There’s a reason the plinth is a time-honoured fixture in art galleries. It’s the perfect piece to show off works of art in all their glory. So, it’s a wonder that plinths haven’t widely filtered into the home – until now. The plinth is cropping up in all kinds of carefully considered interiors as a beautiful way to tie together art and domestic environments. If you’re feeling inspired to give plinths a try, read on for a few tips to ensure you get it just right…
A key factor in creating the perfect display will be nailing the proportions. It’s important to balance the dimensions of the plinth against those of the artwork it will be showing off. You should aim for a plinth that’s at least twice as tall as its accompanying artwork. That will ensure a visually harmonious sense of proportion in the overall composition. At a minimum, be sure to allow for a 5cm border around your artwork on the pedestal. That’s a good place to start for sculptures of moderate size, such as the wooden piece displayed on the Capricorn Plinth here. This means the dimensions of the plinth’s top should be at least 10cm greater than the dimensions of your artwork for maximum visual effect – and for the safety of your sculpture!
A single plinth goes a long way in giving your favourite artwork the sense of gravitas it deserves. But if you have trouble picking favourites, why not opt for a pair of plinths or even a cluster? When you’re arranging the pieces, be sure to go for plinths of varying heights to create a sense of movement in the display and give each artwork its own sense of occasion. It can also be interesting to play with the widths of the plinths to suit each piece of art and perpetuate a sense of rhythm in the scene.
If you’d preferer to limit your display to one plinth but can’t narrow it down to a single artwork, consider opting for a tiered plinth like the Madison Hall Table. In this case, it can work well to display one larger primary artwork on the top tier and a few smaller pieces on the lower tier to complete the scene.
Getting the material of your plinth right is a key factor in bringing out the best in your art. For a modern, streamlined look, try matching the plinth to the artwork itself, as done in this Capricorn and bust display. The continuation of the deep bronze of the bust creates a very contemporary, sleek feel even though the sculpture itself is quite traditional in style.
You can also try introducing new materials to the composition that compliment your artwork, as done here with the Siena Plinth. The brushed metal of the geometric Galena Vase works well with the golden veins running through the plinth’s Marron marble top and its gold metalwork. The materials are decidedly different, yet the matching of the rich golden colour creates a wonderful sense of continuity that ties the display together.
Plinths provide a fun opportunity to play with how an artwork is perceived. For a touch of optical illusion, try a glass-topped plinth with a minimal framework, like the Lexington Plinth. The negative space and clear lines of sight will create a sense that the artwork is floating in its own right. For greater effect, opt for a polished silver finish that will maximise the ethereality of the display. It’s an excellent way to draw focus to the piece of art you’re exhibiting in a beautifully simple, pared-back way.
When selecting a plinth, it’s a good idea to take stock of the environment you plan to place it in. You may wish to echo the design scheme of the space, opting for a plinth that offers a continuation of some of the materials, colours, or shapes in the room. The Capricorn Plinth here exemplifies this approach well, picking up on the muted metallic qualities of the surrounding surfaces and maintaining a modern, industrial feel.
On the other hand, the addition of a plinth can be a great opportunity to mix up your décor a bit. In a traditional interior, you may wish to opt for a decidedly modern model, like this polished silver Capricorn Plinth with its sleek, geometric silhouette. It introduces a bit of intrigue to the traditionally decorated space and plays with some of its design elements, beautifully reflecting the symmetrical mosaic floor that it stands on. The overall effect is a strikingly refreshing display that really makes the artwork sing.
Text by Annabel Colterjohn