Owning Art: LUMAS Galleries & The New Collector
Under lock and key. Behind glass screens, under the gaze of security guards, surrounded by alarms.
Thanks to such an entourage, it is difficult for most of us to ever imagine the pieces we love outside of public collections… Unless, of course, they’re in the hands of private wealth.
But for those of you who scourge art shows sighing at price tags, visit every exhibition and buy the postcards after, or who simply want the perfect picture to transform your bedroom without breaking the bank – meet LUMAS.
A trot down South Molton street, will bring you to the London store. Distilled, the LUMAS concept is simple enough; they offer high quality art photography with beautiful finishes and frames, for exhilaratingly affordable prices. Each shop (they span over 40 locations worldwide) is stacked with prints, from highly stylised fashion shoots to hauntingly still seascapes. But there is more to LUMAS than their stock.
Katja Egloff, their Director of Art Consulting explains, “our focus is on art enthusiasts, but in a different sense than the typical extremely experienced and well-to-do gallery visitor. Our audience is everybody who place a lot of importance on having beautiful things – whether at home or in the office. That is why the LUMAS portfolio contains such a wide range of genres; everyone can find something to suit their taste.”
This approach draws in an eclectic clientele who are not classified according to income, age or work sector, as we are almost everywhere else. With prices starting as low as £100, the only thing LUMAS requires is engagement with art. This emphasis extends to their customer service, “In the conventional art context, recommendations are often based on investing in art and increasing the value of your collection. At LUMAS, the customers want to fall in love with the artwork. Thus, our recommendations are often based on creating a bond between the potential buyer and the artwork or even the artist,” Katja expands. This involves knowing as much as possible about the market, but also about the artists. Katja and her team ensure this by visiting exhibitions, galleries, art fairs and spending time with young artists in their studios.
Katja, who’s career has taken her across Europe consulting for commercial as well as state giants including Swarovski and the Bavarian Painting Collection, is responsible for the interior design and visual merchandising of all the LUMAS galleries. For LUMAS is not only about appreciation of art, it is also about careful design, cohesion in your living space. How you hang your art and where is as important as the art itself. To aid the novice buyer, or inspire the experienced, LUMAS features a comprehensive guide with tips online. Katja notes hanging art is partially intuition though there are still definite basic rules to observe. “In a private home, I always advise looking at a room in its entirety. The furnishings and art should create a harmonic atmosphere and fit with the rest of your décor. When selecting artworks, look for colour families and materials that are echoed by your furniture, curtains, carpets, or decorative objects. It is also important to consider how you move around in the room. For example, the way you enter a room could give you an idea about the ‘key wall’, where you would hang the statement pieces from your collection.”
I ask her how to deal with cramped quarters. After all, London, with the rents high and the population growth higher, leaves us with crushingly little room. Katja’s advice? Go bold! “When decorating smaller rooms, there is a tendency to have too much respect for large format pieces. Often people simply go for the small format pictures, which can make the room feel most like a dollhouse made up of miniature pieces. We wish people had more courage to go big! Large artworks are magical, creating the illusion that the room is larger than it is. They can open a window to the outside world.” She recommends works with a spatial perspective for this effect, citing artwork by Sven Fennema, Wener Pawlok and Christopher Woodcock in particular.
But who wants to be outside when you can have the perfect inside?! We tend to neglect our homes in London, thinking as we always are, that we need to be running about town, working harder, worrying about moving to a bigger, better place as soon as we can find a more reasonable landlord or mortgage rate. We forget that we still have to spend time in our living space no matter what, we forget that it’s supposed to be a sanctuary. Wisely, Katja says “in these fast-paced and stressful times, home is the best refuge, the best place to simply switch off and recharge. For that reason, interior design has become more important. You want to feel at ease and relaxed. It’s primarily about a personal touch, about the overall feeling and comfort.”
LUMAS runs with the line, “liberating art”, which of course it does, democratically unlocking beautiful pieces at a price for everyone. But in many ways it allows a budding collector to discover – and liberate – themselves. Because as Katja says, “art is another means of expressing your personality.”
The LUMAS Gallery in London can be found at: 57 South Molton St, Mayfair, London W1K 5SJ
For more information, check out the LUMAS website here.