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Art & Home | Imagination to Innovation

In certain circles, innovative architecture is a boundary-pushing test of one-upmanship. Architects are juxtaposing styles and exaggerating silhouettes to create what seems like newly invented forms. They’re embracing the element of surprise and a hint of playfulness. To be successful, however, innovative design has to do more than break with the past. It has to be functional. It is the architect’s responsibility to create designs that better the lives of the people who inhabit the home, says Dan Brunn, a Los Angeles, California-based architect whose residences have incorporated pivoting walls to display (or conceal) artwork and zig zag-shaped balconies. Bringing shapes and spaces together, capturing volume and light, framing views and choreographing floor plans so that “forms comes alive” are the attributes of great architecture, Brunn says.

In areas like Scottsdale, Arizona, some luxury home buyers are shifting away from traditional Tuscan and Southwest Territorial styles. They’re opting for statement-making properties with striking contemporary lines that “contrast with our Sonoran Desert, yet balance with its natural setting in terms of aesthetics,” says Deems Dickinson, president and principal broker of Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty in Scottsdale. A custom home located on the 17th fairway of the prestigious Mirabel Golf Club community, for instance, is a remarkable example of modern architecture that stands out in the openness of the desert surroundings. The home features an indoor atrium with a bamboo garden, a floating staircase and windows that extend from the floor to ceiling and beyond, becoming full-length skylights.

With international galleries from the East End to the west, the now well-established Frieze art fair each October, and a busy calendar of major auctions, London is a vibrant, global center of contemporary art. For today’s blog, the MA Contemporary Art faculty at Sotheby’s Institute of Art tells us about what makes London the dynamic, outward-looking art hub it is today, and which local institutions they believe have played a part in its transformation. Here are three things you can’t miss.

This is a gallery and research center that has foregrounded the work of artists from outside the West and of UK artists of diasporic descent since its inception in 1994. For a time in the 90s it published a journal, Annotations, which traced connections between postcolonial thought and artistic practice. Despite swingeing funding cuts, it remains, with its library, exhibition program and public talks, a vital resource for artists, students and scholars, including of course students on our MA program in Contemporary Art.Rivington Street in Shoreditch. Under the dynamic stewardship of Mark Sealy, it has used its exhibition and education programs to raise the visibility of historically marginalized photographic practices, such as those of diasporic descent, and to promote research into photographic developments in Africa, Asia and Latin America. It houses a major archive that has long served as a research tool for our students.

Tate Modern, which opened in 2000, has shown a strong commitment to collecting art from around the worldfor over a decade now. It has appointed specialist curators to implement this acquisitions policy and the opening in June 2016 of the new wing, dubbed the Switch House, has enabled them to put more of these newly acquired works on display. In another sign of their determination to broaden the geographical reach of their program, Nicholas Serota and his team have in recent years devoted shows to a number of artists from Africa, Asia and South America, including Meshac Gaba, Bhupen Khakhar, Gabriel Orozco and Saloua Raouda Choucair.