(Part 3 of an exclusive Pinkwater Report three-part series)
In Miami and NYC, the integration of fine art with luxury property development is overt and out front for all to see. In Los Angeles, however, the connection is a bit different. The Los Angeles residential market means “homes” not “apartment buildings,” and most often these homes are hidden from view, secluded in the hills.
In Los Angeles, the homes are so sprawlingly large that they contain their own gallery spaces — top end homes now being developed in LA must as a matter of course come with high-ceilinged, properly lit rooms to accommodate their owners’ art collections.
Additionally, the homes are themselves often works of art that reflect the aesthetics of their developers and owners. Over and over now we see repeated variations of sleek, lateral, glass and metal compositions that look, right out of, well, the movies.
Given that Los Angeles is the creative capital of the world, we see a lot of art in real estate here. Contemporary art especially. The houses themselves are often pieces of art.
We contacted Barry Peele, a founding member of Sotheby’s International Realty’s Beverly Hills office, to get his take on current art/development synergies in Los Angeles. Barry’s client list includes such luminaries as Madonna, Demi Moore, Sharon Stone, and David and Victoria Beckham just to name a few.
According to Barry, “Given that Los Angeles is the creative capital of the world, we see a lot of art in real estate here. Contemporary art especially. The houses themselves are often pieces of art. And there is big move towards contemporary homes designed specifically for the art collector — big art walls, dedicated gallery spaces, walls protected from sunlight, and so on. One that comes to mind immediately is an incredible contemporary house on Stradella Road in Bel Air that’s listed for $54 million, filled with art and sculpture.”
9133 Oriole Way
9133 Oriole Way is being marketed by our good friend, Rayni Romiti Williams, one of Los Angeles’ most knowledgeable and experienced luxury real estate professionals. Her knowledge of local market trends and luxury property inventory are second to none. We recently asked her for her take on art and development in the City of Angels.
The Pinkwater Report: Rayni, in New York and Miami, developers are working with contemporary art and artists to enhance their new developments. Do you see this in LA?
Rayni Williams: Absolutely, many homes are built with art in mind, art walls are one of the most common desires in a home by the buyer.
TPR: How do you see contemporary art influencing architecture and development in LA?
RW: High End Luxury Modern Real Estate and contemporary art go hand in hand. Tangible assets, this is what it’s all about. Any buyer in the LA Market is a collector and each collection contains some exquisite contemporary art to go in their LA home.
High ceilings are more important than ever before. Many of the famous LA architects of the past such as Paul Williams, Richard Neutra, John Lautner didn’t focus on high ceilings. Now a home must always have them. It’s on top of every buyers list. It allows for the imagination to soar, the eye to travel and the art to properly be displayed.
TPR: Do you think most property buyers today collect art and are looking for a property that reflects and accommodates their collections?
RW: Yes, one doesn’t exist without the other. Art is displayed in the fabulous homes and the fabulous homes are platforms for their Art.
TPR: What are developers doing today that is different from before, due to the art factor?
RW: High ceilings are more important than ever before. Many of the famous LA architects of the past such as Paul Williams, Richard Neutra, John Lautner didn’t focus on high ceilings. Now a home must always have them. It’s on top of every buyers list. It allows for the imagination to soar, the eye to travel and the art to properly be displayed. For instance, Bruce Makowsky is building two incredible projects in Bel Air – one 40,000 sq. ft., the other 150,000 sq. ft. They both have extraordinary art walls. All smart developers here understand the importance of art walls.
TPR: What are the most successful developments in LA, in your opinion, and why?
RW: Anything Kristoffer Winters Company touches sells for a premium; he has such an eye and uncompromised vision. His homes are always unique and unlike anything else in the market place. Kristoffer has an art background and therefore an art–centric approach to building.
TPR: Are there artists and art work that is especially connected to LA?
RW: Ed Ruscha, Banksy, Wes Lang, Damien Hirst.
TPR: Have you lost a sale because the property was not accommodating for a specific art collection, or art in general?
RW: Actually yes, a fantastic property that just sold for $18 million, it was meticulously restored by Paul Williams and it was amazing! However they kept the crown moldings on the walls of Williams’ original design and it prohibited art from being hung on the walls. I was floored. I even looking into having all the moldings removed. But it was a pretty big job to remove it and the thought of not being able to hang the art easily was unfathomable to the buyer/art collector.
Based on Rayni’s insight we sought out Kristoffer Winters. For more than a decade, Kristoffer has designed homes and interiors that set record resale standards, and redefined what clients have come to expect from a luxury home. His firm has become known for reimagining the ordinary and turning properties into true, living works of art.
Every square inch of his projects—from the entry gate to the use of lighting, stone and landscaping—is unique. Kristoffer and his team scour salvage yards, auction houses, and consignment stores across the globe for the most interesting finds. His dedication in finding the right pieces for the right spaces beckons his projects back to a bygone era of luxury through a reimagining of the traditional patina and energy of modern homes. Kristoffer utilizes bespoke upholstery, one-of-a-kind antiques, and custom pieces to give his spaces a curated feel—as if to suggest it has taken years for the home owner to acquire the perfect collection.
What I see as the next big thing is more variety — a little bit of everything but truly high quality, with real attention to details, and less, shall we say, of the moment.
Kristoffer was kind enough to spend some time with us this week, and his take is a bit different from Barry and Rayni’s.
TPR: Kristoffer, what do you see at the moment in LA?
Kristoffer Winters: I make it my business to look at every new house in the upper market being built and marketed in LA. Everyone now is building cold, boxy structures. Although they’re beautiful and marvellously appointed, with glorious views, I see these as a bit cookie cutter. I mix things up by designing interiors with the idea that I am reinventing Old Hollywood, but as it would look today.
TPR: Do you see this “box” trend continuing?
KW: No. I think we’re just starting to reach the end of the contemporary box. What I see as the next big thing is more variety — a little bit of everything but truly high quality, with real attention to details, and less, shall we say, of the moment. Often here, you can look at a home and tell when it was built just by knowing the design details that were in vogue at that moment. I think we’re heading toward homes that are designed to be timeless. Practical. Built to last.
TPR: By practical, do you mean smaller?
KW: That’s part of it. We have a developer out here right now who’s building a 70,000 sq ft. home. That’s gigantic, more like a hotel than a private home. I don’t see that sort of thing continuing. I think 8 8,000 to 15,000 sq ft will become more normal.
TPR: Are you seeing a different clientele?
KW: Yes, more global, more worldly. The majority of buyers today in LA are not primary residents.
Los Angeles is a city that rich with creative talent and cultural capital. It’s also important to remember that it’s a very young city – barely 100 years old. As the trend to super luxury homes continues, we at The Pinkwater Report expect to see a continued and dynamic mingling of culture with property development trends.