The limitless possibilities of art in hotel design

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
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    The limitless possibilities of art in hotel design

    As Hotel Designs continues to position Public Areas under the editorial spotlight this month, the art consultants at Elegant Clutter share how to transform a vanilla lobby into one that oozes charm, character and personality…

    It’s a fact. People talk about art. And hotel architects and designers want people to talk about the art in the hotels they have meticulously designed. But how do they do this?

    One way is by making sure that the artwork they specify for hotels is not vanilla. For some people a ‘filler’ piece of art is tantamount to blasphemy but perhaps is sometimes an evil necessity. Or is it?

    The team at Elegant Clutter think not. Surely, it’s a question of imagination and creativity not just budget and lead times. Elegant Clutter are a different kind of Art Consultancy that take advantage of their extensive studio facilities and in-house team of artists and artisans to originate and produce their own artwork as well as source artwork from other partner artists.

    The benefits of being able to create one’s own artwork are many. More than anything the possibilities are truly boundless. As Harry Pass, Creative Director at Elegant Clutter says, ‘we are only really limited by our own imagination’.

    But how does one start with creating an installation or a painting that is going to get noticed and talked about? Well, one way is to test the idea and see how people respond to it. Much in the same way that car companies design concept cars to test people’s reactions to new ideas,  Elegant Clutter do something similar.

    It may seem unlikely but the team at Elegant Clutter also operate a successful Thai restaurant aptly named ‘The Art Kitchen’. Like all restaurants the décor is a key part of the dining experience, but it is not typically Thai. Concept artwork is showcased on the restaurant walls to gauge its impact and whether it gets people talking. Guests are also able to buy the artwork.

    In this way Elegant Clutter have been able to confidently introduce concepts such as a reception installation of hand pressed brass blossom for Hilton Berlin and unique three sided frames for Hotel du Vin, Brighton.

    three-sided framed picture

    Image caption: Three sided frame developed for Hotel de Vin, Bristol | Image credit: Elegant Clutter

    Elegant Clutter’s artisans are also adept at playing with different techniques and materials to offer never-seen-before media mashups. This approach has spawned gold leafing to a hand painted canvas in order to make it ‘shine’. This solution addressed the lack of natural light in the lobby of the Hotel de Vin in Stratford. In a similar manner, traditional oils were used as an embellishment to the metallic surface of an etching for The Soak in London’s Grosvenor Hotel.

    Image caption: Gold leaf and canvas in Hotel de Vin, Stratford | Image credit: Elegant Clutter

    Elegant Clutter has used industry shows and events to test new product concepts including a layered routed and printed timber artwork as well as reverse printed antique mirror. These have all been conceived and produced in house and have subsequently featured in artwork schemes for Great Scotland Yard, De Vere and Conrad Hotels in London.

    A very clear reflection of the attitude that hotels really do present boundless possibilities for art is perhaps the Elegant Clutter stand for the 2016 Sleep event at the Business Design Centre in Islington. The concept was named ‘One Painting – a hotel lobby created from a single piece of art’. Elegant Clutter were awarded the stand of the show in recognition of the audacious thought that art can be integrated to almost anything. People talked.

    Image caption: Winning Sleep stand 2016 by Elegant Clutter.

    Where there is no public opportunity to trial an artwork concept the artists at Elegant Clutter are given free-reign to use any part of the building to test a material, an idea or a technique. Feedback comes organically from visitors or other staff working on the premises.

    The 25 Hour Hotel in Dusseldorf benefited from this approach after the artists canteen was used to sample a larger than life-size nude study. Ultimately the art was applied directly to a textured canvas wallpaper in a style that reflected a traditional life drawing. It is now a key talking point in the 25 Hour Hotel restaurant.

    Image caption: 25 Hour Hotel Dusseldorf. The restaurant walls were painted by hand.

    Image caption: 25 Hour Hotel Dusseldorf. The restaurant walls were painted by hand | Image credit: Elegant Clutter

    The M Gallery Hotel in Cheltenham also benefited from an art piece developed in the same way. Having experimented in the studio with carefully hand bent copper Tony, a very skilled craftsman in the team, was able to bring the heritage of this hotel to life. When known as the Queens Hotel, the world record for the world’s largest pancake was set in its kitchen. Tony made this recipe into a unique art installation.

    Image caption” World’s largest pancake recipe replicated as an art installation in the M Gallery, Cheltenham restaurant | Image credit: Elegant Clutter

    This test and learn approach doesn’t just allow the art consultant to confidently propose art that will capture the guest’s attention but also ensures the artist involved has mastered the production process.

    What this also means is that ambitious artworks can be completed to tight deadlines and the know-how developed means that costs can be controlled. The result is that a client can have original bespoke artworks in all areas of the hotel despite challenging budgets and time frames. Ollie Griffin, Commercial Director at Elegant Clutter, believes that this leaves no need for the dreaded ‘filler’ and makes sure that all the artwork really does get people talking.

    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/Radisson Blu

    Hamish Kilburn / 20.04.2020


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