Just two doors down from Domus Nova’s Westbourne Grove office, Debut Contemporary is an art gallery known for its bold, colourful and cutting-edge art. The gallery delivers a dynamic and stimulating experience, offering a real variety of contemporary art including painting, photography, sculpture and prints. We recently caught up with founder, Samir Ceric, who was excited to tell us about a brand new collaboration with Emma Deterding of Kelling Designs. Emma brings a sense of fun and vibrancy to her interior projects, picking up inspiration from around the world and tailoring her love of colour to suit her individual clients’ tastes and requests. She works by her modus operandi – ‘to live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong’.
Together, she and Samir plan to pitch for property developments to provide an art and design package, offering a bespoke solution to both requirements.
What led you to combine your expertise and pioneer this idea?
Samir: Over the past couple of years, I have been exploring the idea of ‘art packages’ in line with furniture and design packages that have been around for some time. I personally believe that an art solution offers a lot more than just a selection of beautiful artworks on the walls of apartments and penthouses; it has such potential to inspire the entire design.
Emma: I hugely admire Samir’s eclectic taste and humour in his art work – art should entertian and amuse.
Art and interiors are two facets of design that have always naturally coexisted. In what ways will your collaboration and attitude to interiors innovate this?
Emma: Debut and Kelling will be able to offer our clients the confidence to be bold, daring and have fun bringing art and interor design together.
Samir: We would love to ‘use’ art and artistic mood boards as a starting point of design and interior development which will inspire the ultimate choice of all home furnishings. I would love to see more use of colour that can lift an environment and make it pleasant to live in.
We are often faced with the attitude that an interior should be synonymous with the artwork it showcases. What are your thoughts on this?
Samir: Not really in my view. They could have their own signature that draws inspiration from an artist, an artwork or an art genre but I don’t think it’s black and white as such. There are many facets to interior design. Artists have historically reinvented themselves and allowed themselves to try different mediums, different creative disciplines and even different industries too. Why should an interior designer be that predictable?
Emma: No f**K it – let it all hang out!
Samir, as an experienced art curator, would you say you could easily hone your talents into interior design? What are the fundamental differences between curating a gallery and a home?
Samir: Yes, I do understand space design very well, having curated art in many different homes and corporate spaces. Does that make me an amazing interior designer? No, as I believe interior designers have their own skillset and their own attention to detail which is fundamentally very different to that of an art curator or an art dealer. That why it is important to be working alongside Emma, who fully understands the importance of art in one’s home and living environment.
Emma, the projects taken on by Kelling Design often incorporate characteristically bright and dynamic colours. What sort of art works with this particular style? Are there any specific genres or mediums you are drawn to?
Emma: Bright colours in oil , they make me happy – life’s too short to be sad. I am lucky my clients agree with me.
Ordinarily, artwork in a home might play second fiddle to the wider production of the interiors; furnishings, finishes, and even the architecture. What is your take on this and what sort of balance do you intend to strike between the two?
Emma: Art should make the interiors sing – it’s the crowning glory in my book and always has been.
Samir: Art offers something that no furniture or design can compete with; it energises the space; it gives it life and subsequently improves one’s quality of life. Imagine a home with only product design and no art; now imagine a home with only art and no product design; for me it is simple. It is the same as a difference between water and food. We need water to survive a lot more than food. So art is water and product design/furniture is food. We need them both but we know which one is more important for our ultimate survival.
Where do you see new design trends manifest themselves first? Through interiors, or art… or both? Can you describe the different sorts of influences one discipline has on the other and vice-versa?
Samir: I would say both feed off each other. What happens out on the streets – anything that is current or culturally relevant – will influence both. As living environments, interiors are a reflection of people’s living habits and value; art is an extension of that. This phenomenon can be applied to any point in time over the past few centuries. A painting can set the whole tone for the mood of an interior and a powerful interior can inspire an artwork.
Emma: There is definitely equilibrium between the two.
Who is your favourite artist, or what is your favourite piece of art from the 21st Century? Why?
Samir: Basquiat, Picasso, Damien Hirst’s Butterflies series… predictable answers perhaps, but they have the beauty of working magnificently in homes. Mario Testino’s photography is so powerful too. As someone with very eclectic taste, it’s hard to be anything but inclusive! I also love old masters and pieces such as Gauguin’s Parau api, which is a timeless crossing of contemporary and traditional.
One of my latest discoveries is a Chinese contemporary artist, Song Yu, who is inspired by the 17th Century Dutch old masters – the quality of his execution is insane. Whether you like his style or not, you can’t help but appreciate the skill and craft that’s gone into his creative process.
Emma: Without doubt, Matisse, who was a master colourist in my book. Although his subjects were traditional – nudes, figures in landscapes and portraits – his revolutionary use of brilliant colour and exaggerated form was like no one else.
What do you think is the future of design, and what part will a new collaboration like this have to play in it?
Samir: Everything designed creatively is an invention from the past with new ideas, new boundaries and new explorations and that will continue. I am sure the smart technology in our homes will be pushed further to make our lives easier, more contemporary and more desirable, and the ease in which we can cyber travel means that we can see the influences overseas much more and that will continue to play a huge part. People will always desire homes that are comfortable and have an element of wow factor. That can come from design, art, product or a mixture of all three and that will always be the common denominator.
Debut Contemporary; debutcontemporary.com
Kelling Designs; kellingdesigns.com