As the 10-year anniversary of the Indiana Design Center approaches, we wanted to speak with our resident showroom owners and leaders – the tastemakers and forward-thinking innovators in our local design landscape. Enjoy learning from Dianne Wright about her design philosophy and talent for combining both art and design.
Walking into Coats Wright Art & Design at the Indiana Design Center is an inviting experience.
Before even crossing the threshold, you can see the huge colorful canvases hung tastefully in the space through the clean glass storefront. Works by Hunt Slonem figure prominently (he was here for an art show and the IDC Luxe event earlier in the year), and his vibrant birds and bunnies are the thing that pulls you in. But as you enter you begin to see that the gallery is not just art, it is an experience. The simple, subdued French antiques and tasteful furnishings are lovely and the soothing music is playing at the just the right volume. Fresh and simple flower arrangements stand tall and bring in a green, leafy natural element. The juxtaposition between the old and the new and the sleek and the organic is charming, inviting you to peruse the artwork or just have a conversation with the designer and gallery director, Dianne Wright.
The Coats Wright gallery and Wright’s design business has been based at the IDC since 2011, a majority of the decade the Design Center has been open. Wright opened the gallery with her business partner and friend of nearly 30 years, Jane Coats Eckert, who also owns a gallery in Kent, CT called Eckert Fine Art. Wright is a valuable part of the life and culture at the IDC. Not only does artwork from the gallery hang all over the building, she also is a vital participant in hosting design seminars, offering her interior design expertise in conjunction with her art curator’s eye. She started in the art world, working with artists and dealers, and hosting shows in her home. Inviting people into her space, the retreat that she designed and created, organically evolved into the design work that now makes up most of her business.
Being at the IDC is important to Dianne – the nearness to resources based in the building has been an asset.
“Time is money, and design work becomes much easier when I can run upstairs to look at fabric or go down the hall to bounce an idea off another designer, or even to get lunch. Being at the IDC has made a world of difference to my business,” says Wright.
She has learned that running a design business means that she needs to be available at unconventional times, but working with people that trust her skill and aesthetic makes it easy to form great working relationships with her clients. Making service a priority is easier when client and designer work well together. Wright would recommend that taking time out for yourself is important, however. “You need to make time to recharge, to find personal inspiration, which in turn, reinvigorates your work,” says Wright. When Dianne takes time out to reinvigorate, she is often with the people that matter most: her family. Dianne and her husband Tim have three daughters and 10 grandchildren, and they all have sustained an appreciation of the arts and an eye for beauty since before they can remember.
Being in the same space with so many other designers has also helped Wright in ways she never thought possible.
“Having other creative minds so close and available has helped me grow so much as a designer. It is invaluable to have so many points of view in such close proximity. It is a huge benefit of being at the IDC,” says Wright.
Wright believes that in creating a personal haven, where you can recharge and feel at peace, can be done simply by considering a few things.
- Start with art: She believes in starting with artwork, or something beloved, and building around that valuable piece, be it an incredible painting, piece of sculpture or even rustic pottery. Color and texture can go a long way in dictating the feel of your space.
- How does the room make you feel?: Thinking about this is something that also helps guide the decision-making process. Textures, sounds, smells, light – considering all of the senses is essential to creating a relaxing and peaceful home.
- Live with what you love: Artwork, family heirlooms, décor that speaks to your true style – are all things that will make you happy when used and displayed in your home, not following trends dictated by someone else.
Contemplate these things when creating a space, but then keep the background quiet and neutral and layer in texture and color with furniture, textiles, lighting and natural elements. To learn more, visit the gallery in suite 122 of the Indiana Design Center or contact Dianne Wright at [email protected].