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Luxurious Custom Art Yields High Profits in Down Economy
High-Tech Hotel Spaces Welcomes Low-Tech Art

By Angelique Jackson, Chief Designer
Jancik Arts International
(as published in Hospitality Construction Magazine, May/June 2008)

Old-world crafts find a new niche in new-world, high-tech structures.  Ironwork, stained- and leaded-art glass, ceiling domes, mosaics, architectural woodcarving, even faux-paint finishes suggest a weathered time in history when so much detailed construction was accomplished by the master craftsman.  Handcrafted elements working hand-in-hand with fine art in new hospitality environments add warmth and emotional appeal for the prospective client as well as the potential clientele.  

This concept is not new.  In 16th century Japan, Christian missionaries commissioned Japanese craftsmen to produce rich and beautiful lacquered implements and furnishings for use in newly built churches and chapels. Much more recently, in the early 1980s, there was a resurgence of artwork, antiques, and handcrafted items in hotel lobbies and guestrooms throughout Canada and the United States.  

Savvy Hoteliers Invest in Lux Art, Reap Rewards

Now more than ever, hoteliers and restaurateurs understand investment in art yields immediate returns. Trend-setting lobbies are transformed into museums. Luxurious guestrooms seem like private galleries. This gives patrons a sense of intimacy -  and even participation - in the creative process.  Even when todayís more sophisticated and discriminating clientele canít specifically identify the detail, they definitely sense it, and as a result, are drawn to it.

Introducing the work of artisans into an interior scheme can be satisfying and rewarding for both the creators and end users.  Initially, these products may seem to be expensive and beyond budget constraints, but in fact, some faux-finish arts can cost 25 to 30 percent less per square foot than specialty wall coverings in important areas such as lobbies and ballrooms. Forged iron and aluminum can be simulated with water jet cut parts or casted pieces distressed to look hand-forged.  Even faux casted glass can half the cost of the authentic with the same pleasing results.  Regardless, the value outweighs the cost as these old-world crafts give the designer and architect a vocabulary to celebrate the clientsí concepts.  This vocabulary reaches beyond just texture, as so often emphasized,  and adds dimension - as only art can -  to a surrounding.

Crystal Clear Communication Ė Key to Successful Project

Implementation of artisansí work should be a positive and interesting process.  The key to success, as in many areas, is good communication.  This begins with defining for the artist the intended stylization or theme, such as Old West or Art Nouveau. Be certain to select an artist capable of working with concepts.  When interviewing or choosing craftsmen, concentrate on their overall technical abilities rather than solely on past commissions.  For example, old-world art technique can take on a modern twist.  Remember, problem solvers with a sensitive eye for their art best fit the bill.  

Details in hiring an artisan are best handled by an in-house or contract art director/consultant.  The art director, who can sometimes be found within an art consultant, architectural or design firm, brainstorms with the artisan to create a truly custom product, one never before seen.

5 Steps to the Ideal Artisan

Where does one find such craftsmen?  Ideally, through referrals, which provide the individualís or companyís performance history.  Even so, certain steps should be followed:

1. Interview the individual/company to determine versatility, experience, track record.  View the portfolio and, if possible, speak with contractors, designers, and architects who have had past experience with the craftsman.

2. Share with the artisan your vision for the project at hand.  Develop an art direction and request samples, then art direct the samples or sketches. What does it mean to art direct something?  Iíve never see this phrase before..  This should give you a respectable sense of how well you can work together.

3. Ask for a cost proposal.  Reveal your budget if the cost proposal is beyond the given scope.  This is where a creative individual can value engineer a project, while maintaining the integrity of the work and design.  Keep in mind the lowest bid is not necessarily the least expensive route. The proposal should include: required lead times and deadlines as per scope of work; payment schedule (for custom work, this usually requires 50 percent deposit with balance due on completion before shipment/installation); detailed description of labor and materials; shop drawings and samples to be provided; plus installation, freight, and crating particulars.

4. Steps to accomplish a seamless installation begin with correct elevation and plan drawings and/or better yet, field measurements.  Shop drawings should be provided by the artisan for approval before work begins on the product(s).

5. Oversee the work in progress either in person or through documentation.  A visit to an artistís studio can be both inspiring and enlightening.  Imagine seeing and feeling the hot coals of a forge while a metalworker hammers red hot iron into shape. Or witnessing a master craftswoman score hundreds of pieces of colorful stained glass to fit particular shapes. With first-hand experiences, one gains a greater appreciation of the labor involved, and an opportunity to learn more about the discipline.

Developing luxury environments in a down economy is a positive move.  In 80 A.D., the Flavian Roman emperors inaugurated the Coliseum of Rome, in all its splendor, for entertaining their subjects in opulent surroundings to distract their minds from the woes of the time.  Today, the hospitality industry is finding this same strategy to be a profitable plan.

Angelique Jackson is President of Jancik Arts International, Inc., a Georgia and Florida-based company specializing in stained-glass ceiling domes worldwide.  She can be reached at For information on Jancik Arts International, visit

Elizabeth Fairleigh
thE Connection, Inc.


Also See: High Drama on the High SeasÖ Famous Stained Glass Ceiling Dome Aboard Ocean Princess by Jancik Arts International Creates Memorable Guest Experience; Glass Magazine Recognizes JAIís Head-Turning Craftsmanship in Cover Contest / May 2008
Jancik Arts International (JAI) Elevates Hospitality Industry with Breathtaking Stained Glass Ceiling Domes; Stained Glass Artisans Create Thriving Global Business Based on Old World Technique - Quality and Uniqueness of these Pieces have Enhanced the Guest Experience with Spectacular Ambiance for 30 Years / April 2008

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