Interior design Yearbook | January 2017

Article title:
Trend: Art in Interiors

Simone Suss studied interior design at Inchbald and following graduation, set up Studio Suss Ltd. With a talent for spatial planning and expert knowledge in art sourcing, Simone transforms and realises creative ideas into design spaces. Studio Suss specialises in telling clients’ stories through a very personal interior space, whether this is an important art collection, a fashion brand or a particular passion. Simone is a member of the BIID, BFC Fashion Trust and is a Patron of the Royal Academy of the Arts. These links to the fashion and art worlds influence her designs so that spaces are contemporary, interesting and timeless. Recent projects include a collaboration with Sophia Webster on the interior of her London retail store, a new build in Hampstead, developments in Knightsbridge and Soho. With a love of both established and emerging British brands, Simnone uses; Robin Day, Auxilium Salvage, Lyngard, &New, Anglepoise, Biggs & Quail, Nocturne, Stuart Scott, Crucial Trading, Penelope Hope, Copper & Silk, Lee Kirkbride, and Juliet Travers, amonst many others to achieve beautiful designs for her clients. Here, Simone connects the world of art with home interiors.

The most popular request from clients we receive is to assist them with buying art for their home that they will love, and will also complement their interior scheme.

Clients require assurances that the works they buy are strong from a curatorial perspective. While they should only buy pieces that they love they want to know that they are making informed and wise buying decisions.

Sometimes we are required to work a favourite piece of art into the scheme. Whether it’s the theme, texture or colour of the art it’s great to work subtle nuances into the interior schemes to enhance the space.

We have had a long history of working with collectors in creating interiors that complement their collection or commissions. Socially, one of the biggest changes is the accessibility of the art market, given the prolific nature of art fairs such as Freize in London and The Armory Show in New York as well as the more contemporary programming at major institutions and dedicated contemporary spaces and galleries. This trend has led to a new breed of collectors and art buyers embracing the desire to own and display art in their home and commercial spaces. When designing or building a new space, we work with either existing collections or an opportunity to buy new works or have works commissioned.

When selecting art for spaces it really depends on the functional priorities of the space of the room, how it is lit (both naturally and at night) and also the budget for the art.

For example, a family friendly kitchen has a different aesthetic and functional requirement to a dining room and therefore the art selections are different. Considerations are always lead by the client and the room that we are designing. If a piece makes a client feel energised and excited then it’s more appropriate for a lounge than a relaxing bedroom space. Retail is a really exciting area for interiors at the moment, in part down to a need to make consumers ‘experience’ a brand rather than simply buying online.

We recently collaborated with Sophia Webster on her Mount Street store and incorporated her brand in many different ways. Hooks were heels from her shoes, the plasterwork and cornicing was based on her flamingo motifs and her signature colour palette was worked into the furniture etc. As people spend more time shopping online, retail environments need to work harder to entice clients into the stores and creating branded environments is key to this. There are also so many ways of personalising finishes with colours and branding that it’s often the retailers leading the way with this.

Retailers are seeing the power of art to entice consumers into their stores and invigorate interest in their brand. For example, when Eddie Peake did an installation at the Victoria Beckham store last year he added a vibrant blue word sculpture to a neutral interior, completely changing the feel of the space. This was a brave choice by Victoria.

We take inspiration from a wide variety of sources. In addition to attending many trade shows including Maison & Objet,100% Design, Decorex, PAD etc, we also attend art fairs, gallery openings and fashion shows. As a patron of The Royal Academy of Arts and Member of the British Fashion Council Fashion Trust, we have access to the latest exhibitions and trends. This breadth of influential design across art and fashion continues to inspire our designs and we are constantly innovating in the use of materials and colours that galvanize our schemes. That said, we keep our designs as enduring as possible so that they are contemporary and relevant but also timeless.

When educating clients they are as involved as they want to be. Sometimes we’ll discuss innovations and it’s a more collaborative approach. Other clients just want the benefit of our expertise and give us a freer reign in the design process. We also love Instagram as it showcases some of the best in design and is a great tool for immediate inventiveness.

At the beginning of a design journey we really like to understand which artworks a client has in their collection, which ones they would like to display, and works that they are looking to purchase or commission. Understanding where a client wishes a piece of art to live will often dictate the lighting scheme used and can influence the palette for certain areas. Working with clients is very personal and we really endeavour to understand each individual client’s taste.

Too often in interior design a home is finished and the art is added as an afterthought. We advise our clients to think about their home and their art throughout the entire design process. This enables a more holistic approach so that the entire scheme including the furniture, colour palette, lighting and art are brought together with stunning visual impact. We often prepare drawings and elevations for schemes that include the art so that our clients get to see the space in its entirety during the decision making process.

The great thing about art is that it is constantly evolving. Most recently at Frieze there were stunning pieces by Edmund De Waal (Breathturn) and Hans Op De Beeck (Silent Library) that were sculptures devoid of any colour at all and really striking by their simplicity and beauty. Technology is allowing artists to experiment with new media and boundaries are constantly being pushed with the use of colour, materials and media. At the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition Kutlug Atamans’s spectacular Portrait of Sakip Sabanci is made up of 10,000 LCD screens.

Just like the world of interiors, the art world is innovating and changing at a great pace. I am constantly amazed by the new works at any given show and so excited to see what 2017 brings. Art is also reflective of the environment so it will be interesting to see how the new political era of Brexit and Trump affect art in 2017.

Full Article
Interior Design Yearbook 2017 cover

Recent Projects

Views of the city from the interior of a luxury pied-à-terre, Southbank House, London. Stylish lighting illuminates the luxury interior overlooking St Pauls Cathedral at dusk.

Residential | South Bank

South Bank Tower SE1

View Project
Double bed, neon sign and fluffy stool in the quirky interior design created for Holiday House, London

Exhibitions | Hamilton Terrace NW8

Holiday House NW8

View Project
Beautifully lit bath in a beautifully designed interior

Residential | St Johns Wood

St Johns Wood NW8

View Project

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