skinflint meets: Justin Salisbury, Artist Residence

4 years ago Posted by: skinflint skinflint Meets

skinflint has been working with Artist Residence for a number of years supplying an eclectic collection of vintage lights across its growing hotel collection. From its grassroots beginnings to today, it’s a relationship we’re rather proud of.

We catch up with founder and ‘accidental hotelier’ Justin Salisbury to find out more.

Photography: Artist Residence

Justin Salisbury

skinflint: It’s fair to say you started Artist Residence on a very small budget - if none at all! What are your top tips for renovating a space on a budget?

Justin: The early days were fun. When you have no budget it limits your options somewhat so you have to either get hands-on e.g. pick up that paint brush! Or get creative. In our case, we did a shout-out on Gumtree and had loads of artists come and paint directly onto the walls! You can also find some good value stuff on eBay. You just need to be prepared to spend some time trawling through the rubbish.

All of the hotels in Artist Residence’s growing collection have been inspired by the Brighton art scene. What else inspires the interior design?

Brighton has got such a vibrant art scene so for us it made sense to have art in the hotel as part of the context of its location. That’s one of the things that is really important to us when we’re creating hotels. Not only the art but the context and history of the building and location all play a big part in how we design it. For instance, Cornwall has a relaxed seaside feel to it, Oxfordshire being in the country plays on its rural charm design-wise and London, being in smart Pimlico, has more of a luxe-edge to it. That being said we always want our spaces to feel down to earth and homely.

Artists Residence bedroom REVO wall light

In London, racing-green machinist lights by British manufacturer Revo make characterful bedside reading lights, above.

Why do you think it is important to champion local up-and-coming artists?

We tend to focus a lot more on buying original or limited edition artworks these days rather than murals. Art fairs like The Other Art Fair are a great way to find new emerging artists. We met a great photographer recently called Graham Smith and promptly bought up a few of his artworks. The thing about art is that we use it to complete the design in a room. It has a great power to really reinforce how you want people to behave or feel in a room. For instance, in a bar you want something a bit more lively, whereas in a bedroom perhaps a bit more low key... unless you’re making a statement in a feature bedroom!

Artists Residence Bathroom

A variety of vintage Czech glassware has been converted for use in the bathrooms in Penzance, above.

Tell us more about the interior design process when designing each space. Is it a collaborative process between artists and the Artist Residence team?

We have a series of mural bedrooms in Brighton each done by some really exciting artists like Maria Rivans, Bonnie & Clyde and Jessica Albarn to name a few. It’s very much a collaborative effort although the real creativity comes from the artists. Really all we do is say this is where the furniture is going so don’t draw anything there otherwise the guest won’t see it! We also like to reinforce that sometimes less is more. It’s easy to get carried away. The most important thing is that a bedroom is a place to relax and something too exciting will mean our guests won’t be able to sleep.

Do you have a favourite room at Artist Residence, and why?

Hmmmmmmm… that’s a difficult question! They’re all pretty good!

Which are your favourite skinflint lights and what effect do they have on the space?

I’d say the US traffic lights in our restaurant The Cambridge Street get the most comments because they’re so unusual and people always like a nice story about where something has come from!

Artists Residence US traffic lights

A pair of reclaimed 1950s US traffic lights illuminate the counter of London's Cambridge Street Kitchen, above.

What's next for Artist Residence?

We’re opening a 30 bedroom hotel in an old boot factory in the centre of Bristol. Really, really exciting!

Shop more vintage lights by skinflint.