Suzanne Lovell, Interior Designer, On Falling In Love With An Artist

Suzanne Lovell is a residential interior architect headquartered in Chicago known for her unique approach towards designing couture environments. A passionate art collector, Suzanne is constantly searching for new collaborations with the best artists and artisans from around the world, seeking craftsmanship at the highest level. Suzanne has been recognized by Architectural Digest’s AD 100, and her work has been published internationally. Suzanne’s book, Artistic Interiors: Designing with Fine Art Collections, showcases her work weaving together personal stories for clients.
Photo by Max Kim Bee

One of my favorite things to do is discover new artists. Finding artists that you have never heard of before is like discovering a new story about an old friend. It is exciting and complex. I am an art collector myself, and as an interior designer, I am constantly looking for art for my clients.

Finding new artists you love takes time and I am often asked what the process entails. To me, the first step is completely visual; do you like what you see and are you interested in learning more? The second step is to learn the artist’s story. What are they inspired by? What does their work mean to them? When you hear a story that resonates with you, you have found a great artist!

Years ago, I was passing a gallery window and saw theses incredible dress sculptures made of wire. They were beautiful, absolutely striking. When I asked about the artist, I learned she was a young Korean woman, Keysook Geum, whose practice was deeply rooted in the tradition of textiles. I am an avid textile collector and enthusiast! She was wrapping and weaving wire with crystals as a response to the creation of the World Wide Web. At that moment, I knew Geum’s work was something I couldn’t live without. She hand wraps each wire in paper before loosely weaving the wires into a dress form. Many years later I still love Keysook Geum’s work and have a number of her pieces.

Detail photo of: Keysook Geum, Moving up Navy, Wire sculpture, 54″ (h) x 32″ (w) x 8″ (d), Courtesy of the Andrew Bae Gallery, Chicago. (http://www.andrewbaegallery.com/)


Keysook Geum’s dramatic sculptures of elegantly posed forms embody the fusion of ageless Asian aesthetics and philosophy with contemporary flair. They are constructed of paper-wrapped wire, gems or beads, and sometimes silk. Starting with a central focal point, Geum works outwardly in a concentric manner reminiscent of a spider. As the artist weaves, twists and bends wire two-dimensionally, intricate forms and unintentional patterns emerge. The natural tensions of the interlacing pushes and pulls out until figurative shapes begin to take volumes. With a background designing costumes for large-scale dance and theater productions, Geum’s sculptural works are imbued with her delight in movement, energy, and gesture. Geum likens the works to the Buddhist lotus flower, a recurrent symbol and inspiration. Dr. Keysook Geum is an author and professor of textile art and fashion design at Hong Ik Univ., Seoul, Korea. She also has been serving as the president of the Korean Society of Costume since 2007.
Keysook Geum, Shy Black Mermaid I, 2015, Wire sculpture, 59″ (h) x 27.5″ (w) x 8″ (d), Courtesy of the Andrew Bae Gallery, Chicago. (http://www.andrewbaegallery.com/)

I have always been inspired by the integration of art and object in every interior. The things people choose to live with say so much about them! I had a client that was very into fashion – her style was so exquisite. She saw the three white dresses I had in my collection and she was over the moon with enthusiasm. We ended up installing a red dress and a black dress in her Chicago apartment.

This Magnificent Mile residence designed by Suzanne Lovell, Inc. features two of Keysook Geum’s pieces. Photography by Tony Soluri

Keysook Geum’s pieces can be found at the Andrew Bae Gallery in Chicago. Find Suzanne on twitter @slovellinc, at her homepage. Follow Suzanne on Pinterest, and make sure to visit her blog, which is updated daily. Her book Artistic Interiors is available on Amazon.

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