Meet the creatives creating commercial artworks for Artelier's Artist Walls

Published: 11 July 2020 - 5 a.m.
By: Jane O'Neill

Artelier's Artist Walls reinvents the concept of the feature wall – Artist Walls are large-scale artworks that are not only striking wall finishes, but customised collectors' pieces made by leading artists. It evolved from Artelier's experience as art consultants for exclusive private residential and superyacht projects. Such clients seek wall finishes that go beyond the familiar idea of the feature wall, and push the possibilities of bespoke elements in interiors.

Artelier saw an opportunity for original art to be developed as site specific feature walls in both private and commercial projects, reinvigorating a common feature of interior design. Created specially for a project, each contemporary mural artwork is tailored to the aesthetic and practical needs of its context. Commonly, feature walls are developed with wall finishing companies, who are well-established in the industry and are accustomed to the typical challenges of such projects.

Collaborating with artists instead brings their originality and novel ideas to a project, creating a feature that has not been seen before Bespoke feature wall art is also fully customisable, unlike commercially produced wall finishes – clients therefore receive the effect they envision, while benefitting from specialist consultation to elevate the initial concepts. With Artist Walls, Artelier has made contemporary mural art more accessible to commercial and hotel clients and brings together 23 international artists who specialise in different artforms and are capable of working at a large-scale. The commission process is straightforward for the client, providing full project management: They oversee the development of the concept in close collaboration with client and artist, ensuring all timescales and the highest standards of quality are met, and organise shipping, logistics and installation.

Artelier will also help adapt artworks so they are suitable for any space. It means they can be scaled up to fill an entire lobby wall, adapted to the humid environment of a hotel spa, or act as a headboard artwork in a presidential suite.

Tobias Tovera

Creating an impact in the lobby
On expansive walls, the large-scale dramatic paintings of Tobias Tovera create an immersive experience for the viewer, encouraging contemplation within a lobby environment. Tovera is inspired by ideas of alchemy and the possibility of transforming organic materials, creating his paintings by mixing a concoction of earth-based pigments and mineral salts. The chemical reactions that result, often activated by the artist's introduction of fire, produce an array of dispersing colours and graduations of textures. The colour palette can also be customised so as to best enhance an interior design scheme, creating an aweinspiring first impression.

The production process for Tovera's artworks also allows them to be scaled to any size wall, and installed as one seamless piece. The mesmerising experience of contemplating his artworks together with the limitless possibilities for scale make Tovera's art especially well-suited for a lobby. The paintings of Michelle Gagliano engage with nature through subject matter and sustainable mediums and are an evocative response to landscapes, expressing the transience of nature and the ethereal expanses of sea, land or sky. Their powerful, almost impressionistic effect is best appreciated at a larger scale, acting as a stunning focal point.

Michelle Gagliano

Gagliano's refined use of gold makes her paintings especially eye-catching. They're
also inherently focused on sustainability through her use of materials. She creates her own paint by grinding raw earth pigments, blending extracted nut oils, and infusing essential lavender solvents, resulting in non-toxic paints that produce minimal waste. The low-impact material are ideal for an environmentally conscious project.

Murals in reception areas
Reception areas and communal spaces, such as restaurants and bars, need wall artworks that are resistant to wear and tear, and maintain a luxury finish for an extended period of time. Artelier works with plaster artists who use innovative techniques to create modern murals that are refined and elegant, as well as being robust.

The use of cutting-edge, patented plaster methods allow the studio to create hand-sculpted artworks that are crack resistant and durable. Crafted within the studio thay are rolled up and shipped worldwide and are uniquely made for each space, so fit corner-to-corner. It means they're suitable for a range of contexts – any wall shape can be accommodated, and, despite being a site-specific artwork, installation is as swift as applying wallpaper. The plaster also allows artworks to be washed.

A lobby feature by Michelle Gagliano

An air of calm for spas
Art has the potential to create a sense of tranquillity and contemplation within spas, and transport visitors far away from everyday life. The wet and humid conditions of a spa, however, require art to be specially adapted. Ceramic art is also especially suitable for feature walls in a spa, as it is resistant to exposure to water, and has an inherent affinity with nature through the use of clay.

The ceramic art of Peter Hayes speaks to his journey as an artist, which has been shaped by the ceramic practices of diverse cultures. In keeping with the Japanese Raku ceramics tradition, Hayes works with natural clay and the flames of the kiln to create contemporary pieces that have been inspired by ancient craftsmanship. His art presents an intuitive response to the natural elements, as earth itself is transformed to create wall art. This gives his work a deep connection with a return to nature, and brings a sense of earthiness to the spa surroundings.

Hayes is able to produce a series of monumental ceramic panels that join together to make a continuous artwork, and so can be adapted to the necessary wall dimensions. The paintings of Adam Arbeid are captivating and meditative; the artist uses crushed marbles, mineral ores and pigments to create otherworldly impressions that explore macro and micro images.

Emerging from Arbeid's frescoes are resemblances of atolls in the ocean and craters in the Earth's crust, as well as distant cosmos and cellular structures. Artelier has worked with Arbeid to create feature walls for spas, adapting the subject matter so that it speaks to the water of the spa, as well as integrating the artwork into its surroundings.

Giving a hammam-style hotel spa space a contemporary edge, Artelier and Adam Arbeid developed the concept for a feature wall above a plunge pool – the composition references the water below and the rising hot air, merging the surrounding natural elements.

Work by Simon Allen

The artist was inspired by the ocean depths and how light is refracted underwater, and so recreated this ethereal experience through subtle gradations in deep blue hues, bringing the stillness of the deep ocean to the spa.

To further integrate the artwork into the surroundings, Artelier developed technical solutions to adapt the painting so that water could stream through it, and coated the painting in a water-resistant lacquer. The streaming waterfall also causes the painting behind to shimmer, incorporating the spa's water into the artwork and creating a sense of constant movement.

Sculptor Simon Allen, who creates carved panels that are finished with gold leaf, is also inspired by the movements of water – the undulations, peaks and troughs of his carvings are a reflection of how Allen sees dramatic ocean scenery.

For a spa project, Artelier and Allen developed an abstract interpretation of rippled water that was in keeping with the modern design of the spa, yet created a statement in an otherwise minimalist space.

A sense of movement in the sculpture is enhanced by the gilded finish, which causes the artwork to glisten; this effect is amplified by specialist integrated lighting around the artwork. By placing the feature wall art directly above the pool, the sculpture is reflected in the water itself, creating an impactful 'double' artwork. Due to the custom sculpture's proximity to the water, specialist protective lacquer was developed for coating the artwork, ensuring its resistance to splashing.

Janine Lambers

Luxury for presidential suites
Artelier's experience in the luxury residential sector has given them particular insight into what it takes to create remarkable private spaces, which the most sophisticated hotel guest has come to expect. Atist Janine Lambers works with hand applied gold leaf and watercolour to create dazzling feature walls. Nature in its infinite beauty and ever-changing cycles are a constant inspiration for Lambers; the enduring calmness of nature makes its imagery especially appropriate for relaxing private spaces.

Sculptor Simon Allen

The subtle qualities and lustre of gold leaf is the artist's chosen medium to reveal her subject in its full luminescence. Lambers has a deep understanding and reverence for the gilding craft, refining ancient techniques of gilding with gold, silver and platinum leaf. She works intuitively with this refined palette of subtle hues and shades to skilfully form an image from individual fragments of differently coloured gold leaf, revealing her true mastery of the medium.

Artelier has collaborated with Lambers to make her art especially suitable for wall features in interior spaces. Together, they have adapted the materials and methods in order to ensure the artwork's longevity, and developed compositions that make use of the expansive scale of feature walls.

A creative & collaborative journey
In the creation of an Artist Wall, Artelier engages with the unique context of each project to develop an artwork that resonates with the client's vision, whilst evolving a deep connection to its surroundings. It's a collaborative journey, one that is instinctive and imaginative as the artist explores subtly layered narratives that reveal themselves through the artwork.

Each new project brings its own set of challenges and opportunities. Integral to the ethos of Artist Walls is a pioneering spirit to break new ground, nurturing the client's vision and ambitions in the creation of an artwork that can be considered a true masterpiece.

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