Posted: 24 August, 2021

The Art of Framing

Exploring ways in which artwork framing can enhance, rather than detract from the design of a space,

With every element of a frame being important, the choice is huge. From dyed timber to powder coated acrylic, from hand finished profiles to artworks that are framed by architectural details – framing can make or break an artwork collection and whilst choices may be vast, they needn’t be overwhelming.

Never before has the need to protect artwork from marine grade cleaning products been more pressing, and we are aware of ways to ensure that this need is addressed without compromising the artistic integrity of collections. Frame profiles and glazing should be an investment designed to also protect art against the unique humidity, lighting and movement conditions on a ship. A great frame should enhance rather than detract from the artwork it protects.

Like the artwork they are designed for, frames are an opportunity to surprise, engage with and create conversation with passengers. With developing capabilities and available offerings, there have been emerging techniques within the framing industry that can be utilised. Bespoke circular frames to seamlessly house spherical works, float mounting artworks against an important accent colour on the backboard, and minimal, textured frames using natural materials are all ways that framing can be sympathetic to the design of a space.

We see the benefits of including profiles on material boards early on in a project, ensuring they work harmoniously with the overall design of the space. In some instances, particularly for large installations, a frame may be formed by an architectural detail such as fretwork or a specified trim profile. These can be designed to invisibly support the weight of the artwork and again offer the opportunity to ensure the artwork is completely embedded within the overall design of the space.

An important consideration, particularly in a ship setting, is how any glare and reflection from spotlights on glazing can detract from the artwork itself. At SMC we often use a product called True Vue, Museum Glass – this enables the artwork to be viewed without the distraction of glare or shadows and allows for more detailed and delicate materials to be included within collections.

Increasingly, clients are seeing the value of championing artists and purchasing artworks as an investment, and so framing has a key role to play in the preservation of works. In this respect the most important parts of the frame are the ones not seen. SMC recommend using glass with UV protection coating and Archival cotton rag mounting, which is free of tannin and is PH neutral, increasing the longevity of an artwork. In addition, using framing that is fully reversible is kinder to artwork materials, and allows for collections to be updated for future refurbishments without the expense of investing in completely new artworks.

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