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  • INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The fine art of story telling

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
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    INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The fine art of story telling

    Hotel Designs has always championed creative art outside the conventional framework. Here, art consultant Ollie Griffin from Elegant Clutter explains the importance of narrative when choosing art for hotel interior design…

    Art Consultancy is a fine art in it’s own right. Many people have an opinion on art, welcome or otherwise.

    How many times have you heard someone’s throwaway comment when regarding a critically acclaimed artwork, ‘I could have done that’? Maybe they could, but the fact is they didn’t.

    A key part of the Art Consultants job is to ensure the artwork makes the right connection with the hotel guest. Using the art as a story-teller is a great way to engage the guest. Hopefully it will make them think. Or smile. Or both. They may even learn something about where they are staying or eating.

    The importance of research

    There really is more to art than meets the eye. Elegant Clutter starts any artwork project with extensive research into the story of the hotel, location or people involved with it. There are usually a multitude of untold stories that can make great inspiration for an artist. They just need to be uncovered.

    Elegant Clutters Creative Director, Harry Pass, reminds us to, ‘skip the artwork research stage at your peril’. He insists that his team meticulously research and he takes a personal sense of pride in the comprehensive proposals submitted. This is the crucial first stage of any Art Consultancy project. A well thought out art narrative can help add an intriguing and subtle thread to a hotels interior scheme.

    And if the story is a heavy one then a bit of humour can help communicate it. The artists at Elegant Clutter were challenged to create some original artworks for the bedrooms of Malmaison Oxford, a former prison. Their contemporary graphical artworks depict a jailor locking up prison cells for the night featured the slogan ‘Lights out at 10’.

    Seaside surrealism and modern opulence

    Seaside surrealism and eccentric curiosity helped Elegant Clutter create a Brighton hotel that truly rocks. Just a few considered, quirky and nautical-inspired pieces, designed and made by EC, have totally transformed the main restaurant space at the Hotel de Vin, Brighton.

    In a separate recessed area, the eccentric seaside odyssey continues. Every type of captain, from sea to spaceship, adorn the walls in a series of striking framed prints. Humour is key to the set of artworks which hopefully make people smile as well as offering a link to the sea. There are many different levels of story-telling. Some more obvious and others woven subtly into the layers of the artwork.

    Image credit: Hotel Du Vin Brighton/Elegant Clutter

    Another subtle piece of story-telling was involved in developing the artwork for the Brenners Park Hotel in Baden Baden. Elegant Clutter approached the artwork with modern opulence in mind. The Fritz Felix Restaurant effortlessly captures the beauty and culture of its forest surroundings.

    A delightful blend of eras past and present, its mix of classicism and modernity creates a wonderfully refined, informal dining space.  The main restaurant, designed by Robert Angell Design International, features four oversized geometric artworks, painted and bespoke framed by Elegant Clutter. Reflecting the ever-changing seasons, these remain a constant view through the impressive sliding windows.

    Image credit: Fritz Felix Seasons/Elegant Clutter

    An abstract landscape painting was also created for the open kitchen area and a collection of pencil sketches of local architecture were commissioned for the bar. All telling the story of the locality.

    Spa town renovation

    Original period detailing, combined with beautiful bespoke artwork supplied by Elegant Clutter, brings the heritage of the M Gallery Hotel, Cheltenham alive.

    Image credit: MGallery/Elegant Clutter

    What began with thorough research, has resulted in a striking display of artwork that perfectly complements the existing aesthetics.  All of the framing and detailing are designed to fit seamlessly with the hand-crafted period interior, while providing a contemporary, playful twist.

    Various artwork techniques were explored to create a totally distinct look. You’ll find everything from hand-sketched originals and printed porcelain, to vinyl silhouettes and digital murals. The bedroom artwork collection was designed by recreating the original hand painted wallpaper uncovered in the grand staircase and re-imagining it as a kaleidoscope.

    City culture

    Creating artwork for Radisson Blu, Leeds was a perfect fit for Elegant Clutter. With a shared belief in pushing the boundaries of hotel design, what resulted makes quite an impression.

    Trevillion Interiors briefed the project in an open and dynamic way, with ‘Leeds stories’ to become the central focus. The brief allowed for complete creativity and what stands now is an impressive interior that truly reflects the heritage of this vibrant city.

    One of the most striking pieces has to be the oversized, spray-painted mural of Leeds legend Peter O’Toole. The exposed wall contrasts with the smooth charm of this iconic figure, creating an industrial yet intimate feel.

    Image credit: Radisson Blu/Elegant Clutter

    Another statement piece constitutes a second wall mural but applied with a combination of hand painting and digital mural. The team at Elegant Clutter photographed typical street scenes of Leeds but from a very stylistic perspective. These images made up a landscape of commuters, street artists and families that were used to add interest to a previously unused and soulless atrium. The graphics and hand painted shadows adorn the three levels of bedroom walkways to create a unique atmosphere.

    Other artwork references more of Yorkshire’s icons, including its famous financial district. This story was brought to life using real digitally printed penny coins to make up the image.

    A similar inspiration was used on the Moxy Hotel Dusseldorf located in the banking sector of the city. Elegant Clutter have transformed the siding lift doors in a frivolous and charming way. To get to your room, you first have to get through the bank vault!

    Just a bit of fun

    When a story is treated a little irreverently and the client has the confidence to run with it Elegant Clutter are allowed to have a bit of fun. Working on the ETC Venue site in Chancery Lane one of Elegant Clutters free-hand artists set about painting a brick wall. With a bit of imagination the result was a glimpse at how one of the local legal fraternity may spend their breaks from court.

    Sometimes it just feels right to put a smile on people’s faces by putting a smile in their face. Another art installation destined for an ETC Venue site in New York was conceived to do just that. This piece was inspired by the kindred spirits that are New York and London – and it seems more poignant than ever right now! I believe that sometimes we need art that just makes us smile.

    There is a lot more to art than meets the eye so next time you hear someone disrespecting an artwork perhaps it’s worth reminding them to take moment to look a little deeper. It’s quite likely there are some interesting stories involved and at the very least some subtly veiled humour to appreciate. If they just gave it a little thought.

    Elegant Clutter is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

    Main image credit: Elegant Clutter

    Hamish Kilburn / 26.05.2020

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