. For Artelier specifically, being immersed in Europe provides significant sustenance, inspiration and practical advantages. Europe is a hub for international art and design, and has a longstanding heritage as a richly multicultural society.
Historically, Europe been a melting pot of different cultures – not only does the closeness of different nations facilitate the experience of other cultures, but there is an extensive heritage of trade with Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas. Their exchange of culture and design has created a richness to the fabric of European society, and an openness to international influence.
In the artistic sphere, the abundance of 20th Century art movements on the continent revolutionised global art and design. Movements such as Cubism and Fauvism in France, Dada in Switzerland, Italian Futurism, and German Expressionism innovated the aesthetic of modern art, exploring new ways of depicting space, movement and colour. Perhaps most significantly, these European movements paved the way for developing a new conceptual approach to art – leading to a worldwide interest in abstraction. More recently, the likes of the YBA (Young British Artists) in the 1990s experimented with the forms and mediums art can take, and invigorated interest in installation art. This rich artistic heritage continues to permeate leading contemporary work across the world.
Being immersed in contemporary European artistic cultures allows our consultants to also be aware of more niche artistic hubs. For instance, Bristol in the UK and Valencia in Spain are known for their street art; without familiarity with these locations, uncovering this may be more tricky. There are also many centres for contemporary glass art across Europe, yet each have their own unique offering. Murano glass from Venice is famed around the world, and has a particularly colourful and sinuous style. Those further away from Europe may not be aware, however, of the monumental cast glass from the Czech Republic or the innovative glass blowing in Sunderland, UK.
The eminent American glass artist Danny Lane is based in London for the collaborative opportunities that are available through the close proximity with such hubs, and the different specialised expertise of their glass artists. Collaborating with Artelier on a yacht project, Lane is creating an 8.5m engineered glass artwork for the stairwell, inspired by the fluidity of glass in its molten state and the relationship this has to the ocean. Due to our connections and familiarity with specialist glass hubs in Europe we are able to realise this pioneering project.
As a result of these unique artistic histories and contemporary art scenes, global artists and designers continue to be drawn to Europe – the fusion and dispersal of ideas this creates in European art capitals influence new trends or outlooks. To be a part of that conversation is invigorating, and whilst there are epicentres of ground breaking art all over the world, the close concentration in Europe offers a unique environment for creativity.
Contemporary Paintings inspired European Modern Art movements
3. Reflecting the Worldly lifestyle of Private Clients in Art
The common thread among our typical clientele, whether they are private clients or established brands, is that they share this lifestyle of appreciating travel, and feeling connected to diverse places. Europe’s wealth of different cultures informs the lifestyles of international travellers, shaped by city hopping and coastal rivieras. This tasting menu of culture develops their preferences for their interiors, as they seek to reflect their lifestyle in their surroundings. Having an international perspective and the experience of travelling widely, they are familiar with the height of contemporary art within many different cultures. This informs their aesthetic tastes, shaping their private collections at home, as well as their expectations when staying abroad.
In order to reflect their personal interests, private clients often look to experts to help refine their art selection. Clients of this kind appreciate depth and meaning in their artworks, and so working with an art consultant ensures that their personal collection is well informed by art historical knowledge and contextualised within the local and wider international art scene. They therefore can still enjoy the collecting process, but be assured that the collection avoids the many pitfalls and achieves a refined and personal quality.
A private client of Artelier’s has properties in Miami, London and Monaco, where they also have a 70m yacht. Across their properties, the client wanted to create an overall art collection with a distinctive aesthetic; inspired by the galleries they had visited on their travels, they wanted the contemporary art collection of their properties to evoke European Modern Art movements such as Cubism. Whilst the concept for the overall collection would be coherent across all the properties, each property’s artworks would respond to the specific context of its location – be that the area’s landscape, history or lifestyle. Offering advisory services, our consultants honed the contemporary artwork choices in line with this vision. This included talent-spotting among emerging young artists, who were clearly working within the lineage of European Modern Art, but playfully invigorating the styles for contemporary tastes.
Onboard M/Y Plvs Vltra, inspired by art movements: including a Fauvist painting, an American-Japanese fusion artwork, and a sculpture inspired by Futurism
Yachting is particularly emblematic of the kind of lifestyle international travellers want to capture in their art. Our consultants are well established in the yacht industry and have worked on over 20 superyachts, with many of these yachts based in the French Riviera and showcased at Monaco Yacht Show – known as the international hub for yachting. The experience of the French Riviera can be a source of inspiration for the art onboard the yacht. On M/Y Plvs Vltra, for instance, the Russian owner wanted to pick up on characteristic French modern art movements, such as Fauvism. Stylistically, this formed a natural connection to the Riviera’s bright colours, fresh aesthetic and fun atmosphere. To form a connection with the client’s own heritage, our curators commissioned a Russian artist based in St Petersburg who provided a more contemporary take on the Fauvist style.
This fusion of local and international is often important to private clients, and is incredibly fruitful: in combining an international aesthetic with local culture, something entirely new is created through not being limited to one approach. For a residence in Jordan, Artelier commissioned a series of artworks that were inspired by the possibilities of blending stylistic influences. The Jordanian client wanted the cultural values of traditional Islamic art to be evident, but for the pieces to feel fun and contemporary. To achieve this, the artworks re-imagined the geometric harmony of Islamic patterns, yet the overall aesthetic was inspired by Pop Art and utilised Western techniques for creating wall installations. This connected to the underlying influence of local Islamic art, whilst introducing a Western perspective.
In this way, the international lifestyles of private clients is reflected in art – custom art can blend their diverse interests and experiences, with specific local contexts such as the locations of their homes or their personal heritage.
Installation Artworks for a Private Villa in Jordan
4. European Influences in International Residential Developments
Whilst the interests of private clients have enormous variety, residential developments need to appeal to a wide market. Premium developments are often completed with a custom art collection, which should reflect the taste of an international audience.
How does this taste manifest? Rather than following a particular fashionable style, today this taste is more accurately a set of principles and qualities. Projects that are in tune with this taste demonstrate a clear focus on attention to detail, a respect for craftsmanship, and a connection to the maker. Aesthetically, whilst it cannot be categorised to one ‘look’, there is a common similarity in the most contemporary take on luxury – this contemporary aesthetic prioritises a truth to natural materials, rather than artifice, and a feel of timeless elegance that cannot be tied down to any one influence.
These principles and qualities can be seen in projects such as Chelsea Barracks in London. The approach was rooted in British heritage, which is evidenced in the emphasis on craftsmanship – traditional stonemasonry, metalwork and wood carving, for instance, are used throughout the project. The design also favours natural materials such as solid woods and marbles, whose inherent beauty is revealed through these artisan techniques. While Chelsea Barracks is in London and celebrates British design, the project is developed by Qatari Diar, and intended for a high-end international clientele. This is symptomatic of a wider interest in British and European design heritage internationally – led by both the tastes of the international traveller, and the developers responding to it.
The art collections curated for the Chelsea Barracks penthouses by Artelier reflected a similar blend of heritage and modernity, through referencing a heritage of global abstract art. For instance, some drew on the ideas of Abstract Expressionism by presenting a focus on gesture and spontaneity, formlessness, and colour field painting. Other pieces subtly reference the fragmentary planes of Cubism, or the colourful and expressive shapes of Kandinsky. The materials were in keeping with the traditional techniques used within such movements, favouring oil painting on canvas or board, but the colour palettes were adapted to the Chelsea Barracks interiors – exploring the earthy tones of natural materials. This presented a synthesis of international aesthetics, culminating in a contemporary collection that speaks to the vision of the property.
Art Commissioned for Chelsea Barracks, London
In the residential market, the impact of British design continues abroad. The One Palm project, serviced by Dorchester Hotel (London), exports these values into the foreign context of Dubai. Whilst the interior details may not be as directly inspired by British heritage, the values present in British design clearly still have relevance – there is still a focus on integrity, craftsmanship and the natural beauty of materials.
The art curated for the project brings these ideas to life, whilst adapting it to the intended market. The clients for One Palm properties are worldly, youthful individuals, who have a refined taste yet still want something fun. Working with the developer, Artelier’s curators selected artworks by up-and-coming British, French and American artists, forming a collection of wall art, sculptures and prints. Stylistically, the overall collection is in the tone of important modern artists; for example, sculptures were inspired by the likes of Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, and Alberto Giacometti, with a focus on minimal and considered forms that feel timeless. The selected artists also share an interest in raw materiality – using tactile materials such as wood and felt – which are also in line with the project’s focus on sustainability. The artists are masters of their materials, and explore texture in their artworks in a highly subtle, sophisticated manner. Yet, this craftsmanship is given a youthful twist by injecting the art with pops of vivid colour. In this way, the art appeals to the audience’s tastes through combining natural materials and a style that is reminiscent of great modern art, yet with a refreshingly playful attitude.
Projects such as these show the importance of British and contemporary European design values to an international audience, as these principles are incorporated into the most desirable residential projects to attract an international and refined clientele.
One Palm, Dubai
5. The Importance of Context & Narrative to Hotels
An international perspective is inherent to hotel projects. Even if a hotel has a strong focus on indigenous influences, it must be in line with the international standard in order to feel new and appeal to the contemporary guest. Hotel design cannot be ‘isolated’ in outlook, because contemporary travellers are themselves not ‘isolated’. These travellers have become accustomed to being immersed in different cultures and have accumulated a sophisticated and nuanced interpretation for understanding and appreciating culture, art, design and heritage. They are accustomed to the highest standards of contemporary luxury worldwide, and so meeting – and exceeding – their expectations must begin with an awareness of the latest developments in art, design, interiors, and travelling culture.
Whilst it’s essential to be on the pulse of leading hotel art and design, the current design environment also celebrates individuality. To deliver something fresh, an awareness of quality must be combined with originality. The role of the curator is therefore to promote art that has personality and a unique offering for that specific location. Picking up on the nuances of a hotel’s location through in depth research can bring that sense of place.
Detailed research, much of which can be done remotely, is essential for discovering interesting inspiration for artistic themes. For a 5* hotel project currently in development on the Belgrade Waterfront, Serbia, our curators drew inspiration from Belgrade’s location at the confluence of two might rivers. Researching local folklore about the river, the treasures uncovered from it, and the cultures of historical civilisations that inhabited the river banks, Artelier’s curators unearthed narratives about Belgrade that were wholly unique to the region. Whilst our consultants are based in the UK, we connected with Serbian artists who showed potential in producing style of work that would be required for the hotel project. This further rooted the hotel collection not only in the heritage of Serbia, but within contemporary Serbian culture.
5* Hotel Project on the Belgrade Waterfront
6. Engaging with Local Artists in Hotel Projects
Connecting with local artistic culture – both historical and contemporary – is therefore also key to bringing a local flavour to the project. When working with an art consultant, hotel brands seek firms with international experience, who can respond to the local art scene by presenting it within a global context.
For instance, in a 5* hotel project in Bahrain that Artelier delivered, the client requested an emphasis on Bahraini artists. However, due to the relatively small population size of Bahrain (about 1/5 the population of London), it was especially pertinent to discover local Bahraini artists who may not have undertaken similar commissions, but presented a high calibre of work, and the potential to rise to the challenge. This requires a commitment to scratching beneath the surface, and investing time into the artist and their raw talent. Our curators therefore contextualised local artists through an international lens, assessing how they measured against leading contemporary art globally. Artelier closely collaborated with the selected Bahraini artists and provided support in the development of the commissions, blending their ideas with our own. This formed a collection which still had a distinct Bahraini influence, but remained fresh through the dialogue between Bahraini and international art.
Wide international experience also provides a greater level of cultural sensitivity and insight, avoiding stereotypes and refraining from sweeping themes which homogenise countries and continents. This is especially important for hotel brands, which may have multiple hotels in the region – each must have an art collection which resonates with the specific location, keeping the experience exciting for guests. Appreciating the art of a country is also aided by international experience through a natural understanding of context, both across a continent and globally. This awareness better illuminates which artists are working not only at the standard required for a project, but maps which art is more culturally important and has greater influence abroad.
Celebrating the indigenous art of Ethiopia was integral part of the concept development process for a recent hotel project. This 5* Hilton hotel in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, sought to build a collection around Ethiopian talent, to consciously avoid generalising ideas around 'African' art. The Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa has a thriving community of artists, which Artelier’s consultants discovered with on the ground research. This process was closely tied up in talent spotting emerging artists who showed potential, and supporting them to develop their work in line with the requirements of a prestigious hotel commission.
Naturally, there are many highly talented artists in any locality. However, whilst some are already working to the calibre and aesthetic suited to the project, others can benefit from working with truly international consultants who have the experience of working on premium global commissions and nurturing artistic talent for an international stage. Many clients, be they private or corporate, are likewise attracted to this possibility; it is often in line with their desire to contribute to the community and local economy. The hotel in turn becomes a participant in the cultural scene and a patron of it, rather than feeling disconnected from its locality.
A Selection of Artworks curated for Sheraton, Bahrain
7. Communicating a Brand to International Audiences
For hotel brands, the approach of blending locality with an international design perspective is important, but there is a third influence to also convey – the philosophy of the hotel brand itself. International hotel brands have principles they want guests to instantly recognise, so that their brand inhabits a particular identity and is therefore memorable even if the guests travel globally. The skill of creative teams brought onboard the project is in being capable of understanding the brand’s ethos and concept, and imagine how these could be conveyed as a narrative in a way that is appealing to a sophisticated international audience.
For a current hotel project in Miyakojima, a remote tropical island in the Okinawa prefecture of Japan, Artelier is curating an art collection for a renowned luxury brand. Their hotels have a strong branding concept – each hotel is intended to feel like an estate of a well-travelled family, combining effortless luxury with authentic ‘residential’ feel interiors. Since our art consultants are accustomed to working with families of this kind when advising on private collections, it was a natural extension to understand how to evoke this feel in the hotel art. The art should reveal a personality, and individual pieces should feel unique and bold – much like a collector’s approach, which reveals a jigsaw of their life experiences.
Imagining the international traveller at the heart of the project, the vision for the art collection was to blend international luxury with a celebration of Miyakojima. As an island community, there is a distinct local culture – from unique festivals, culinary traditions and ways of life, to a renowned island crafts such as pottery and hand-dyed textiles. Extensive research revealed how subtle themes surrounding these references to local culture could be interwoven throughout hotel. Each of the hotel’s villas, for instance, was imagined as a private home, where the craft heritage of the island was incorporated into the techniques and mediums used for the artworks.
Across the collection, the art maintained a focus on natural materials and an earthy colour palette that was consistent with the design concept. This was naturally in keeping with the key focus on craftsmanship, which brought together an authentic connection to the island, as well as the artisanal attention to detail that is echoed throughout high-end international design.
Artworks curated for a 5* Hotel on Miyakojima, which relate to local traditions
Today's world is incredibly interconnected, and international exchange is often what make a project especially dynamic. Many of Artelier's projects in the residential sector, for instance, are displaying a distinct growth in international collaboration. The London residence One Hyde Park, developed by British Candy and Candy, is serviced by Hong Kong's Mandarin Oriental Group. One Palm in Dubai is developed by local Omniyat, yet has a Japanese designer, and is serviced by Dorchester. In combining brands from around the world, projects are elevated – they are embedded with the culture of internationalism. This is aligned with the international audience of such projects, and is the key to ground-breaking new developments. As art consultants, we are involved in both the public and private curation of such residences. Cross-sector expertise is likewise essential, as many of the most prestigious international projects are behind closed doors, and are never revealed to the public. By working directly with private clients who travel the world, we are deeply familiar with their tastes and intuitively know what they look for.
In the hotel sector, this globalised effect is even more pertinent – Artelier's Miyakojima project, for instance, sees a Japanese developer, a Hong Kong hotel brand, a Dutch interior design firm and British art consultants come together. This level of internationalism is an aspect even within Artelier's art consultant team, with a blend of British, Canadian, Russian and French natives. This collaboration makes the project particularly rich, as there is an intentional element of cross cultural exchange – which feeds into each step of the creative design process. Artists themselves are also part of our wider team, and they are experts in expressing cultural ideas and provide us with a local perspective. Hotels in particular have a diverse range of visitors, so it's necessary to consider cross-cultural meanings and be mindful of how certain themes could be interpreted – this cultural sensitivity is guided by the insights of international teams. An international team is therefore vital for the development of art collections.
The role of the international art consultant is to be the client's barometer on art, providing a holistic overview – being responsible for a depth of narrative, quality research, cross-cultural interpretations, whilst also daring to push boundaries. The ability to deliver this comes from a practice which has extensive and diverse multicultural experiences and a truly global range of clients. This builds a solid foundation for understanding context, art history, and the complex ways in which artists influence each other internationally, which is fundamental to curating a culturally vibrant collection.
As specialists in developing a collection from initial research to final installation allows our curators to develop nuanced narratives and themes, which give an art collection true personality. Discover more about our process and services by visiting our Art Consultancy homepage.