Imagery courtesy of Winch Design
The Art of Collecting
From bespoke artwork and sculptures to curating collector’s pieces, art on board is big business. And not just financially. The collections are a work of art in themselves, carefully selected and commissioned to create a personalised portfolio that perfectly aligns with the Owner’s taste, investment and yacht’s interior. Art specialist David Knowles of Artelier paints the picture on what it takes to bring the ultimate collection together.
David Knowles is the Founder and Lead Consultant at Artelier – an art consultancy specialising in private residential, superyachts and aviation projects. They have worked on over 20 yachts from 50 – 160 metres including a number of Amels projects such as PLVS VLTRA and NENINKA. They provide specialist art sourcing and commissioning services for superyacht Owners, their representatives and designers.
“A yacht is in many ways a blank canvas. It is a unique opportunity to commission a truly spectacular collection that captures the essence of the yacht and the escapism of being at sea. Art can enhance the connection to the ocean and provide a space for deeper contemplation and inspiration.”
David Knowles Founder and Lead Consultant at Artelier
With a newbuild, the superyacht maybe something of a blank canvas when it comes to the artwork but the process of selecting the right pieces is complex with many factors to consider. Where do you start?
“By looking at the bigger picture – the project specifics, the Owner’s taste, the designer’s interior scheme and other important factors. The next stage is to review the spaces and identify the key locations for art, for example, large staircases, feature walls, TV rollers or spots for large and small sculpture. From here, the process moves to either sourcing existing collector’s pieces or more usually, curating bespoke artwork options from leading contemporary artists for the client to choose from. Once a selection has been made, the pieces are then commissioned and overseen through to safe delivery.’’
“Every piece and every collection are bespoke. Often, a client will provide a reference image of an existing artwork they like. It is then our job to work with the artist on behalf of the Owner to create a new piece for the yacht – a great opportunity for the client to ‘customise’ the piece to their exact taste. We then work with the artist to develop sketches and designs, even renderings of the proposed artwork in situ and physical samples which can be approved along the way.”
When it comes to bespoke works of art for superyachts, the devil really is in the detail. From design development to samples for sign-off, every single piece within a collection is giving exacting artistic attention to ensure it meets an Owner’s specific requirements.
Whilst art collections maybe a very personal thing, collaboration between art consultants and the interior designer remains key to ensuring the interior comes together as a piece of art in itself. However, some clients prefer to retain creative direction over the process.
“Some Owners and their team prefer to have a more direct line of contact with art consultants and artists. For many clients, this translates to a feeling of greater control over the direction and offers them a good level of comfort that the art is being handled by a specialist firm. Others, however, prefer the interior designer to lead the communications, taking a bigger view on the complete interior styling. This varies from project to project but there is always a level of collaboration between all parties involved and especially with the interior designer and art specialists as it is important for the artworks to complement the interior scheme.”
The team at Winch Design have been the creative hand and heart behind the custom interiors of many Amels superyachts including NENINKA and PLVS VLTRA, for which they teamed up with Artelier to curate and integrate feature pieces. A specialised collaboration aimed at delivering the ultimate custom interiors perfectly tuned to the Owner’s taste.
Jim Dixon Director Yachts & Aviation at Winch Design
“Winch Design and Artelier have a very close relationship and work together to source and integrate the perfect feature pieces, artwork and sculptures into the studio’s yacht projects. Acting as an art consultant and mediator between artists and our studio, Artelier will source a selection of suitable artists and artwork for the spaces based on the designs, mood boards and colour schemes we have created. These works-of-art are the personal touches that elevate the interiors to the next level, not only complimenting the room beautifully, but also meeting the clients’ exacting standards.”
Finding the perfect balance between creativity, expectation, dreams and the practicalities of a yacht is perhaps the greatest challenge when it comes to art on board. Just how far can artistic ambitions go?
“There are, of course, some limitations on a yacht, but that does not hold back the impact that an artwork can have. In fact, this can often be amplified within the special context of a yacht.
For example, a recent commission is that of 4x 8.5-metres high stacked glass sculptures running the full height of three decks. This will form the central staircase feature, as well as integrating with the lift and with specially designed lighting. This will be a truly immersive installation and, as far as I am aware, the most ambitious artwork ever installed on a yacht. Of course, some projects are more about subtlety, understated luxury and quietly sophisticated choice pieces.”
The very nature of a superyacht environment also requires a number of careful considerations such as changing climates, sea fastening and even change of Ownership. How does this affect the collection as a whole and what elements need to be considered?
“In general, all areas are open to art – saunas, spas, TV rollers, beach clubs, and open decks so there are no real limitations, you just have to consider the environment from the outset. Sculptures tend to require sea-fastening which can easily be integrated. Certain materials need to be protected from the humid sea air. The tolerance of measurements needs to be fine-tuned, something that some artists are not aware of And yes, yachts get sold. Some Owners love their art so much that they take it to their new yacht. Other Owners treat the art as part of the design scheme and leave it on board as, more often than not, the art is a real asset in making the yacht unique and appealing to buyers or charterers. The biggest challenge is probably insurance as very high value collector’s pieces may not be covered on a yacht. Equally, there are tax implications and laws relating to moving valuable artworks between countries and there are specialists that can help advise on these matters.’’
There’s no doubt that creating an art collection on board that meets personal requirements, is sustainable at sea and adds value to your yacht – both financially and enjoyment wise – is a real art in itself. So just how can you best approach the art of collecting?
“Yachts are often dream projects and art can be an exciting way to explore one’s dreams. Embrace the process, enjoy the process but do get good advice and guidance!”
Find out more about the art collections on board some of our Amels Yachts:
Top tips / Good to Know
· Sculptures tend to require sea-fastening – this can be easily integrated · Certain materials need to be protected from the humid sea air – not every artist is aware of the tolerance levels · The biggest challenge is probably insurance – very high value collector’s pieces may not be covered on a yacht · There are tax implications and laws relating to moving valuable artworks between countries · Some Owners love their art so much that they take it to their new yacht. Others treat it as a sales asset