We caught up with Maria Di Grande, principal and founder of MDG Art Advisory LLC and leader of a new art program in collaboration with Four Seasons Private Residences at 706 Mission, San Francisco.
Can you tell us about your partnership with Four Seasons? The Four Seasons hired me to help curate in all public spaces within the building, including the lobby, the lounge area and the fifth-floor amenities. I partnered with the project developer, 706 Mission Street Co. LLC, an affiliate of Westbrook Partners, to provide residents with bespoke access to innovative art curation and programming. I joined a ‘luxury dream team’ of experts dedicated to providing curated experiences for residents in the fields of art and wine. Industry veteran Matthew Hoffman has been tapped as the property’s director of residences, and Napa Valley-based tastemaker Kerrin Laz will lead the wine program, offering personalized high-touch concierge wine services based on residents’ personal wine preferences and exclusive experiences in California’s Wine Country and beyond. We started talking about how we can incorporate my role into something new and different and unique, which would be director of an art program for the residents. That would include things such as efforts to help them with their collections, and when they’re moving in if they need to have specialists, appraisers, authentication experts, things like that. If they need help with explaining things of that nature, it would start from there, and if they needed help with acquiring new art as well. Through my strong relationships in the Bay Area and beyond, I will connect residents with local and international artists, galleries, museums and other distinguished art professionals, as well as many other related services.
Rendering of the lobby at 706 Mission
What inspired you while curating the artwork for this project? We started our exploration with the overall architecture and design. The idea was to find artwork that has a dreamlike quality, reflective and luminous and presenting contrasts such as alternating bands of light and dark, evoking the architecture of the two towers. I wanted to look at art that had an opulent minimalism while being rich and luxurious. I always like to connect the artwork to the place, and so in Northern California, many residents will have homes elsewhere, so you want to have that touch of abstractly evoking a connection to a place. The art collection is a mix of Western abstract art with Eastern influences, from our sun-dappled images of Northern California to abstract and contemplative pieces. It also creates a mood of international influence and local as well.
What do you love most about working with artists and clients in the San Francisco area? We have such a great environment here in the Bay Area and a great collection of artists. The collection at 706 Mission is a mix of local and international artists but with a focus on local art. When I work with clients, we spend a lot of time looking at art together, and I work on getting to know their goals as well as their taste preferences. It’s the personal connection with my clients that I love. I love to get their sensibilities and tastes and then bring them ideas, in terms of artwork that could be their goal.
How has the pandemic affected the way that you conduct business? We are all doing everything remotely. But I have been able to do studio visits with artists because, of course, we are friends, and we are trying to stay very well connected to all the artists. A lot of what I do involves research, so I can do all of that without hesitating. We’re just being really careful. The art scene is such an important aspect of the cultural life of this city, and so whatever my role can be to help artists and keep them alive, I am trying to do that as much as I can.
Photography by: lobby rendering by steelblue; portrait courtesy of maria di grande