Thursday, July 19, 2018

How did we get to Merletto?

Everything we create at Madison Art Consulting & Studios begins with inspiration. In this case, the inspiration came from the design of the IIDA PA/NJ/DE Chapter Awards Invitation.

The word synergy became a large part of the design conversation since it is the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects. It was important for us to connect the award to the winners. But how?

We decided to aim at merging all of the elements we saw into each winning piece so that the award recipient could admire these timeless pieces and think back to their beautiful, distinctive design. In addition, we wanted to remind them of the incredible amount of synergy it takes to create a successful design.

The next step was to select the substrate we would work with. We knew that both interior design and decorative glass dated back to 3000 B.C. Our thought was to begin by working with a substrate that would pay homage to that history.

Once the substrate was selected, we still needed to incorporate the word Synergy into our design. We started to talk about glass techniques that might exude this. It was our studio artist Eric Javier that said, what about Merletto?

Merletto glass has been around since the 15th century. It involves the difficult challenge of fabricating white glass wands, while separately creating the hand-blown glass.  The wands and the hand-blown glass are then fused together to create the beautiful lace design you see within each piece. Fun fact: Merletto is the Italian word for lace!

We knew it would be a labor of love, and that it would take longer, and a high skill set to create but, we thought isn’t winning like that? Choosing the more difficult road to exceed expectations and create new standards? So again, we found another way to connect to the winners.

Our result was something we will never forget as a company. Madison Art took great pride in this invitation from the IIDA Board of the PA/NJ/DE Chapter. We were honored to create and present 8 unique awards for each synergistic, creative design that won at their 14th Annual IIDA Awards held on June 21, 2018!
Many congratulations to all the winners and especially to Shannon Noon from Ewing Cole. It was a wonderful opportunity to collaborate on the 2018 Best of Hospitality project with you!

Special thank you to Aaron Luck, Alexandra Bonner, Julianne Peters and the IIDA PA/NJ/DE Chapter Board for making our year a special one!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Mural Fun in the City...

In 1984, Mural Arts Philadelphia enabled professional artists and young Philadelphians to showcase their artistic talent in a constructive way. To date, the program has produced more than 3,600 murals. One of our personal favorites is a mural that was created in 1998. The Peace Wall in Grays Ferry helped residents find common ground through art. The mural became a symbol of hope and unity.

On September 18th, 2017, our studio artists began painting a 66' x 23' mural on Race Street in Philadelphia thanks to Tackett & Company.

On the first day of painting, we realized that the summer weather occurring in the middle of fall meant scorching sun from 11am-2pm every day for the next 7 days. The heat factor became a major hurdle for us to overcome. When paint begins to heat up it dries at an accelerated rate. If the paint is not applied quickly, it dries and creates a film that won't stick to the wall. It’s important to move very quickly as a team.

Another stumbling block was the ground directly in front of the wall. It was pitched away from the wall for water run-off and we had to incorporate the use of 20-40' ladders in certain areas of the design along with a scissor lift where we could use it.

The finished product was worth all of the trials and tribulations! We are so proud to add to the collection of beautiful murals throughout our city. We look forward to the next one.  A huge thank you to our studio artists who were our painting heroes and to Tackett & Company for a fun opportunity to work together!   

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Remaking History!

What happens when you fuse an iconic piece of American nostalgia with an innovative team of creatives?  Only the most recent addition to Madison Art's long history of artistic accomplishments!

When we were first approached by Shannon Noon of Ewing Cole to replicate the famous Coney Island Parachute Jump Chair for Kitchen 21, operated by Legends Hospitality, we could not wait to take on such a unique challenge. If there's one thing we're passionate about, other than cutting edge art, it's breathing new life into timeless designs.

The original Parachute Jump ride was built for the 1939 New York World's Fair held in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, and later moved to its permanent home at Steeplechase Amusement Park. There, it was in operation until 1964, forever engraving itself in the memories of generations of thrilled riders.

More than 50 years after that last ride, and a few blocks down the boardwalk sits another beloved Coney Island Landmark- the Childs Building.  Originally built as a restaurant in 1923, this historic building sat vacant and decaying for many years until iStar, a developer working with New York City, envisioned restoring this stunning piece of architecture back to its former glory. Part of the restoration effort for this landmark building included a renovation of its interior space back into a restaurant. EwingCole was brought in to help envision a new life for this restaurant.
One of the goals EwingCole had in the design of this space was to give the clients a “WOW” moment; to create a magical Instagram and Facebook opportunity inside the space for the patrons. They also wanted to find a way to make the most of a series of magnificent existing arched windows that line the street-side façade of the building, and to take advantage of the one of a kind view perfectly framing the Parachute Jump.
When EwingCole pitched the idea of recreating one of the original Parachute Jump seats to iStar, they loved the idea. EwingCole in turn pitched the idea to us and we were excited for the opportunity and challenge!

You may be wondering what our biggest challenge would be in creating the Parachute Jump chair.  As it turned out, the chair no longer existed! The only documentation we had to go off were black and white photos of enthusiastic riders on the Parachute Jump chair. We decided to dive into multitudes of sketches and discussions about design, engineering, sustainability, durability, and safety, all while capturing the raw essence of the Parachute Jump.  The materials and method of creation had to fit within the time-period and several concepts were tested before submitting final drawings and selections. What happened next was visually inspiring. 

As we created and assembled the chair, we realized if only for a moment, we were weaving ourselves into history. For decades, there was no physical form of a Parachute Jump Chair and we were bringing it back to life! The best part is that this beauty was built by Madison Studio artists, each specializing in either wood, metal or textiles. These three artists joined forces to create this delightfully detailed piece. It was a privilege and educational journey for us. We are beyond grateful to Ewing Cole and Kitchen 21 for the opportunity to be a part of Coney Island’s history!

Even NYC's finest are enjoying the chair!

For more information...

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

11 Paintings in 40 Seconds...

Madison Art recently had the pleasure of working on a fast-paced project. One of our studio artists painted 11 larger than life portraits of celebrities in just under 3 weeks!

Thank you Balongue Design for the opportunity!

Check out the video below:

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

An Artistic Impression of Europe

Enjoy the travels of one of our project managers who recently had the opportunity to visit Europe. Hope you find connection and inspiration from our neighbors overseas.

London, England

As I walked through the interior of Buckingham Palace, I could feel the grandeur and sense of royalty. Although photos are not allowed to be taken inside the Palace, I will paint a picture: Columns and ornamentation gilded in gold, walls lined with famous works of art, and extravagant crystal chandeliers are in every room. The ballroom held an exhibit of the current Queen’s fashion for the past 90 years. The attention to detail via beading and diamonds presented a work of art in every gown.

Buckingham Palace and Parliament

The London Eye, originally intended to be a 5-year installation for the millennium, has become such an iconic landmark along the skyline that the contract was extended to the year 2031. While riding the Ferris wheel, my eyes darted between the aerial view of the surrounding architecture and the structure of the “wheel.” My background in interior design keeps me equally intrigued by both, and encourages me to find beauty in our surroundings. 

London Eye Ferris Wheel

Amsterdam, Netherlands
While visiting Amsterdam, we drove 45 minutes to the small town of Delft, which is world famous for its blue-and-white pottery called Delftware. The artistry behind painting the pottery takes 10 years of training and there are currently only 12 Master Painters. The ability to paint such small details on each piece was remarkable. To obtain the famous Delft blue color, the painter will use a black paint which will eventually change into blue during the second firing. Delft also has bragging rights for Johannes Vermeer, who is known for painting the “Girl with the Pearl Earring”.

A Master Painter at the Delft Pottery Factory

The Netherlands is known for being the birthplace of Vincent Van Gogh, and Amsterdam is home to the Van Gogh Museum. The museum has a modern glass façade among the traditional architecture. Each painting exhibits his state of mind and his residence at the time. At one point, Van Gogh checked himself into a mental institution, where he was prohibited to go outside. He began painting nature from memory, teaching us that no matter where one’s physical being is, one can find the means to do what the heart desires. The museum also features a few pieces from modern artists, Kandinsky and Matisse, who are known for their abstract art. Surprisingly, their early works were landscapes inspired by Van Gogh’s technique for large, fast, and wet brushstrokes.

Copenhagen, Denmark
Nyhavn Canal
Copenhagen was the third city on our voyage and it was my favorite by far. The city’s cleanliness, sophistication, and sense of community showed how proud they are of their culture. The architecture is a mixture of Viking inspired, gothic/Romanesque, and neo-modern. I was captivated while strolling through this intimate city. The new “Black Diamond” public library showcases a geometric shape with black granite and glass, which contrasts the renaissance style of the Rosenborg Castle. The castle was originally built as a country summerhouse. What was most astounding was the untouched living conditions from the 1600-1700’s, which immersed me into the time period instantly.

Atrium at The Black Diamond Royal Library

Stairwell at Rosenborg Castle
In contrast to the majestic styling of the castle, the back streets of the city feature graffiti and poster ads on buildings that breathe new, colorful life to an otherwise dull area.  The poster ads were interesting as new posters are constantly being added on top. The ads are peeling away from the building revealing all previous ads below. This layering process and wear-and-tear of the stiff papers, create fun shapes and shadows on the wall.

All of the photos above and many more are available for purchasing. Please email us for inquiries.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Madison Gives Back...

Tucked away in Camden, New Jersey, is a remarkable home creating smiles for families of seriously ill and injured children from all around the world.  Many of these children are being treated at nearby hospitals and in many cases require long term care.  As board members of an organization called NEWH (Network of Executive Women in Hospitality), we recently hosted dinner and bingo night for 21 families! The impact that this nestled and protected home-away-from home left us with is outstanding!

There are so many opportunities to give back to the community and we all give back for different reasons. In November of 2014, our CEO lost a family member that changed us all.  Cody Sears was an amazing 17-year-old kid who by the young age of 21 lost his 5-year battle with cancer.  It was an emotional time for everyone involved, especially since Cody was so unbelievably loved. Part of Cody’s journey was staying at the Ronald McDonald house in Baltimore with his family.  As the Community Service Director of NEWH, our job was to create a community event within the Philadelphia area. We instantly thought of a house that not only made Cody and his family happy, but continues to bring joy to others every day!

From the moment we walked in, until the moment we left, you could feel the love and care within the beautifully decorated home.  Organizations, families, and corporations donate time and money to ensure the interior is light-hearted, comfortable and engaging.


With the help of other NEWH members, we served up an array of dishes and tasty treats. We really enjoyed connecting with the team members and families, especially when we played bingo with everyone!

To interact with so many grateful and brave families within this sweet haven was an amazing and unforgettable experience.  It also reminded us all that we have many blessings in our lives!

For those of you interested in helping please check out the Ronald McDonald House website:

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Americana the Beautiful!

In honor of celebrating America’s independence, we were inspired by art that brings a feeling of nostalgia and connection to our great country.  

The below casino concept was designed to evoke an Americana vibe. Each of the 3 walls consisted of materials connecting us to American culture. These particular concepts were based on denim, leather, and cotton.  Each material was then used to create a patterned feature wall.

Utilizing hundreds of stamps, this artist creates large scale wonders that exude patriotism.  Take a look at the second image providing a closer look at the president and military stamps selected to create this beauty. 

This donated "art-straction" was created by our very own Madison Studios.  It's purpose is to soothe, distract, educate and connect patients and families staying at Nemours A. I. DuPont Children's Hospital in Wilmington, DE. 

The white plaque you see to the left of the art is called a "Fun Fact", a program we developed for this location to enlighten adults, children and staff.

Bernie’s Pub in Glenside, PA based their concept on American roots. Each image is printed on individual materials such as canvas, metal, and wood substrates that created an eclectic blend complementing the Route 66 inspired imagery. Madison Art also created and installed the vintage wall graphic to add a pop of color and again connect guests to Bernie's Americana design. 

Who says that historical themed artwork has to be boring?  This line drawing was produced by one of our Madison Studio artists for a modern twist on a traditional concept.

America’s national pastime, has a long standing history in our very own city of Philadelphia. The first baseball league was established in 1871 and the Philadelphia Phillies were founded in 1883. This makes the Phillies one of the oldest organizations in professional baseball, and the oldest to have kept the same name and hometown for its entire existence.  Go Philly!

These 2 mosaic master pieces were created by an artist that we have collaborated with many times over the years. The second image you see is 8'x6' and was installed within Citizens Bank Park near section 125.  Be sure to keep a look out for it during your next visit! 

Since Madison Art loves fun facts, we leave you with a fun fact about the new seal of Philadelphia, now that we are the first World Heritage City in our nation as of 2015: "The star at the right of the tower represents what we, as Philadelphians, aspire to for the next generations. The lines to the left of the tower, represent the "ideas" that propel us as a city, and the "place" that put us on the map. Independence Hall symbolizes the modern democracy and popular sovereignty we can all be proud of!"