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What’s the difference between an interior designer and an art consultant? Many clients are confused when their architect or interior designer suggests bringing an art consultant onto a project. Can’t the interior designer source artwork? Why is an art consultant required? As art consultants for commercial real estate, we often partner with interior designers to bring a client’s artistic vision to life. In this article we’ll describe the different skill sets commercial interior designers and art consultants bring to a project. As well as why clients get the best art for their project in the most cost-effective way possible when interior designers and art consultants work together. Read on to learn more.

When Would an Interior Designer Suggest Bringing an Art Consultant onto a Project?

Any time a commercial real estate development team decides to install artwork on a property, the suggestion to hire an art consultant could arise. Experienced developers, architects and interior designers know that having an art consultant on your team from the design development phase of your project ensures your interior artwork is cohesive with the design concept. Waiting any later frequently leads to added expenses and artwork that’s less integrated into the property. For example, an art consultant can advise on whether specified finishes and materials can support the artwork you want for your space. This can make a huge difference to your overall budget and drastically increase the artistic options at your disposal. Art consultants can also advise clients on the correct support structures, wiring and other architectural considerations for the most effective and impactful installation of artwork.

Commercial Interior Designers – What They Do and What They Don’t

Interior designers design and oversee construction of interior spaces. In their designs, they specify interior materials and furnishings and arrange the use of interior spaces. They also oversee the construction of those spaces. They don’t just know how to make an interior feel cohesive and aesthetically pleasing. They’re trained and certified in the safety and utility of the materials used. They also have a deep understanding of how human beings respond to different interior environments. They must weigh all of these factors in their designs to create spaces that work for the people who will use them. In the commercial sector, those spaces could be any sort of business from a bank to a hotel to a traditional office or a retail store. Even the inside of a hospital, school, or courthouse would fall under the category of commercial interior design. Given the breadth of topics under their purview, it’s not surprising that most interior designers don’t keep a vast artist database. Art is just one small component of the myriad of details they must oversee. When it comes to finding the perfect art for a project, interior designers often rely on someone who specializes in this one area: an art consultant.

What's the Difference Between an Interior Designer and an Art Consultant?

While interior designers are trained in a wide variety of interior topics, art consultants specialize in one area: art. They have a vast database of artists and a detailed understanding of the art market so they can advise clients on the art that best meets the budget, timeline, and aesthetic goals of the project. They’re highly skilled at guiding clients through the art selection process. Even when there’s a whole art selection committee to satisfy. Commercial art consultants are also experienced at working with commercial real estate development teams and the myriad of consultants and contractors involved in construction projects. They ensure the art fulfills the designer’s vision and the client’s criteria while maintaining code compliance. They excel at project management. Which is crucial because commercial clients often commission packages which could contain hundreds of artworks with pieces by multiple artists. Managing all the details is a massive undertaking. During the art fabrication process, art consultants oversee all the moving parts involved in procuring art, managing custom framing, and bringing commissioned art to life, exactly as ordered, on time and within budget.

What's the difference between an interior designer and an art consultant?

Image: Gensler relied on us to find the perfect art to complete the offices of Thompson Coe.

Why it’s More Cost Effective for an Interior Designer to Partner with an Art Consultant

The job of an interior designer is to plan and direct the construction of a functional and inviting interior. When art comes into the mix, interior designers want to find the most unique pieces, but they don’t have the time or database. Remember, art is just one small part of the project they’re managing. Interior designers oversee a large variety of contractors who construct their designs. This is why they often prefer to bring an art consultant on board to dive deep into managing the art procurement process while they continue to oversee the project as a whole. When interior designers can delegate the art procurement process to an art consultant and move on with the rest of their duties, it’s a far more productive use of their time and everyone wins. Especially the client who gets the best art for their space in the most cost-effective way possible.

“Our Branded Environments group is not as tuned-in as Art + Artisans would be on discovering artists for our clients, and their curating helps tremendously,” says Corgan Branded Environments Project Manager Associate David Rose. “I saw firsthand how Art + Artisans works, how they communicate with the client, gather the artists and their resumes, etc. It’s fantastic.”

Art + Artisans excels at not only staying within budget but making the most of that budget. Our attention to detail means not only fulfilling our client’s big-ticket items, but also finding ways to bring in unique, cost-effective pieces in key locations throughout the project.

Our Work with Interior Designers

Gallery: Art + Artisans is an art consultancy that frequently partners with interior designers to procure art for commercial clients. Below are some samples of our collaborations. Click on each image to see the client and interior design firm for the project.

Resources to Learn More about the Difference Between an Interior Designer and an Art Consultant

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