What’s the hottest trend in the luxury property market? Dressing up your house with tempting artwork. Wealthy property owners have always furnished their rooms with artwork but now spectacular pieces, often commissioned specifically for a house or a development, are becoming a key tool to create an inviting atmosphere that will appeal to buyers.
“Art can give a property a whole new identity and create a traditional feel with certain pieces, or a really contemporary atmosphere with others,” explains Lochie Rankin of bespoke property search agents Lichfields. This is particularly true in new builds, where developers use neutral tones throughout the furniture and soft furnishings and the artwork is what adds the colour and the character.”
Simon Hedley, Director at Druce estate agents goes so far as saying that “it is no use marketing a property which has beautiful furniture but completely bare walls. Dressing is incredibly important – we find that on average, property which is fully-dressed sells four times as quickly as that which is empty. This is all part of showing the buyer an aspirational lifestyle and how their own art collections will look on the walls.”
Prospective buyers are often given an opportunity to keep the artwork on display, if they like it. “A property on the market in London’s Ebury Street at the moment has some fantastic pieces in it and on viewing, the buyer is given a list of which works are available to buy through separate negotiation,” reveals Lochie. “As a developer, if you are providing a turnkey property, this has to also include artworks so that the buyer really is receiving a finished product.”
Likewise, at a gorgeous three-bedroom flat conversion in London’s Cadogan Gardens (above), the art installation is available for sale by separate negotiation. Created following advice by White Cube Gallery and Moorhouse Art, the collection includes pieces by Gary Hume, Robert Scott, Arlene Isbister and Olivia Musgrave. Metallic accents are the common thread linking the works, which are the perfect complement to the polished French Oak floors, the stylish furniture by Poliform and the exquisite Porta Romana lighting.
Works of art don’t just grace individual homes, though – in many of London’s most luxurious developments, they also decorate the lobby and shared spaces. For example, says Simon, “at the Fitzrovia Apartments (above), the communal areas are lined with full-height woodland images shot on a pane camera by artist and photographer Peter Lavery. They give the building a sense of luxury and oasis-like atmosphere, away from the hustle and bustle of the streets of W1.” And it’s not just flatwork that’s popular. Sculptures are increasingly making an appearance too – again, the common areas at the Fitzrovia apartments are decorated with contemporary sculptures.
And now one developer has even taken the concept of communal artwork one step further – at the new Paynes & Borthwick complex in West Greenwich (above), United House Developments are creating an art gallery space alongside the 213 apartments. They have even launched a virtual gallery online to mirror what will take shape at the development.