Art is something that feeds our souls-whether we create it, admire it, or remember it. Art is therefore also a very personal thing. For some people it is an obligatory decorating item and they will happily leave it to us as designers to find something of the right size and within their budget to fill the identified space. For others it is an extremely important aspect in the design and they would often have us start the whole process based on a single piece of art, or change direction completely to accommodate a piece they found and fell in love with.
This brings me to the theme of this post: Objects of art (from French objet de’ art). More specifically, objects of art as wall décor. Personally, I am big fan of this concept. It adds interest to the design, often tells a story, and can literally be anything the client or designer regards as art. It can be something classic, outrageous, or something in vogue. It all depends on what works in the space and what speaks to the people who live there.
There is no formal classification for objects of art, but for the sake of easy reading, I want to label it as follows:
Everyday objects that have been given a new purpose: to feast the eyes.
See, for example, the photo below. These are actually antique chocolate molds, now box framed with a white background to give it more presence. These are currently adorning my office, and believe me, it has a story behind it!
In this bedroom below we used a series of levels in different lengths above the bed. The matte black wall is a nice backdrop to the antique wood colours in the levels. And we didn’t need a level to hang them ☺.
The same idea can be seen in this bedroom by Moorehouse Designs. They incorporated antique print blocks to add interest and texture. Guests must find it particularly interesting and wonder about the story behind it.
Textiles as objects of art
Below is a textile wall hanging from Obakki. They are a purpose-led lifestyle brand with artisan partners all over the world. Their oversized hand woven wall art from Querétaro, Mexico is absolutely stunning!
Still on textiles, a client of mine had this beautiful piece of cloth in her family forever. It belonged to her husbands’ great grandmother and was used to cover the piano. This beautiful “shawl”, as they refer to it, has now been given art status in their new dining room. It adds colour and texture to the otherwise neutral space.
Speaking of textiles, hats are another great art option, especially if you also want to infuse some character into a room or create a certain feel. In this photo, a series of hats in both felt and sennit straw makes for an interesting wall display. The boater hat, circa 1930’s, even has a wonderful flat brim for easy hanging. The second photo shows an installation of summer straw hats and it immediately gives you a relaxing vacation feel.
Of course I have to go back to my roots and also include African pieces in this mix. You can make such a statement with a large grouping of traditional baskets, like in the photo below. Or you can keep it simpler and opt for one oversized piece, like in the next photo. Either way, it adds instant drama and is such a great alternative to typical framed art.
Sports equipment as art
Sports equipment (either antique or otherwise) is another ideal object to use as art. Think of a series of old golf clubs hung in a row, boat ores, snowshoes, and my personal favourite: rackets. In this cottage powder room it was just the right wall accent to add some interest and texture in an otherwise all black and white space. The next photo shows a really neat way to hang a whole collage of rackets, if you need to cover a bigger wall area.
Or you can be practical and artsy at the same time if space is at a premium. In this apartment below the means of travel is also the art! Voila!
Regardless of your style and taste, there is probably an object out there that you can successfully incorporate as art in your space as a great alternative to paintings, prints and photos. Try many things out and experiment with different potential pieces so that the next time somebody asks about your interesting “art”, you have a story for them.