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Picasso in the office

To appease all stakeholders involved and enhance their brand value, organisations are transforming into bastions of art

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Picasso in the office
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The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls, said the legendary Spanish painter and sculptor Pablo Picasso.

Guests entering the opulent precincts of The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore are greeted by a life-sized sturdy sculpture of Picasso seated in a chair with folded hands, created by San Francisco-based Robert St.Croix. Picasso is joined by several avant-garde sculptures created by Cuban master sculptor Manuel Carbonell and by French sculptor Alexandra Gestin – all strategically placed within the luxury hotel's upscale environs. 

But sculptures are not everything that this property has on display. Masterpieces on canvas by leading Indian and international artists such as Bose Krishnamachari, Paresh Maity, Subhash Awchat, Richard Orlinski, Revati Sharma Singh and Lim Khim Katy elegantly adorn the walls.

Similarly, Piramal's corporate complexes across Mumbai have been metamorphosed into art galleries, replete with multiple masterpieces. At Piramal Ananta in Kurla are works by stalwarts like F N Souza, M F Hussain, as well as a set of 10 paintings by the artist duo Thukral and Tagra that depict the 10 avatars or reincarnations of Lord Vishnu. While a series of 26 paintings depicting native and non-native flora from the Byculla Zoo, again produced by Thukral and Tagra, come alive at Piramal Aranya, which also houses works of Binode Behari Mukherjee, M F Hussain and Chugtai. 

Another multinational corporation, the Bank of America Merill Lynch has works of Chittrovanu Mazumdar, G K Dhanoo, Samir Mondal and others at its Mumbai office. 

“We are one of the leading supporters of various art forms because we believe that a thriving arts and culture sector connects economies and societies. In India, we have over 100 paintings by some of the finest artists the country has produced,” says Asit Bhatia, managing director, global corporate and investment banking, Bank of America. He further adds that Bank of America, in partnership with The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), has supported the conservation of Anvar-i-Suhayli, the 15th-century Persian translation of the Panchatantra.

Corporates believe creating an “artsy” landscape at their offices carries numerous benefits, which ultimately generates a positive impact on the brand and its image in public perception. The global art economy, as estimated by UBS and Art Basel, was $63.7 billion in 2017 in terms of sales, marking a 12% rise from a year ago. Art for corporates is also viewed as an emerging new asset class, as its value appreciates by 8-10% annually. Internationally, corporates like UBS, JPMorgan Chase have for long invested in art.

Starting with modern masters to contemporary art, sculptures and commissioned installations, each office has been converted into a gallery, says Ashvin Rajagopalan, director, Piramal Museum of Art. “The definition of museums across the world is changing as art is moving from white cube spaces to unconventional locations.”

Amitabh Rai, general manager, The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore, says, “The over 40 distinct and acclaimed art collectors' pieces range from intricate sculptures, paintings by internationally appreciated artists to innovative pieces of artwork on varied fabrics and materials. These inculcate a deep sense of pride and belonging to the mystique of The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore for all its stakeholders. Those working at the hotel get an opportunity to learn about the ingenuity of the art pieces and the artists and represent them to our guests,” says Rai.

According to Rajagopalan, all art, whether it is a masterpiece, or by an amateur, has a profound effect on the people who occupy the spaces where it is displayed. “Art in an office space provides a point of focus, distraction, interaction and colour. It is not just décor but an emotional response on the wall that one can interact with. Offices that display art that has been collected with focus and knowledge take part in building a brand value because it shows the quality of the company and the refined ability of the company. Particularly, when this art is shared with the public, it certainly does bring goodwill to the brand,” states Rajagopalan.

Rai says the brand equity is enhanced by the presence of prolific pieces of art and is a testimony to how a stay at the property goes above and beyond in creating meaningful experiences for guests. “The celebrated pieces add a global, historical, and cultural facet to the property that sparks intrigue and creates indelible memories of having witnessed them at the hotel for our guests, thus elevating their stay experience.”

ART AND  AESTHETICS

  • $63.7 billion – Global art economy in 2017 in terms of sales, as estimated by UBS and Art Basel, up 12% rise from 2016 
     
  • 8-10% – Annual value appreciation seen in the art for corporates 
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