In-house creativity

Among the growing number of developers with artwork on display at their properties, Glencoe, Illinois-based developer Optima stands out — because many of its on-site sculptures are made by the firm’s founder and CEO, David J. Hovey.

A sculptor as well as a developer, Hovey has been adding his pieces to Optima’s properties for over 20 years, starting with two 15-foot sculptures at a 750-unit condominium project in Scottsdale, Arizona. “I have always had a keen interest in painting and sculpture and its relationship to architecture,” Hovey told Multifamily Dive. “In order to have the most impact [at the Scottsdale project], I felt I had to do my own sculpture. So that’s where it all started.”

Hovey’s pieces include Kiwi, on display in the courtyard of the 490-unit Optima Signature tower in Chicago, and Curves and Voids, copies of which have been placed in multiple Optima properties.

A yellow metal abstract sculpture in front of a red building.
Optima Signature, a 57-story tower in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood, features Kiwi, a sculpture by Optima CEO David J. Hovey, in a wide plaza at the base of the building. The yellow sculpture is made up of stacked pieces derived from multiple original freehand drawings.
Bill Timmerman

These sculptures are just one part of Optima’s creative strategy. Over the last five years, the developer has made an effort to include all-original art pieces at its properties, rather than reproductions.

“We started out where the only original artwork was my sculpture, and now every single painting in these buildings is an original painting,” Hovey said. “It has, I think, a significant effect on how the space is used and appreciated.”

Now Hovey can’t imagine opening an Optima building without original art.  “It’s been so positively received,” he said, “and people have been so enthusiastic about it, that I think we’ll just do more and more.”