Luxe Developers Install Grand Art

NEW YORK CITY -- Luxury developments are now designed by the world’s most celebrated architects, and these cutting-edge contemporary spaces lend themselves particularly well to artistic display, as is demonstrated by Francis Greenburger’s latest project, 50 West (properties from $1.83m to $18.63m).

Art collectors of Art Kabinett social media network will enjoy living in this property.

The lobby is an art gallery, with the work on display visible from inside and outside the building. It’s even become an ‘alternative’ arts venue, and what is shown there is reviewed by the art press.

Argentine developer Eduardo Costantini started acquiring works of art 40 years ago. A collector on a significant scale, in 2001 set up MALBA, the Museum of Latin American Art in Buenos Aires, with over 200 major pieces from his own collection.

In Miami, he’s extended this passion for the benefit of those buying into his latest development, Oceana Bal Harbour (properties from $3m to $30m).

Here, purchasers will benefit from joint ownership of two recent works by Jeff Koons, who in 2013 broke the record for a living artist at auction when a single piece of his sculpture went under the hammer for $58.4m.

One work, Pluto and Proserpina, pictured here, will form the centerpiece of his glimmering glass structure, working in harmony with the other, a multicolored Ballerina “to create a dialogue emphasising the vertical axis of the building”.

Miami-based developer David Martin, president of Terra Group, has integrated significant work by Tracey Emin and Brazilian-born sculptor Saint Clair Cemin into his two latest projects, Glass (properties from $7m to $35m) and Grove at Grand Bay (properties from $2.8m to $21.5m).

UK Projects

In the UK, the inclusion of art in large-scale developments is now frequently a planning stipulation. Developers are required to put something back into the community, ensuring everyone can connect to a new building, Often, the expectation is two or three per cent of the value of the construction.

Grosvenor, the private property company belonging to the Duke of Westminster, owns substantial tranches of Mayfair and Belgravia and has always shouldered this responsibility willingly.

Recent compelling additions to its prime London landscape include a monumental steel man by Turner Prize-winning sculptor Antony Gormley (now dominating the southern wing of The Beaumont hotel, on Brown Hart Gardens) and an equally mesmerizing water sculpture in front of The Connaught, on the corner of Mount Street and Carlos Place, by renowned Japanese architect Tadao Ando, which envelops passers-by in an atmospheric vapour mist.

Mayfair has always been ornamented by distinguished public art, but former industrial corners of the capital -- such as London Dock, where developer St George is building 1,800 new homes (properties from £819,950 to £3,499,000), and Greenwich Peninsula, where Knight Dragon is adding more than 10,000 properties (£250,000 to £5m) to marshland and shipyards – have to work harder to introduce a sense of heritage and a must-visit mood.

To provide the requisite sense of “placemaking” at London Dock, architect practice Patel Taylor is weaving an art and text trail into the 15-acre site.

Over at Greenwich Peninsula, Knight Dragon is looking to establish an alternative Shoreditch, with the recently launched Now Gallery, an artist studio and the permanent installation of a specially commissioned work by artist Conrad Shawcross.

House Staging

Hanging the right art on the walls has always been the most direct route to transforming a house into a home, and deluxe developer Finchatton prides itself on its skill in furnishing its purchasers with an immediate sense of “homeline.

Each of the designers employed by Finchatton selects the artwork for their own projects and, over the year or so these take to complete, will gain a clear sense of what they wish to incorporate. The company works closely with galleries, and in one property he was able to get us a Rodin sculpture, which fitted perfectly.

Some developers, particularly those whose multi-homed clientele can be too busy to concern themselves with everyday detail, will offer the art that hangs on the walls during the sale process.

Ben Wilson, co-founder and director of Residence One, for example, creates just-unpack-your-bags homes for high-net-worth high-flyers and has, by default, become something of an art dealer.

At a recently completed house in Eccleston Mews, Residence One sold the carefully selected art for £40,000, on top of the sale price of £6.25m. Meanwhile, its Grade II-listed townhouse (£14.25m through Savills) in Belgravia’s Wilton Street features a further £120,000 of painting and sculpture.

Occasionally, a developer will take advantage of reinventing a property to build a bespoke space for an existing collection, and design partnership 1508 London has recently been asked to provide just such a backdrop at a penthouse in Carlton Gardens, St James’s (price on request through Knight Frank). “The collection ranges from the 18th century to the very contemporary,” says creative director and partner Louise Wicksteed. “We decided to make the overall palette neutral to allow the artwork to dominate, while including accent colours that reflected the colours in the paintings.”

Greenburger sees building itself as a creative process and, working with his in-house curator Jennie Lamensdorf, has appointed a number of artists-in-residence to record the construction of 50 West. “The idea derived from photojournalism. We wanted to embed the artist in the construction, then exhibit the works in the building.”

Common Element

Though some of the art on display in Greenburger’s developments remains in his collection, much of the work in buildings today belongs to the building itself, and as such is considered part of the structure. The insurance for art in communal areas will come under the service charge.

For a fortunate few, however, the work on show could provide as much of a financial upside as the luxury square footage it accompanies.

At Oceana Bal Harbour, for example, the two Jeff Koons undoubtedly offer potential for long-term growth, and Costantini has stipulated that they cannot be sold for at least five years.

Today's homepage Featured Art Video tours the Oceana Bal Harbour.