It used to be that art was meant to be admired on the walls of museums or galleries, behind velvet ropes and deterrent "Do Not Touch" signs, and only the chi-chi crowd would understand it. But increasingly, art has found its way into nearly every corner of a home, and you do not even need an art education to appreciate it. From rugs and carpets, to tableware, and even accessories such as shower curtains, artists are putting their mark on everyday items, and no one will bat an eyelid if you step on art, or even eat off it.
French painter Pascale Nivet puts her artworks on porcelain plates, metal storage boxes and trays through her brand La Marelle, which is available in 40 countries. "I want to let art into everyone's homes, and with time, they will understand what art is," she says. "It is more beautiful to put art on basic items such as plates, rather than just have plain pieces."
This year, German contemporary furniture brand Domicil has collaborated with renowned Dutch painter and sculptor Klaas Gubbels to create a series of three rugs featuring the artist's works.
The hand-tufted rugs are made from wool and form the canvas for Gubbels' iconic paintings of coffee pots - a recurring motif and quite nearly the exclusive subject of his works. The rugs are priced from $1,000.
The collaboration is part of Domicil's Contemporary Arts Series which aims to bridge cultures and celebrate differences through art, using furniture as a vehicle to bring art into people's homes and everyday lives. In 2010 and 2011, Domicil collaborated with Chinese artists Xue Song and Pan Wei, to print their artworks onto sofas.
Nanimarquina, a leading Spanish rug manufacturing firm regularly works with designers and artists for its carpets. This year, it is reproducing the works of the late Spanish sculptor Eduardo Chillida on its carpets. The sculptures that are now in the form of carpets include Figura Humana, showing the human form; Collage which reflects the process prior to his most famous sculpture, the Peine del Viento in San Sebastián; and Manos, showing Chillida's hands. The rugs are all handmade using various techniques and different materials like wool, silk and mohair, to give texture and show the essence of Chillada's works, making them look as good on the floor as they would as sculptures. The rugs retail from $6,370 at Space Furniture.
For its 150th anniversary this year, Bernardaud, the largest manufacturer and exporter of porcelain tableware from France, invited artists to show how porcelain could still be seen as modern in today's society, and can be a vehicle for artistic expression.
Artists such as Jean Michel Alberola, Jeff Koons and Sophie Calle are among the 12 who have put their artworks on Bernardaud's plates. Taiwanese artist Michael Lin painted his signature blooms onto his plates. He says that "there is a certain distance between a viewer and a painting on the wall, whereas I like having people in my work". Working on plates which are of a much smaller scale than a canvas proved a challenge but he adds: "I really wanted to work on plates that could be used every day and would establish a connection between people at the table. I like the idea of accessibility." The collection of plates are available from the Bernardaud online store.
Home furnishing store Francfranc has a collection of items made in collaboration with the Andy Warhol Foundation. Its pieces include an armchair, a stool, shower curtains and bath towels with floral prints from the American artist.
If you are the sort who brings a banana to work, you could store it in the banana-shaped case that Warhol did for an album cover for The Velvet Underground & Nico. For a mere $12, your mid-afternoon snack can stay blemish free in a work of art.