Designer Insights: Alex Ray
Author: Alessandro Perinato —Kreoo
Date: 30 April 2015
Interview with Alex Ray of Five Senses Art Consultancy. Alex has the distinction of being a three-time designer in San Francisco’s Decorator Showcase. In her most recent design, Alex featured several elements from our Pavé Collection.
Today we get to take a look inside the mind of this brilliant designer.
So Alex tell us, when did you first find your aptitude for art and design? What sparked the fascination?
It was as soon as I could walk I am afraid. I saw Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon and I was SOLD!!! I noticed bold statements in art from an early age. I also saw the power of the way good design and living with art can literally change the way a person lives. I saw how it makes a person feel and how it challenges a person to strive for better comfort, quality and good materials.
And now you’ve turned that passion into a successful career. But you aren’t just an art lover, you’re a designer. How do you think design and art interact?
They need each other and yet it is a fine line to be aware of. One must try and elevate their interiors with good quality art and not just decorative art that has no meaning or content. As soon as the art looks too decorative it falls away—when it holds some weight it makes the viewer more interested in the personality of the owner.
You did a great job of that with your recent garden design. Very fresh and unexpected, I mean Photography in a garden? That’s bold. Did this idea come from your history as a photographer?
I assisted Nick Knight and Herb Ritts back in the late 80’s. and went on to have an editorial photography career for seven years in London. I think all the art practices are inextricably linked: photography, fashion, fine art, why not garden design???
The boundaries of photography are really getting pushed and re-defined right now and I think it is an exciting time for photography in general. I was very excited to show how one can live with Photography in a garden outdoor context, because the possibilities are endless and vastly less expensive than sculpture. I have fabricated an outdoor weatherproofed light box that illuminates the garden at night, which is great for entertaining and it also gives a garden no matter how big or small a captivating focal point.
That is a beautiful thought. You definitely made that concept come to life. So what drew you to the Pavé collection for this space?
I discovered it through Coup d’Etat in San Francisco, and it really stood out as being such a sculptural and refined line of furniture and bath products. It has sophistication, simplicity and is beautifully crafted.
I loved Pavé for the bench because it is the perfect piece for a small space. It provided really economic seating options. I can now fit 5-6 people comfortably in front of the art piece in the garden and it is so beautifully sculptural. It also has such smooth curves and finish that compliments the neo-classical style of the light box photographic image.
As an art consultant and designer, you must work with a lot of architects and interior designers. What qualities matter to you in the artists and companies you partner with?
I think architects and designers can sometimes have different agendas for their clients and its really getting the clients at the end of the day to connect with whatever you are showing them. The architects tend to like works that are perhaps a little “purist and quiet” as they want form to speak, and the designers, definitely want that pop and something that makes a statement. That can sometimes be a challenge when you are working with both on a project! The qualities that matter to me most are ‘collaboration and generosity” to make the best results happen together.
And your experience working with the team at Kreoo? How did that measure up?
It was fantastic! Everyone at Coup d’Etat has been so helpful and effortless to work with from the start, and everyone from Kreoo so supportive…..besides I tend to agree, Italians do it better!!
You heard it from the expert! Huge thanks to Alex Ray on her artistic insights. Don’t forget to check out Pavé at this year’s San Francisco Decorator Showcase.