Weng Contemporary Reaches Out to Designers and Architects with a New Deal - An Interview with Nicolas Mak
In an impressively short period of time, Weng Contemporary has become a respectable and reliable art business dedicated to collectors and enthusiasts alike from all around the world. Through an efficient and trustworthy service, the online gallery has established a remarkable database of original prints and fine art editions by today’s most sought-after emerging and blue-chip contemporary artists, with something for everyone in a wide range of mediums and prices. Innovative, ever-evolving and already a reputable partner to dealers, advisers and galleries, at Weng Contemporary they’ve set an eye on expanding their activities even further. Aiming to engage with a wide range of businesses working in the field of design, the gallery will start its exciting new adventure in the very capital of this creative field – Milan.
Along with Salone del Mobile, the Milanese Fuorisalone stands as one of the most important annual events in the world of furniture and industrial design on a global scale. This year, Weng Contemporary will join the exhibitors line-up with two presentations of their own, at the city’s prominent design locations. Tortona area’s nhow Hotel will host the gallery’s exhibit of paintings by Damien Hirst and the sculptures by Donald Sultan, while the Understate Lab will team up with Weng Contemporary for a showroom of blue-chip artists dedicated to interior designers and showcased in specifically designed spaces.
We caught up with Weng Contemporary Managing Director, Nicolas Mak, to talk about the importance of design today, its place in art collections, and the thrilling new experience awaiting the gallery during their upcoming stay in Italy. Scroll down to have a read!
Weng Contemporary - The Art of Selling Art Online
Widewalls: Would you please describe Weng Contemporary Online Gallery to our readers shortly? How long has Weng Contemporary been active online?
Nicolas Mak: Weng Contemporary is the online gallery for high-end editions by leading contemporary artists. We sell works by Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Robert Longo, Alex Katz, Peter Doig, Gerhard Richter, and many more. All the material listed on our website is owned by Weng Contemporary, which allows us to guarantee everything from authenticity, condition, price, and availability – providing our clients with a very transparent platform. The website was launched in May 2015, so we have been online for almost 1 year.
Widewalls: Would you say that the online art selling has a bright future in the art market?
NM: Online art sales will inevitably play an important role in the art market, we can already see that buyers are much more comfortable with the idea of purchasing art online than they were a couple of years ago. At the same time, online art sales will not replace offline sales, but rather augment and co-exist with what is happening in the physical world. Moving forward, it will interesting to see which players succeed in selling art online profitably. We believe that online platforms developed by experienced art businesses (galleries, dealers, and auctions houses) who have the most knowledge, will be the ones who eventually succeed in the digital marketplace, and benefit the most from the growth of the online art market. E-commerce has proven to be an effective way for existing offline businesses to cater their products to a larger and more global clientele.
Widewalls: What kind of art do you distribute and what kind of art do you purchase?
NM: We focus on high-quality editions by the most sought-after contemporary artists, with prices mainly in the 5,000 to 25,000 Euro range – which can go up to over 100,000 Euros. We offer various techniques such as silkscreens, woodcuts, etchings, pigment prints, and also sculptures. Our website not only lists artworks for sale, but also allows clients to sell their own artworks directly with the “Sell Your Artwork” feature, presented as a list of artworks we are currently interested in buying.
Widewalls: You offer high-end art by some of the biggest names today – John Baldessari, Peter Doig, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, just to name a few. How do you curate your stunning portfolio?
NM: Through our mother company Weng Fine Art (a German art dealing company listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange), we have an experienced senior management team with deep knowledge of the art market and access to sourcing and distribution channels. We work closely with printers and publishers to acquire the best artworks available.
Widewalls: How would you describe the collectors you work the most with? Are they experienced, young, how do they approach collecting?
NM: We actually sell to a large variety of clients – not only to private collectors, but also to dealers, galleries, auction houses, even to other online platforms. Private collectors to whom we sell to tend to be knowledgeable in the art market, between 30-50 years old. Their approach is generally to add a high-end edition by a top artist to their collection, for a fraction of the price an original work would sell for.
Delving into Design at Fuorisalone Milan
Widewalls: Design is, apparently, the next field you wish to expand your activities to. Please, tell us more about your plans for the Fuorisalone in Milan?
NM: Yes, we are actually looking to expand more generally in the B2B market, focusing on a wide range of businesses – from art industry players such as dealers, galleries, and advisors, to interior designers, architects, real estate developers, hotels, offices, and luxury yacht companies. The Fuorisalone in Milan will be our first step in this direction, where we will collaborate as decoration partner with the design company Understate and the design hotel nhow Milan. Understate is located in the Brera district and is organizing workshops (Understate Lab) for interior designers and private clients alike every day between the 12 and 17 of April, with cocktails from 6pm every evening. nhow is hosting the Future is nhow design exhibition, showcasing the works of Italian and international designers together with well-known contemporary artists and creatives. The opening party is on the 12 of April from 7pm to 11pm, and the hotel is also participating at the Open Night Tortona on the 14 of April.
Widewalls: How would you say the works of design would benefit an art collection?
NM: Design and art often go hand-in-hand for collectors, as an interior space fulfils the wishes of the viewer only if all its elements live in harmonious balance. While art establishes an emotional bond, design is more functional and exists for a purpose. Together, art and design create something unique that connects to the collector’s intellect and emotions.
Widewalls: What are next steps for Weng Contemporary?
NM: In line with our plans to expand in the B2B market, we will launch a new section catering specifically to businesses, offering discounts of between 5-25% to members and the option to reserve artworks. We are also in the final stages of testing our new mobile-friendly shop, which will be released later this month!
The dates of the events are:
nhow Hotel Milano | Via Tortona 35 | 20144 Milano | Italia 12 – 17 April 10 am– 8 pm 12 April / opening party 7pm – 11pm 14 April / “Open Night Tortona” 10 am to midnight
Understate | Viale Crispi 5/B, angolo Via Varese | 20121 Milano | Italia 11 – 17 April 10 am – 10 pm / Cocktail from 18 12 April / Show cooking by V-Zug from 6 pm
All images courtesy of Weng Contemporary.