Aged just 22, Olyvia Kwok became well known in the art industry when she brought a Chinese scroll painting at an auction for $33,000 and later sold it at a Bangkok auction house for $220,000. Kwok knew the painting was valuable and worth far more than it was advertised for. She was confident she would make a profit, and her risk paid off, with her securing a huge return on her investment. That same year, Kwok opened her own successful art gallery in London specializing in emerging markets and later went on to build an art fund for a large private bank in Switzerland. Today, Kwok has over 15 years of experience in collecting and selling art. She set up her firm, Willstone Management, in 2011, where she now offers bespoke art investment services.
According to Kwok, the art industry is changing, with fine art being far more accessible in recent years. She comments, “Many interior designers use art to make spaces appear more cultured and luxurious, while some people simply use art to fill a white space. Art has now become a fundamental aspect of any stylish decor.” You no longer have to visit an art gallery to see stunning pieces of fine art. Beautiful pieces that were once reserved for the homes of wealthy art collectors or galleries can now be found in a huge variety of different venues all across the world. Many luxury hotels and retail spaces are now using fine art in their interior designs to create a sense of style, elegance, and sophistication. With this in mind, here are some key ways that fine art is influencing luxury hotels and retail spaces.
Luxury retail spaces around the globe are now incorporating fine art into their interior design. For instance, K11’s Art Mall in Hong Kong showcases the world’s first museum-retail concept. The stunning seven-storey shopping complex was unveiled ten years ago and created by famed art collector and entrepreneur Adiran Cheng. This fine art space showcases work by Hong Kong’s emerging artists, alongside famous art pieces by established artists including Damien Hirst. Retail spaces all around the world are now using fine art to attract customers, create a more luxurious feel, and enhance the overall shopping experience.
Art is increasingly being used in hotels as a way of redefining luxury and standing out from the competition. Kwok notes, “Instead of simply leaving walls blank with spaces for artworks to be added later, forward-thinking hotels are incorporating art into the very fabric of the building with specially commissioned pieces integrated into the design of the building.” It is becoming increasingly common for hotels to invest in fine art in order to create a unique, standout decor and enhance their luxury credentials. You can now find highly valuable art pieces in some of the world’s top luxury hotels. For instance, La Colombe d’Or in France boasts a Picasso and Gramercy Park Hotel in New York is home to a Warhol and Hirst. Kwok adds, “Hotels are starting to be a bit braver in their artistic choices, with a move away from mass-produced abstract art, to more exciting, risk-taking works by both up-and-coming and established artists.” The Emperor Qianmen hotel in Beijing is a fantastic example, where the collaboration between the luxury hotel and local art community is particularly apparent.
Fine art is more accessible than ever, and many businesses are now strategically weaving art into their interior design in order to create a more luxurious, sophisticated, and high-end style. Hotels and retail spaces all around the world are recognizing the benefits of fine art and using it to improve their credentials, entice customers and set themselves apart from the competition in the fiercely competitive business world.
By Olyvia Kwok. Olivia is the founder of successful London art firm, Willstone Management and has over 15 years of professional experience collecting and selling art worldwide.