In 2018, inspired by 18th century French art salons, Alex Bass created Salon 21, a platform aimed at spreading education about arts, culture, and design. She recently opened her first physical space for Salon 21 at 52 Greene Street in Soho New York.
How did you get interested in the world of art and design, and what led you to start Salon 21?
I realized there was a void for the “in-between” during my time working in the art world. In other words, those who may be further away from entry to the fine art space — but whose unique point of views and passions are just as important — do not have a space to showcase their talents and interact with the arts community at large. Our mission is to give new talent a platform to not only exhibit and sell their work, but create a dialogue around it.
My background studying art history and business led me to pursue interior design, and art and design are inextricably linked. I apply a curated eye to everything I do from organizing exhibitions to decorating homes and designing events.
Designing a new living space can seem like a monumental task for a first-time homeowner. Where do you recommend someone in this position should start?
Begin by gathering inspiration photos (I have many saved folders on Instagram) and you will see a common thread emerge of what your taste is. And not just photos of interiors, but other images, such as travel photos, colors, fabrics, artwork, etc.
What design features should homeowners invest the most time and money in?
Do not skimp on materials for flooring, doors, and other finishes, such as hardware. Not using natural materials and using something like faux wood for floors is the easiest way to diminish the overall look and design of the home. The materials also do not hold up as time goes on. These are the things to invest in.
You should be using natural materials, such as wood, stone, and tile. You want your home to be a good investment and stand the test of time. You can always take the time to furnish your space and save money on other design elements. And make sure to work with a vetted contractor.
Are there any aspects of home design that don’t require as much attention?
No! But depending on your level of commitment, such as a rental, you might want to be wary of your budget for certain areas of your space that will not come with you to your next home, such as a bathroom or kitchen. There are, however, renter-friendly “hacks” for everything.
What are some of your best tips for acquiring the right art and decor for one’s home?
Select what you like and something you want to look at every day. Make sure the arrangement of works is thoughtful and lay everything out before hanging. Mix mediums and put art in unexpected places.
Art does not always have to be two dimensional either. For example, I have created gallery walls by mixing framed photographs, canvases, trays, mirrors, and other collectible items.