To kickstart this month’s spotlight focus on Art and Photography, Hotel Designs editor Hamish Kilburn has scoured the globe – from Africa to London – for interior design made inspirational by the use of thoughtful art and photography…
As interior designers, hoteliers and architects prepare to attend this year’s highly anticipated Hotel Designs Brit List 2018, the editorial team at HD have been hard at work to pinpoint key interior design stories that are worthy of a place in this year’s list. One key area that has been a ‘make or break’ element in the applications we and our judges have read has been the clever use of art and photography. It seems, while many hotels from around the world are cutting their art budget, Britain’s best new hotels have a carefully curated selection of fine pieces that further layer a sophisticated sense of place into the property. Therefore, in order to give credit where it is due, here are seven sensational hotels who, unlike others, are using art and photography to stand out in order to claim their title as a leading art and design hotel.
Our art and design journey starts in Zimbabwe, at the sumptuous and striking Matetsi Victoria Falls. Approximately 40km from the ultra colonial Victoria Falls Hotel, Matetsi is the premium way to experience Safari in the area. Creating an inspiring interior design story in a place where nature very much rules is a challenge for even the most experienced design houses. It is therefore a credit to the owner, John Gardiner, who put his faith in a local designer instead. Kerry van Leenhoff was tasked to create the dramatic interiors that are also comfortable within the luxury lodges. Answering this question with style and a well-proportioned sense of place, Leenhoff decided to include an abstract piece of art with yellow accents in each of the 18 suites. Part of a wider story – of course – put all of these pieces together and there forms a map of the 123,000 acre reserve. The Telegraph reported that Leenhoff designed the spaces “to be a nature retreat, with every comfort and diversion one might dream of,” and I have to agree that the local designer that the owner believed in has done just that.
Heading slightly south, to the vibrant landscape of Cape Town, South Africa, we check in to the Silo Hotel. The owner, and avid art enthusiast, Liz Biden, has carefully curated a Royal Portfolio of art, of which each piece is inspired from her travels around Africa. In a press release, Biden explains: “I have always included wonderful art at each of The Royal Portfolio properties. Art brings a space to life, it creates warmth and tells stories. But moreover, art takes you on a journey which evolves as we evolve. Our guests love to enjoy the art collection at our properties. The Silo will take that art experience to a whole new level with a focus on contemporary African art…”
Each of the the 30 rooms at New Majestic Hotel have been decorated in an individual style in collaboration with different artists and designers. The hotel collaborated with art consultancy firm Asian Art Options, which selected nine Singaporean artists to create and integrate an element of local art around the hotel.
In Room 201, guests will find the work of pop artist Justin Lee, who juxtaposes Asian and western motifs with Oriental Girls Go West. Lee explored commentaries on women’s standing in society. Elsewhere, Heleston Chew produced anamorphic messages that can be decoded only by viewing them from particular vantage points around the room. Safaruddin Abdul Hamid (aka Dyn) produced a mural depicting the façade of Hotel 1929 on the eight-metre wall of the gym. Miguel Chew integrated laser cut figures in polished aluminium, depicting sensual and romantic silhouettes that reflect the plays of light and darkness of the room. Other artists featured are Lee Meiling, Tay Bee Aye, Kng Mian Tze and Sandra Lee.
Further east still, the Henry Jones Art Hotel in Tasmania doesn’t lack character as it is situated on Hobart’s waterfront in a converted row of former warehouses that date back to the 1820s. The hotel, which gives industrial-chic a more meaningful definition, shelters an ever-changing exhibition. It asks a diverse range of Tasmanian artists to present pieces. The result is more than 400 pieces of art and photography scattered around the property and a constant stream of creative individuals checking in to enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.
A few weeks ago, we explored the concept: art outside the frame in the hotel. The Alexander redefines the art of hospitality by transforming every area of the hotel into a riveting space for commissioned works of art. The lobby, for example, features a 3D wall installation of birds flying out of a record player.
Founded by two contemporary art collectors, the Nashville-located hotel is, like the other seven hotels in the collection, centered around a multi-venue contemporary art museum — with exhibition space free of charge to the public. The hotel is woven into the fabric of downtown, welcoming both visitors and locals to enjoy the curated exhibitions, cultural programming, and culinary offerings at Gray & Dudley. Just a few blocks from Nissan Stadium, Bridgestone Arena, and the entertainment along Broadway, 21c is an art-filled escape from it all.
Completing our tour of the globe to find inspiring art and photography hotels, we arrive in London, one of the major design hubs of the world – and for good reason. The Langham, London – and more specifically, the Sterling Suite and the Club Lounge, feature the perfect blend of quintessentially British art. Curated by Susan Walsh and Robin Greene, with the overall design overseen by Richmond International, the team worked hard to sensitively and effortlessly inject life into the interiors of these area with an abstract take on British culture.
Main image credit: The Silo Hotel, Cape Town