Hanging art the right way - © linenroom.com
Hanging art in your home can be an art in itself. Image © linenroom.com

If there is one thing that is crucial when it comes to hanging art, it’s how you display it. To teach you the best tricks of the trade, DECO spoke to Cape Town’s Hoffman Wentzel who specialises in picture hanging and custom-designed art displays.

With urban loft-living on-trend and homes getting smaller, what is your advice for displaying art?
So many clients have moved from large houses to smaller apartments, and trying to fit everything in is usually quite an emotional experience – so we need to be practical but sensitive too. Be aware that too much artwork on the walls often detracts from the interior and causes clutter; consider a family member who can be persuaded to take on the extra!

And what about the precious pieces that you just can’t let go of?
Retaining memories has led to me doing quite a few memory walls, incorporating the frames usually found standing on tables and sideboards. A corridor wall usually accommodates this well, and it can become a great feature wall, especially with a wide and eclectic mix of frames. If you move to a newer, modern apartment, your frames may not suit the new style, so I would suggest retaining  a notable gold-leafed/ornamental framed artwork as an anchor-piece and surrounding it with more contemporary styles – or keeping the frames but spraying them all in one colour.

Be aware that too much artwork on the walls often detracts from the interior and causes clutter.

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A mix of frames by Hoffman and an example of a modern feature wall by ecoloftltd.co.uk.

We’re always told about the importance (and danger) of lighting. What can you suggest?
Lighting is so important in hanging art. I have actually gone as far as installing gallery systems into domestic spaces to enhance artwork. With the fierce sun we have, artwork is often in danger, so it’s worth installing window-blinds to counter this.

With the fierce sun we have, artwork is often in danger, so it’s worth installing window-blinds to counter this.

What are our options for precious 3D pieces?
It has been my experience that many three-dimensional artworks can be enhanced, even transformed, by the method and design of the display. For the model ship (below left) I glazed the wooden case with two different kinds of glass; a museum glass (which has virtually no reflection or colour bias) for the front panel, and ‘white’ glass (which has far less of the green tint of ordinary glass) for the sides and top.

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Endless installation possibilities include box-framing, tensioned cables and boxed windows

We’ve seen a lot of creative installations, have you worked with any floating objects?
Wildlife horns are a huge trend right now but are usually found against a wall. I dramatized a pair of Gemsbok horns (above centre) by attaching it to tensioned steel cables, using the glass pane as a frame. So many objects can be displayed like this and they bring a very cool element into a home.

What else should we be considering as an option? 
When hanging art, nothing is impossible! The display case (above right) came into being because my client did not like her neighbours being able to see through the window. I boxed/camouflaged the window aperture with a white frame (the two vertical side panels serve as ventilation doors when needed) and used an opaque Perspex panel at the back. No more neighbours looking in, but plenty of natural light to illuminate the objects on display.


HW portraitHoffman Wentzel runs ART Hanging & Display which serves both corporate and residential clients. He specialises in hanging art & display systems, framing, display stands & cabinets, floating shelves & boxes, rods, rails & fixtures, blinds & screens. For more tips, ideas and information, you can email Hoffman Wentzel right here.