How art can make a space

For many people, in designing spaces, art can be something of an afterthought and yet it’s something we notice everywhere we go. In restaurants, in bars, in other peoples home and yet we are so much more likely to hang pictures of us on our J1 from 10 years ago than of art. Especially when it is art that can inspire us or add texture, depth and colour to our environment.

And now in a world where most of our photos and inspirational quotes and artwork mainly exist on our mobile devices we really need to look at our bare walls and rethink things.


One of the most important things for me in designing a space – be it personal or commercial – is what is the end goal? What opinion do we want customers or guests to reach when they enter the space? Fun, quirky, chic, elegant, minimalist, vibrant, reserved. Yes interior design can cover all these bases in our use of colour, tone and texture but artwork can enhance all of these things and really help to deliver your message.

Over the past number of years there has been a huge uplift in Ireland to promote the wealth of Irish artistry that is available at our fingertips. Historically art was only available via elite galleries and showcased on a rainy day on Stephens Green. Now however its everywhere you go you just need to know how to access it.

On one of Tall Boy’s most recent projects, Bar Rua on Clarendon Street, we tapped into the amazing plethora of talented Irish artists out there right now. Modern art adorns the walls of the interior with an emphasis on colour and quirkiness.

redheadArtists like Morgan, Gary Reddin, Steve Simpson, JillandGill, Pat Byrne, Rob Stears, and Claudine O’Sullivan add vibrancy to the space and catch the eye of punters drinking their pints. Many of them asking the bar staff “Where can I buy that print?”

The availability of reasonably priced print works is at an all time high – the likes of Jam Art Factory regularly have new artists in stock on their website and in their shop and the lads running it are sweethearts. Rubio in Hang Tough Framing also provides an online gallery and shop where they stock most of their artists they regular frame works for, check out Tough Love Gallery.


Damn Fine Print over the Northside of the Liffey provide screen printing courses but also sell artists work via their website too. One Strong Arm focus on typesetting pieces but still very impactful design. For a larger range of art you can check out The Copper House Gallery which hosts a selection of Irish artists – a portfolio of illustrators, photographers, painters and screen printers – so you’re sure to find something you love on their site. Prices can vary but it’s definitely a haven for any taste.

The positives to bespoke framing

captureSo now having chosen your work of art don’t forget the home in which it will live all its days and by that I mean the frame. Unfortunately so many people make the mistake when purchasing a print or artwork to house it in an ‘off the shelf’ basic frame when really your options for display can be endless and totally bespoke. Floating, non-reflecting glass, colour insets to highlight and accentuate the colours within your art piece; different mount widths and colours, a selection of frame widths, frame styles. The combinations are endless and beautiful.

Yes it can obviously be more expensive than a standard shop bought frame but the impact that it can have on a room or on you is incredible and not to be dismissed.

Two very skilled framing companies that I would recommend would be Hang Tough Framing in Portobello and Fox Framing in Foxrock. The quality, skill and inventiveness of bespoke framers is definite worth the money you pay and they tend to be very passionate and happy people.

Maybe dealing in creativity and viewing works of art every day makes their lives more fulfilling….which is definitely food for thought.