Scene

Form, Meet Function

Blender Design Group uncovers an untapped market for utilitarian art—with an unusual finish.

December 2011

Jared Hankins and Grant Louwagie discovered their niche a few years ago when a client commissioned them to create a wall hanging using…resin. It was a little different than the typical oil-on-canvas request, but the two designers—principals of the Denver-based Blender Design Group—obliged with a 40-by-50-inch resin painting. Since that project, the duo has tweaked and perfected the art of working with epoxy resin— a chemical material that can be used as a varnish, adhesive, or glaze—and now creates clean, contemporary pieces that range from traditional wall art to bar tops to cabinetry with a durable resin finish.

Resilient enough to coat furniture such as tables, resin also holds a sheen that makes it a unique finish for fine art. This unusual, yet universal, appeal is precisely why interior designers and art consultants have commissioned Blender to design objects for high-profile commercial spaces like Denver’s JW Marriott, Row 14 Bistro & Wine Bar, and the Four Seasons Hotel Denver, where the wall behind the bar at Edge Restaurant & Bar (pictured) is adorned with a seven-panel mural (21 feet long) that doubles as sliding doors to hide the TVs. Demand is so high, in fact, that Blender’s business is now centered around resin work. Keep an eye out, though, for other BDG products such as Accent Wall Canvas, a chic line of customizable artistic wallpaper that’ll cure your empty-wall blues.

The Specs: Both commercial and home projects average $150 per square foot; blenderdesigngroup.com