Designing for VIPs in the art world…

[Ian Macready]
The advertising poster

Kicking off the international art fair season is Art Stage in Singapore – it took place last week from 16-19 January. This year in its 4th edition, there were over 40000 visitors and 130 galleries exhibiting, including White Cube, Pearl Lam Galleries, and ShangART.  Set up by Lorenzo Rudolf from Switzerland, one of the previous directors at Art Basel and the Frankfurt Book Fair, it aims to promote and foster Asian art.  VW+BS, that’s us of course, designed this year’s  VIP lounge with a bar (clearly alcohol is required to lubricate those big deals) for the serious art buyers. We were given an open brief by the Art Stage team and our aim was to create a refuge from the hustle of the main show with a simple white shadowy, but sophisticated, space, divided diagonally by translucent screens. We created texture by criss-crossing up–lit elastic strips on the perimeter walls.  Not wanting to overwhelm the space with too much design, we provided a calm space for the top people (including ourselves of course) to network and socialise. The VIP lounge was intended to accommodate up to 100 people at one time, with a Champagne bar from Ruinart, and a coffee outlet from Papa Palheta, the people behind the Chye Seng Huat Hardware café, one of Singapore’s coolest hangouts.  The area was divided into four sections by low screens so that conversations and meetings could take place within the space, but still with an open and convivial atmosphere.

In the art fair itself we met up with Yoichi Nakamuta of Clear Edition Gallery, the curator with whom we are working on a furniture project to be shown later this year in Milan and London (watch out for that) who was representing the work of Japanese artist Tomoko Sugimoto.

The entrance to the show by Indonesian artist Joko Avianto
Some of the galleries at the show
Work by Japanese artist Tomoko Sugimoto
The Wall Street Journal Cafe (riff raff allowed here)
The shadowy white space with translucent screens
Setting up the Ruinart Champagne bar
The essential concierge desk for the VIPs
Some very blurry phone snaps of the VIP bar from above