Most real estate developers focus on location, amenities, and price. But Bryan Ezralow says art can also have a significant impact on the success of a project. The key, he says, is to approach it the correct way.
"To me, art can be incorporated into the environment like any other amenity. Unfortunately", he says, "it's treated as an afterthought by most developers."
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Ezralow believes this is a mistake that hurts everyone involved in the project.
"There’s no question that art can have a dramatic impact on the way we feel about our surroundings, and even how we feel in general,” he says. Ezralow is a veteran of the real estate industry and an expert on the topic of art, particularly in commercial developments.
Creating An Empowering And Energizing Environment
The right art can create an empowering and energizing environment. It puts people in a receptive mood increasing the likelihood of them making a buying decision. It also encourages a positive mood, which creates positive memories of their experience there. But the wrong art will create the opposite effect.
Choosing the right art, however, is neither easy nor quick. It’s not as simple as buying some cheap paintings or sculptures to fill an open space. It requires a clear picture of who will utilize the building and an understanding of human psychology.
“It can be tricky,” Ezralow says. “You want to make sure the art you choose resonates with your audience and creates the atmosphere you want. But there are not many rules about what will resonate and what won’t. You just have to know how to read people and look at things from their perspective.“
It’s not unlike putting together a museum display or collecting and displaying fine art. The end result should be something you could show off to your friends. You should be proud of it. According to Ezralow, the most common mistake that most developers make is to display one-off works that don’t go together and don’t reflect their building just because they like it or it's from a famous artist.
“I think it’s important to always keep in mind that art is subjective, and what may be the perfect piece for some people might not be the right one for others,”
Art from local artists fills Ezralow’s LA 1446 with swirly wall sculptures and paintings, Qwil with gorgeous framed watercolors, and Bellevue with colorful oil paintings.
The Role Of Art In Real Estate
How he treats art and its role in real estate is an important factor in his success as a developer. Instead of treating this feature of a property as just another item to check off on a task list, he treats it as an essential part of the development process right from the beginning.
“Art and architecture are always intertwined,” said Ezralow. “Some of the greatest architecture comes from the minds of artists.”
When the designs for a project are in their most abstract form, he begins thinking about how art might be able to help with marketing and branding.
“We start with the architectural renderings and then go out to find the right artists to provide art that fits that vision,” said Ezralow. “
That’s why Ezralow says he always tries to get to know the artists on a personal level and find out as much about them as possible before including their work in his properties. He gives back by offering them opportunities to display their art, fundraising for charity auctions, producing instructional videos that make workshops easier and more fun.
He says, “We want to create a space that will be part of the community for years to come and we want the art there to mean something. A lot of these spaces are not only living rooms, but they’re also showrooms for local artists,” said Ezralow. “People walk through there and say, ‘I love this; I want to buy it.’ And that creates an opportunity for people to sell their art. It becomes a community center where we support the local artists who live here.”
His end goal is to create an environment that inspires everyone in the space and involves them in an emotional experience with the project.
People are returning to a post-pandemic world, so this will become especially important for real estate developers in the near future. It will also become a powerful opportunity for more artists.
Over the next few years, real estate developers will need to not only increase their focus on creating luxury for investors but also on creating opportunities for artists.
It’s a powerful partnership where everyone involved wins.