Integrating art into architecture is the equivalent of finding perfect harmony. The two are individually stunning, but when put together in a way that physically registers with those who inhabit the space is where the magic really happens. In a way, art in architecture is the ultimate aesthetic. Being able to mesh incredible works of art with creative design is an art within itself, and the importance of art in architecture is much bigger than most realize.
The Relationship Between Art and Architecture
These two coexist so strongly because their relationship shares similar design principles. Many will argue that architecture is just another form of art because it utilizes the same visual elements while engaging the senses. Others will argue that architecture is its own entity, as the practice of architecture is independent enough to stand on its own. The real answer lies somewhere in between both claims, as architecture has the ability to be an art piece on its own. There are plenty of buildings in the world that are renowned for their beautiful designs, so much so that artists will create art just for those specific spaces. There are also plenty of buildings in the world that are designed for showcasing art, beyond just art galleries. Many residential buildings tend to have art integrated into their designs in some form or another to bring in color, a statement, or a story. The relationship between art and architecture tethers on a fine line of respect and individuality, as one should never get fully lost in the other.
History of Art in Architecture
The combination of art and architecture dates back to ancient times. It has been relevant since the paleolithic cave paintings that were created in Lascaux, France dating back almost 20,000 years. The integration of art with the building formations that humans reside and work in is something that people have always valued. The Roman and Greek Empires made sure to commission fantastic tilework and murals all over their government buildings and churches, proving to their rivals that they were the most advanced. The introduction of the European Renaissance blossomed a new wave of neo classical art until the 1600s which flourished in France, Spain, and Italy at the time. Chapels and castles were meticulously thought out. Architecture was designed with art in mind, making sure that each part of the design matched perfectly together with the desired art to create a full experience.
Following the lead of the colonial architecture introduced in Southeast Asia by France and England in the 1900s, Asian countries began the re-introduction of Asian art into their architecture. Through careful consideration of art, nature, architecture, and seamless design, Asian cultures created some of the strongest modern combinations of art and architecture ever seen. American architecture soon after began leaning on the newest trend in construction, which was the skyscraper. This streamlined type of architecture moved away from classical ornamentation and design and began venturing into the world of modernism. The rise of this new way of architecture led to a shift in art integration. More and more buildings still centered themselves around art, just in a different way. In a sense, the buildings became less ornate, and the art became more central. The combination of glass, metal, and concrete in contrast to the striking differences in varying art installations makes these office and government buildings seem more like art galleries than a place of work. This trend of integration soon became adapted in modern residential architecture and it is commonly seen today in many of Mojo Stumer’s designs.
How to Choose Art for Architecture
Deciding on the pieces to best compliment an architectural design can be difficult, as there are unlimited options. When you look at a space for the first time, a few questions should be asked. How much space do I want to fill here? What colors do I want to see? Do I want a hanging piece of art or do I want something more free flowing, like a sculpture? Every space is different, so taking into account the amount of lighting is also imperative when designing. Many times, our clients have a pre-existing collection of art pieces that they request to be integrated into the design. From there, Mojo Stumer analyzes each art piece and the architectural design itself before individually designing spaces around the pieces. The art should always be a focal point, unless the client has other desires in mind. A great tip when it comes to integrating art into architecture is picking out the key elements, materials, and textures of the art first. By thinking of these before solidifying the architectural design, it gives the opportunity to the architects to weave in some of the same elements, materials, and textures into the office, hotel, or residence architecture. By sharing some of the same elements, the art and the architecture will have a better balance between one another.
Art in Architecture Projects from Mojo Stumer
Mojo Stumer has designed many buildings with art and architecture in mind. One of the great residences that we designed with art at the forefront of our design was our Park Avenue Gallery Apartment project in NYC. This apartment was previously designed 25 years ago by Mojo Stumer and the client came back and requested another redesign years later to stay on-trend. We took this apartment from original art deco to minimalist modern with gallery walls galore. The client appreciated contemporary art and so that was integrated throughout the entire apartment in various mediums. By taking careful consideration to the flow of the furniture, walls, and windows, Mojo Stumer was able to design a beautiful minimalist apartment in the middle of Manhattan.
A great example of art integrated seamlessly into architecture and interior design is our Park Avenue Apartment project which was for a client who was looking to display their renowned art collection. This design was carefully curated in order to highlight each piece of art individually. Working with large, collectible artwork gave our architects and interior designers the opportunity to design grand spaces within the apartment in order to complement each piece. Cast bronze, linear archways act as the portholes in each area of the apartment, framing perfectly proportionate spaces. Tray ceilings in high gloss lacquer and Bianco Dolomiti flooring accentuate and reflect the light from the massive crystal chandeliers in the entry foyer. The project stands apart from all others, as the ingenuity and precise combination of modern and traditional marks a new achievement in our philosophy of architecture and design.
Architecture is one practice that allows for the blurring of the lines between art and design. It welcomes innovation and creativity, and those are two things that propels Mojo Stumer forward in our work. By learning how to seamlessly integrate art into architecture, architects are able to create a brand new dynamic experience that engages all of the senses and fulfills every aesthetic. Check out a few other great integrations of art and design in our Miami Penthouse project and in our Tribeca Loft project!