Art in Upscale Public Places

Posted January 16, 2013 by Bianca Zeiler in Downtown Boston

Taste in art, as taste in music, is very personal. What we choose to hang in our homes or display in our gardens communicates an essential component of who we are as people – or at the very least, who we want others to perceive we are.

Our art adds to the stories our homes tell – is the work contemporary or classic? By an American or International artist? busy or stark? Colorful pieces in a clean, modern house tease us and grab our attention, landscapes against wallpapered walls intimate a stuffy sense of grandeur.

So what of those pieces in lobbies and hallways, common rooms and lounges of residential buildings; who chooses those and what story do they tell? Is it a profile of the residents as a whole? The taste of the developer? Perhaps, but I feel more strongly about a different interpretation. When selected properly, art in residential buildings can can be a peek into the very soul of the building itself and a reflection of the role the building plays in the community as a whole.

Developers are often obligated to commit some part of their funds to art in the public spaces of their buildings, and while some may simply select an old favorite, I’ve discovered one developer, at least, that approaches the task more purposefully – Millennium Partners. With properties all over the US, the collection in each residential building is different and deliberate. Each piece provokes thought, reflection and enjoyment for residents and guests, who see the works as a refreshing and inspiring part of their daily lives.

Their San Francisco building, Millennium Tower was recently recognized for their piece by Yoram Wolberger, an 18 x 14 foot model of the Spanish mission from which the street the building is on (Mission Street) gets its name.

Their next two projects in Boston are changing the landscape and perception of the neighborhood they are in, and thought by many to be the best place to live in downtown crossing. Millennium Place is set for completion in 2013 – I look forward to seeing what art they will choose and what story it will tell.


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