Art & Design Interiors & Design

How Designer Suzanne Lovell Incorporates Art in Interior Design

Named one of Architectural Digest’s top 100 interior designers, Chicago-based Suzanne Lovell explains how she uses her background in architecture to curate the perfect art collections for clients’ homes

Though she’s been at the helm of her company for more than three decades, Suzanne Lovell is still very hands-on. “I am at the heart and soul of every project we create for our clients,” she happily observes. “My thoughts are integrated throughout the entire process.” That includes not just creating beautiful interior design, but also commissioning art that will bring it to life.

“Fine art and objects are visual tools for storytelling,” Lovell explains. So, when she and her team approach a project, “we listen to our client’s intentions and wishes; share imagery and materials that convey a visual dialogue; and then tell their story in the form of architecture, interior design, and art.”

Suzanne Lovell poses in front of a piece of modern art, which she incorporates in her interior design projects
Widely recognized as an expert in fine art, textiles, and bespoke furniture, Lovell approaches each interior design project as “an opportunity to tell a different story.” Image: Eric Piasecki

With this in mind, the Lovell Art Advisory service is included in each commission, providing expertise in identifying, curating, and managing fine-art collections. “From unearthing treasures and commissioning contemporary artists, to all of the logistics, maintenance, and record keeping required, to managing collections of value—we handle it all,” she says.

Imagery and materials convey a visual dialogue; we tell their story in the form of architecture, interior design, and art

Lovell regularly shares acquisition opportunities at Christie’s auctions—and its private sales—with her clients. Some of her recent finds include an extensive installation by American artist David Wiseman, monumental mixed-media works by Spanish artist Manolo Valdés, and two paintings by the Austrian Surrealist Wolfgang Paalen.

A hotel room in shades of gray and silver
Lovell’s selection of artwork for the owner’s suite at the St. Regis in New York created an atmosphere of playful glamour perfectly suited to a city pied-à-terre. Image: Billy Cunningham

A connoisseur’s eye for what works in interior design is something that can be traced back to Lovell’s childhood home, which was “filled with art, American antiques, and treasures holding stories of family travel kept for many generations.” Her mother was an expert in Federal furniture and textiles at the Winterthur Museum in Delaware, the largest collection of American antiques in the world. “That had great impact,” Lovell says, as did the “incredible Indonesian treasures” belonging to her aunt and uncle, who had spent time living in Jakarta.

Moments in architecture make up the experience, and oftentimes are opportunities for fine art dialogue

Although she studied architecture, Lovell says she always knew that she was passionate about the field of design, adding that her ability to unite interior design, architecture, and art developed “very naturally”—something that can be put down to her keen eye for “moments.”

A grand library room in tones of gold and dark wood
For Skyline Penthouse in Chicago, Lovell and her team created a warm, luxurious interior—complemented by a contemporary art collection—to emulate the rich palette of the client’s yacht. Image: Tony Soluri

“Moments in architecture make up the experience,” she explains. “Sometimes those are architectural moments, and oftentimes they are opportunities for fine art dialogue. Weaving that dialogue into a collection that we create with a client is an incredible gift to share.”

Having earned a spot as one of Architectural Digest’s top 100 interior designers, Lovell has overseen projects throughout Chicago, as well as in New York, and Miami. She and her team are currently completing an island retreat with sweeping ocean views and an elegant estate, as well as the interior of a superyacht for a repeat client.

So, what is it that unites these varied projects? “A consistent thread of architectural language through material and detail,” she says. “I believe every room should be part of a sequence of expression that is carried throughout the home.”

Banner image: The porch of a North Palm Beach home designed by Suzanne Lovell Inc. Eric Piasecki Photography