It’s no secret, we love this show. As we said in this issue’s Take Note column, AD20/21 Art & Design of the 20th & 21st Century it is a modern achievement.
So we were delighted to moderate a panel of experts at incorporating Modern and contemporary art into homes large and small. Our A-list of areas designers included Kate McCusker of Theodore & Co., the Beacon Hill design firm featured in our show house section of the March/April magazine.
McCusker designs, and lives, by the premise that a house is not a home without art. She demonstrated that a room is not truly brought to life until the art, which can take the form of furniture as well as paintings and sculpture, is in its proper place.
Andra Birkirts of Andra Birkirts Design in Wellesley, Massachusetts, herself an artist, brings a trained eye to the selection of art and its placement. The most important rule to follow, says Birkirts, is that the art work for the space, for the client, and for the art. She showed the audience, mostly comprised of fellow interior designers, some unconventional uses of art that meet her criteria.
Dennis Duffy of Duffy Design Group in Boston has a lot of experience commissioning artists to create pieces for specific spaces. Most artists, he says, like to do commission work, which is very satisfying for them and for the client.
Duffy notes that thinking about the art first in new construction and renovations also allows the designer to plan the proper lighting, which can enhance the art and put it in its best, well, light.
Duffy has been in Boston for 16 years. During that time, he has moved — a lot. But he has not divested himself of the art he loves because he lacks space or the right place to hang it. “I’ve stored art,” he says. Some people do the same until they find a place for it in their present or future home. Others, especially folks who are downsizing, give it to family or friends so they can visit it from time to time. Others loan it to family or friends until they can accommodate it. But most people hang on to it. “It is so personal,” says Duffy, “you can’t just get rid of it.”
There are so many beautiful things to see and appreciate at this year’s show, we’ll just say that if you love art and contemporary furniture, you can’t miss. We did find two new vendors we would like to call out, however.
MEN IN BROOCHES
Fabulous, and we do mean fabulous hand-crafted jewelry from around the world is the stock and trade of Charon Kransen Arts: contemporary innovative jewelry books and catalogs. The New York City gallery was the talk of the show. And no wonder. These pieces are aggressive — no-string-of-pearls girls need apply. Which brings us to our new campaign, real jewelry for men. Forget those buttoned-down watches and rings. Ditch the boutonniere and go for the brooch that makes a statement. Charon Kransen himself and Adam Brown aren’t waiting for the fashion world to catch on. They are working the booth sporting big bright breastpins.
We are all about local craftsmen, especially those who use local materials. Add to that the simple lines of Jonah Zuckerman's pieces and we are sold. Zuckerman operates City Joinery in Easthampton, Massachusetts, where he builds contemporary furniture using traditional techniques.
The Stiletto Dining Table from City Joinery is 90-inches long, but can be custom made to any size. It has soft corners and bevels in the edge of the solid table-top that reflects the structure and geometry of the legs, which are formed from laser cut steel. It starts at $5,700.
An insider's look at must-have products, fresh trends, and inspired spaces from the team at Design New England magazine.
Gail Ravgiala is editor of Design New England and a fan of both the region's historic architecture and its growing inventory of modern houses and public buildings.
Courtney Kasianowicz is associate editor of Design New England who scouts the area for new design, charming products, and local artisans both innovative and daring.
Jill Connors, Design New England's editor-at-large, is an antiques maven and design scout and will post about trends and discoveries in the field.
Bruce Irving, Design New England's contributing editor for architecture & building, is a renovation specialist who will share his insights on design and construction.
Estelle Bond Guralnick, Design New England's style & interiors editor, will post about interior design and interior designers and her favorite finds.