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In (lockdown) conversation with: Art consultant Harry Pass

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In (lockdown) conversation with: Art consultant Harry Pass

For one year now, Hotel Designs has been amplifying art consultancy firm Elegant Clutter in order to get a deeper understanding of art’s role in hotel design moving forward. Here, editor Hamish Kilburn catches up with the brand’s creative director, Harry Pass

Whether it’s virtual escapes or understanding how designers should brief their at consultants, the team at Elegant Clutter have kept the pages of Hotel Designs colourful and vibrant over the last year. The art consultancy firm has been responsible for injecting personality into hotels for brands such as Hyatt, 25Hours Hotels, Bespoke Hotels, Radisson Blu and many others. To learn more about how the brand stays ahead of the curve, I caught up with Harry Pass, the Creative Director and art consultant who understands how to meaningfully amplify narrative in hotel design.

Hamish Kilburn: What sets Elegant Clutter aside from other art consultants?

Harry Pass: I think it’s how wide-ranging our work is and the fact that we create as well as curate. If you took a stroll around the place, you’d bump into product designers, paint sprayers, fine artists, carpenters, art consultants, metalworkers, researchers and picture-framers, amongst plenty of other roles – so we are very different to the agency model that you often find with art consultants. I could go on passionately about this for hours but if I can add one more difference, it’s our collective imagination!

Work in progress in Elegant Clutter’s 3D Studio for The Brooklyn Hotel, Manchester

Image caption: Work in progress in Elegant Clutter’s 3D Studio for The Brooklyn Hotel, Manchester | Image credit: Elegant Clutter

HK: Has the role of art in hotel design changed since the pandemic? 

HP: No – it hasn’t changed. Art in hotel design is mostly about narrative. There may be a shift in the type of projects that are being invested in, but the main role of art to tell stories is not going to change. I think history shows us that we will see a surge in creativity and art following the pandemic and hopefully this will also provide some powerful inspiration for hotel design.

Image caption: Suspended Star Sculpture by Elegant Clutter installed at Hard Rock Hotel Budapest | Image credit: Elegant Clutter

Image caption: Suspended Star Sculpture by Elegant Clutter installed at Hard Rock Hotel Budapest | Image credit: Elegant Clutter

HK: What would you say is the main pre-conception people have of art curators? 

HP: There’s lot of different hats to wear but when you talk about Art Curators, people can have this idea of someone waltzing into artist studios, selecting pieces on the spot and then having the vision to instinctively point to wall locations to indicate where they should be hung. The reality is that it is of course more technical and more reliant on a team of people, working together on many details to build an experience with lots of layers.

HK: What are the main challenges when curating art for hospitality? 

HP: One thing I love about art is that it is subjective. But this aspect can be one of the biggest challenges in a project. For example, following weeks of curating art options, we may present to an investor client and an interior designer who have quite different opinions on the art. In some ways this reflects the discussion a group of guests may have in the finished hotel space. At the end of the day, we all see something slightly different. A slight edge to the art collection can be a good thing and we want to keep those conversation starters…

Image caption: Close up of Henry VIII mixed media portrait, destined for the AMEX Centurion Lounge, Heathrow | Image credit: Elegant Clutter

Image caption: Close up of Henry VIII mixed media portrait, destined for the AMEX Centurion Lounge, Heathrow | Image credit: Elegant Clutter

HK: At Hotel Designs, we love art when it is outside the conventional frame. What is the most creative art project you have worked on to date?

It’s really hard to pick out one but probably the 25Hours Hotel in Düsseldorf, which we worked on with Stylt Trampoli. Our brief for that project was to imagine the hotel was the child of a German father and French mother – when your brief starts like that you know you are onto a winner! The approach in this project was very open minded and a great deal of the art we created was painted directly to the wall surfaces, including an oversized ‘sketch book’ of nude studies in the 16th floor restaurant.


HK: What projects are you working on currently?

HP: Hard Rock Hotel Madrid, Raffles Jeddah and some Curio and Indigo projects in the UK.

HK: What is the most common pitfall designers fall down when specifying art?

HP: Specifying it late instead of building it into earlier stages of project development.

HK: If (touch wood) your house was burning down and you only had time to take one piece of art, which piece would it be?

HP: An abstract artwork that my children painted that hangs in our kitchen.

HK: If you had to get rid of one piece of art in your home, which piece would it be?

HP: The ‘Chocolate box’ painting of our house that my aunt gave me (please don’t tell her!).

HK: What is the best part of your job?

 HP: I could write an essay! Summed up, it’s the possibility to be creative every day within the world of art.

HK: What’s your advice for designers who are working on a tight budget?

HP: You don’t need to cover every wall! I would concentrate on the most important locations – where you know a guest will linger and take it all in. Some spotlights in these locations focused onto the art will double your impact. Regarding the content, being creative is the way to go – encourage your client to embrace the philosophy that anything can be art if it is arranged and presented imaginatively. Some of the humblest materials are the best to work with. If you have a little more budget to buy some fine art, you don’t need to go with established names – there is so much emerging art talent out there.

HK: I suppose art doesn’t really follow trends, as such. What’s your secret to keeping art current yet timeless?

HP: I think that by keeping the story telling as the main focus, the style of art is actually inspired by the story. It’s the combination of different pieces that could be from different eras and styles that builds the narrative and so you are not relying on one single trend. We want to be trend setters rather than followers and we are about to launch an Art Story student competition to help us spot and mentor emerging talent. There is a balancing act between being both aware and inspired by trends but also being confident enough to ignore them.

Elegant Clutter is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Black Friday package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here

Main image caption: When Harry met Henry | Image credit: Elegant Clutter

Image of Steve ESDAILE

5 minutes with: Interior designer Steve Esdaile

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 minutes with: Interior designer Steve Esdaile

With an ever-evolving, burning demand among modern travellers to check into spaces that ooze personality, design and art work in tandem, as editor Hamish Kilburn learns when he interviews interior designer Steve Esdaile when establishing art’s role in tomorrow’s hotel design…

Image of Steve ESDAILE

Esdaile Design is rapidly making a name for itself with interiors featuring bespoke art commissions at the heart of the designs. These stunning focal points that always provide an element of surprise are something of a signature of founder Steve Esdaile. From private residences and hotels to commercial and retail spaces, Esdaile is keen to add what he simply calls an element of personality.

These artworks wouldn’t look out of place in a gallery, so what inspired Steve to incorporate them into his designs? We took five minutes of his time to find out.

Hamish Kilburn: You’re a designer by trade but where did your interest in bespoke art commissions start?

Steve Esdaile: As an art and design graduate, I’ve always loved making things and really love the environment of an artisan workshop. This has extended into my design work where I enjoy bringing to life original and previously unrealised pieces of work. Given my interest in skilled art and craft, when I’m employed to present ‘standard’ products, I look to artists and craftspeople to add an element of ‘bespoke’ to the settings.

Image caption: Study library created by Esdaile Design, featuring bespoke furniture and hand-carved stone relief in the light well.

Image caption: Study library created by Esdaile Design, featuring bespoke furniture and hand-carved stone relief in the light well.

HK: Where do the ideas come from and how do you find craftspeople to work with?

SE: The ideas for projects are usually client-led initially. I’ll try and provoke a train of thought in the brief process – which could be an interest, reference point or emotion that the client would like to realise in the commission. And the craftspeople we work with tend to come via a recommendation from my existing contacts. Obviously, the internet can yield a broad scope of ideas and potential, but narrowing the field takes time and experience, and knowing what questions to ask is critical. My background in workshop manufacture is invaluable, as I understand the information a craftsperson requires. The best results tend to come from asking someone to do what they do best.

Image caption: Bedroom of a master suite in a Thames-side property. The monochrome hand-painted wallpaper in the bedroom was commissioned directly from the studio of a Chinese artist, and brings an exotic depth of field to the space.

HK: Can you give us as an idea of the range of materials and techniques you’ve incorporated into your designs?

SE: Within one Thames-side residence, I incorporated no fewer than five bespoke art pieces. For example, in the master bedroom, I commissioned a monochrome hand-painted wallpaper directly from the studio of a Chinese artist. The design brought an exotic depth of field to the space. Then in the ensuite, a Crinoid sea-lily fossil plaque from the Lower Jurassic Period in the shower enclosure and a bespoke mosaic floor panel with fish motif add decoration that reflects and celebrates the riverside location.

HK: And any favourites among those projects?

SE: In the study library of that same project, we commissioned a 5 x 2m stone relief that forms a backdrop to the external lightwell. It depicts the battle between Rama and Ravana, from the Ramanyana and was hand-crafted by a Cambodian carver. My favourite aspect of the project is the sheer beauty of the carving as a backdrop to the interior space. Every time I revisit the property, I’m struck by the fact that I have to stop and take it in for a moment. It makes me appreciate all the individuals who were involved and the relationships that developed within the process. I love the fact that the end result is unique and somewhat unexpected in the environment. Though if you ask me again tomorrow, I may have a different answer – my current project is always my favourite!

HK: What added extra do you think art commissions bring to hotel and commercial spaces?

SE: Without doubt it adds both personality and charm to a space. In a small, boutique hotel, a commissioned piece is a great way to chime with the personality no doubt already on display. But it can also give the different hotels of a corporate brand an element of personality and individuality. After all, each piece is unique so can’t be replicated from one location to the next. In that way, a bespoke art commission can also really add a sense of place. 

Image caption: The illuminated panels in a study library and borders on the bookcases are details from original plates by cosmographer and mathematician Andreas Cellarius.

Image caption: The illuminated panels in a study library and borders on the bookcases are details from original plates by cosmographer and mathematician Andreas Cellarius.

HK: Are there any additional points to consider when creating artworks for commercial spaces that will inevitably have higher traffic than residential interiors?

SE: Yes, the work needs to have more impact visually to stand out in a public space. So, for example, stronger contrasts in the work mean a more impactful piece that will gain the attention it deserves. And, of course, in practical terms we need to choose materials that won’t wear or deteriorate with continual touch or use. Particularly as they’ll be subject to continual cleaning – they need to withstand whatever is thrown at them.

By contrast, in a residential setting, the owner will live with that piece for many years, so the subtleties and detail need to go deeper to be appreciated for longer. Also, the owner intrinsically knows the story the artwork is telling – in a commercial setting, the story needs to tell itself.

HK: What are you working on now – and what’s next?

SE: I’m currently working on a stunning bespoke Zellige mosaic from Morocco, orientated around a 48-point star design, widely considered the queen of traditional mosaic work. I particularly enjoy the geometry, and how the simple lines and coloured polygons knit together to make such a rich and complex visual tapestry. I’ve also recently been pursuing an interest in traditional Japanese Hakone marquetry, and looking at ways of applying this within more contemporary applications. I’m always looking to future, though, and I suppose the dream next project would be to create something that I had no idea was possible!

Main image credit: Esdaile Design

A blue abstract art installation

Virtually escape into the world of art in hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtually escape into the world of art in hotel design

Are you swooning over staycations or dreaming of distant lands? We are all feeling the desire to escape from it all. Editor Hamish Kilburn catches up with Elegant Clutter’s creative director Harry Pass to find out how art in hotel design can be a wonderful way of elevating a sense of escapism…

A blue abstract art installation

So whilst actual travel plans may be on hold, Elegant Clutter’s art consultancy team Art Story, share some of their favourite seaside projects and introduce us to some wonderful artist collaborators to spark a little wanderlust to brighten our day.

As we begin chatting, Harry Pass, creative director at Elegant Clutter, is keen to introduce me to the work of Michelle Lucking, who is one of Art Story’s growing network of artist collaborators. She is an award-winning figurative pastel artist, who creates large scale, beautiful seascapes and underwater portraits. Her art explores the contrasting raw power and calm serenity of the differing states of water, and the technical challenge of capturing both its translucency and movement. I have to admit that it is impossible not to feel summery looking at the water rippling over swimsuit clad bodies.

a painting of a woman swimming in a bikini

Image credit: Michelle Lucking

Often external artist collaborators are brought in to bring life to site specific projects. Pass explains that it is not about filling the walls, it is about telling a story. Like the time when the team transformed the Radisson Blu Hotel Nice. Located on the famous Promenade des Anglais and facing the sea, it is a striking contemporary hotel, blending luxury, elegance and wellbeing. Working with Trevillion Interiors to amplify the Yves Klein inspired décor intended to complement the Azure blue that saturates the skyline. Pass explains how the team commissioned several photo shoots to help tell the story of the city. Much of the guest room and corridor collection is framed monochrome photography. The high contrast photography gives away the strong sunlight of high summer and the timeless glamour of the French Riveria.

A landscape view of Nice

Image credit: Radisson Blu Nice

Closer to home, their in-house team of artists explored seaside surrealism for Hotel du Vin Brighton. Normally a picture frame supplied with one of the four sides missing would be rejected by any client as some kind of joke. As any comedian will tell you, a lot of hard work and behind the scenes preparation goes into the delivery of a single punch line. But as Pass always says ‘we are only really limited by our own imagination’ By working with EC’s Product Designers, the art team were able to develop a new type of artwork for this project – an open top picture frame with internal LED up-lighting. In this case, the artwork’s inherent sense of humour suggests the idea of the picture frame being full of sea water. The open frame is only possible thanks to an internal support structure, hidden by the reverse printed imagery on the glazing.

An image above a fireplace of a woman diving underwater

Image credit: Hotel be Vin, Brighton Bistro

Continuing the playful energy, the team at Elegant Clutter prove that you don’t have to be beside the seaside to get into the holiday spirit. In Malmaison Leeds, a sense of fun and escapism can be found in the suitcase inspired bedroom artwork. Malmaison is a long standing client of Elegant Clutter and they share a delightful sense of playfulness. The team were commissioned to create a guest room wallcovering design inspired by a sight the frequent traveler knows all too well and perhaps is even nostalgic about at this time, the x-ray machine at airport security gates. The distinctive glowing image and the eruption of the contents of the suitcase can bring a smile to anyone’s face – if you know where to look.

Elegant Clutter prove that artwork doesn’t have to be complicated or representational to intensify the holiday feeling. In the Amathus Beach Hotel in Rhodes, they created abstract interpretations of the sea using watercolour and ink. The client, London and Regional Hotels commissioned a series of limited editions that were then printed onto heavyweight fine art paper and framed by the in-house team before shipping to Greece along with a series of printed ceramic plates for above bedhead locations.

Image credit: Malmaison Leeds X-ray artwork

Image credit: Malmaison Leeds X-ray artwork

Pass believes that art serves to tell a story and now more than ever we need to tell the story of hope and optimism. What is more hopeful than a summers day? Or more blissful than the feeling of a long awaited holiday? The deep inhalation of sea air that seems to put the world to right? Artists lead the way in showing us the world how it was, how it is, and how it can be. So while we may not be able to visit the coast for some time, artists will continue to bring it to life for us until we can experience it for ourselves.

Art Story is the art consultancy arm of Elegant Clutter. Art Story sets out to transform spaces through imagination and collaboration. Working with a global network of artist collaborators the Art Story  team meets every brief with unparalleled creativity and enthusiasm.

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.

Main image credit: Elegant Clutter/Melia Rhodes

Image of sculpture of running cheetah

Design gone wild: Introducing Queen Ava the Cheetah by Marokka

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Design gone wild: Introducing Queen Ava the Cheetah by Marokka

Geometric design brand Marokka takes a walk on the wild side by introducing Queen Ava the Cheetah to its contemporary collection of statement sculptures…

When you walk into a hotel lobby or hotel bedroom the senses become more heightened when there is an interesting sculpture, a stunning piece of wall art or a feature that provides a point of interest for guests.

Image of sculpture of running cheetah

Marokka knows all about making a lasting impression with its range of 3D animal-inspired sculptures that are showcased in bedrooms at a luxury four-star hotel in Port Lympne while the larger Gus the Gorilla sculpture resides outside in the Aspinall Safari Foundation Park near the hotel. The sculptures have caused a buzz amongst visitors and makes the experience to Port Lympne all the more memorable

In keeping with Marokka’s style to excite, engage and provide luxurious art forms that ‘wow’ for the hospitality industry and consumers alike, Marokka has recently unveiled its latest creation, Queen Ava the Cheetah. Ava is no ordinary Cheetah, she is a digital lenticular sculpture that unites the real world with the virtual and digital world.

When the Aspinall Foundation re-homed two hand reared cheetahs Saba and Nairo, Marokka wanted to celebrate this and give recognition to the elegance and prowess of this beautiful animal and as a result Ava the lenticular was born and she comes alive in full hunting mode as different movements are captured within the print.

Queen Ava has been designed in five distinct styles:

  • Wireframe Faceted Polygonal
  • Faceted Polygonal
  • Wireframe Vonoroi
  • Vonoroi
  • Faceted Vonoroi

Lenticulars are gaining popularity and have been seen in lobbies of 25 ‘W Hotels’ across the globe while retailers like Clinton Cards have seen a shift towards lenticular birthday cards and postcards amongst its consumers.

Also, as with all its sculptures, Marokka also raises awareness of the charities that care for animals and is proud to donate a percentage of sales for every digital sculpture of this endangered species sold to the Ashia Cheetah Conservation, A not-for-profit conservation project in Paarl, South Africa, dedicated to the survival of the cheetah by running a significant wilding & release program.

COMING SOON – Thanks to the popularity of Queen Ava the Cheetah Marokka will be adding to the range with Ava candles, charms and charm bracelets.

Marokka is one of our Industry Support Package clients and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Marokka

Product watch: the Statement Sculpture by Marokka Design House

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Product watch: the Statement Sculpture by Marokka Design House

Need to add a little statement into your next hotel project? Marokka Design House, a brand that is built on creating geometric objects of desire, may have just the thing…

The best destinations always have a sense of place by connecting with visitors on a deeper more experiential level, this can be through heritage, architecture and attention-grabbing designs.

The latter resonates especially with Marokka Design House, a business that is built on creating geometric objects of desire that also gives back to the societies and places in which they exist.

It is not surprising that sculpting one of the oldest forms of art, preceding painting, the purpose not being to depict beauty but to provide a physical presence for the spirituality of early civilisation.

When the imposing three-metre high Gus, a western lowland gorilla, was originally created in partnership with Broadgate and The Aspinall Foundation for a unique, tech-inspired exhibition – WILD LIFE, it had a clear objective which was to raise the awareness of endangered animals.

The stunning polygonal gorilla formed the cornerstone of an interactive exhibition in the centre of London’s Financial District and combined the physical sculpture with digital experiences. By downloading Marokka’s free app, visitors were able to bring augmented reality animations to life while highlighting the plight of endangered animals around the world and celebrating the incredible work of charity partner, The Aspinall Foundation in protecting them and sending animals back to the wild.

The advantage of creating a physical sculpture is its permanence and in the case of King Gus (as he has since been named), is that he now resides in the entrance at Port Lympne Hotel and Reserve and his large presence makes the experience all the more memorable for those who visit.

Charlotte Clout, owner of Marokka Design House, has also revealed that another King Gus will be launching soon and will be looking for his forever home. He can be customised to enhance and reinforce the brand presence of any business park, hotel interior or exterior.

As well as making large scale sculptures, Marokka makes smaller-scale sculptures for the home that are made from sustainable and eco-friendly materials, available to buy on the website – plus, the brand donates 10 per cent of all sales to The Aspinall Foundation and DOTS (Dogs on the Street).

Marokka is one of our Industry Support Package clients and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Marokka

Image of pictures hung on the wall

Industry insight: the art of lighting

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Industry insight: the art of lighting

As we begin to steer our editorial attention towards art, lighting brand Franklite offers an interesting perspective on the possibilities of creative lighting schemes…

Image of pictures hung on the wall

Artists use light to give form, depth and atmosphere to their piece when they sculpt. By studying the way light works artists used this knowledge to evoke an emotional response with their audience. Leonardo Da Vinci researched the effects of light during the renaissance, breathing a new sense of life and realness into his paintings that wasn’t present in the most religious art of that time.

With light being so important in the creation of art, it is equally, if not more, important in the display of that art. There are various ways to light art, ranging from the picture light to the framing projector. Accent lighting is used to highlight pictures and collections by accentuating architectural features, adding drama and creating a mood.

Last year in Amsterdam at the Independent Hotel Show, Franklite collaborated with the Saatchi Gallery to illuminate their exhibition. In these portrait pieces it was important to highlight the faces of the subjects. For this the lighting designer decided to utilise our adjustable picture lights to direct the light source as required.

The brand’s picture lights are available in modern matt gold, bronze, polished brass and satin nickel finishes to suit any décor and the LED lamps come in a variety of colour temperatures to help you evoke the right mood for the space – and picture light dimming options are also available.

Franklite is one of our recommended suppliers and regularly feature in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

*Lights supplied for the Saatchi Art Gallery by Franklite.

Main image credit: Franklite

An image of a spiral sculpture in a large atrium

Industry insight: briefing your art consultant

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Industry insight: briefing your art consultant

Great art captures the mind and stays with you. But how do you brief an art consultant to achieve great art? Harry Pass from Elegant Clutter explains…

An image of a spiral sculpture in a large atrium

We understand that talking about art may, at first, be quite daunting. You might think that you need to have a deep knowledge of art to incorporate it into your project. This just isn’t the case. It’s not necessarily about liking a particular style or being an expert on a particular period or artist. In fact, everything is subjective and knowing what you don’t like is really helpful too. But really, you should focus on how you want people to feel in a particular place.

What kind of experience do you want your guests to have? And how does this fit with your branding? Beautifully crafted artwork can cleverly reinforce and define what your brand story is. These are the some of the jumping off points we use when our team is talking to an architect, designer and/or their client during the consultation stage. An art consultant who knows their craft will help expand this conversation and take the time to develop these areas.

Image caption: Establishing the artwork ‘mood board’ and comparing with other interior finishes. | Image credit: Elegant Clutter

They will also need to understand how important the location of the property is to the final guest experience. Location based research is key as it helps to build an art collection that connects with the unique environment of where the art is on view. Very often, the interior designer will create interior schemes that are inspired by local narratives. Artwork is an opportunity to delve deep into these stories – which ultimately results in layer upon layer of discovery for the guest.

For example, is it an old building that is steeped in history? And if so, do you want that history to be the dominant inspiration for the art collection? When working on a new build project, every area has some story to tell, whether it’s the people that lived there, the industries that developed there, or more whimsical local tales and customs. Researching and unlocking the hidden histories or even the present realities of a space offers rich territory to find that creative spark. For the Radisson Blu in Leeds we worked with Trevillion Interiors to focus on ‘Leeds stories’ reflecting the heritage of this vibrant city. The standout piece was an oversized, spray-painted mural of one of Leeds most famous sons, Peter O’Toole, who gazes down at guests in the lounge.

Image caption: Radisson Blu in Leeds, spray-painted mural of one of Leeds most famous sons, Peter O’Toole. | Image credit: Elegant Clutter

Outstanding artwork projects happen when the art consultant is involved from early stages and is working together with the client, designers and other key contributors such as lighting consultants and branding consultancies. The responsibility to lead the artwork development calls on project management skills as well as creative talent. To go back to the original question, great art requires a team approach but with well-defined responsibilities. A client and interior designer who encourage an experienced art consultant to be creative will help the project become more of a destination – sometimes it’s the wild cards that somehow bring together the space!

While you’re here, why not read this industry insight on the power of art in hotel design?

The art consultant will be able to create detailed art specifications from the developed brief. It’s not simply a case of selecting and creating artwork in isolation. Presentation is make or break and the frame can be just as important as the piece that is framed within. The Hard Rock Hotel in Budapest gave us the most recent opportunity to prove this theory. During our research stage, we discovered that Ernő Rubik was the Hungarian architect and inventor of the famous toy that takes his name. Something about this mass-produced puzzle appealed to our Pop Art loving consultants. We initially didn’t know where this would feature but we eventually created a picture frame using actual Rubik’s Cubes to build the body of the frame.

Image caption: Bespoke Wall Sculpture at Etc Venues Chancery lane. Image credit: Elegant Clutter

Before you engage with an art specialist, you may want to consider what kind of company structure you want to work with and what capabilities you expect. Some consultancies are set up like agencies and it’s mostly about selecting artists with elements such as picture framing and installation sub-contracted to third parties. We work with clients on an end-to-end process with a team of on-site art consultants, designers, artists, picture framers, project managers and manufacturers. Our experience is that this approach allows us to realise more ambitious artwork collections across many types of media. Being an under-one-roof operation, we have also found that it reduces the lead time overall.

Now comes the part that we mostly don’t talk about in public – the fine art of budgeting! The expertise of the art specialist is important at concept stage in this area and can help to establish options for levels of investment. Every project is unique and will have different levels of spend per piece depending on many factors such as variety, volume and whether the work is original, limited edition or open edition. Some of our clients like to invest in both emerging and established original art, allowing the art collection to be an asset that appreciates in value as well as a powerful draw for visitors and guests. Whichever is the preferred route, early budgeting for artwork is advisable.

The last piece of advice we have to offer and perhaps the most important for relationship building in the project – have fun with the art! Art consultancy can be such an enjoyable part of the creative process and a huge amount of energy and enthusiasm is involved in creating this magic ingredient. Solid foundations in contract structure, budgeting and project goals will allow some of the more unpredictable and creative methods to develop an art collection that is more than the sum of its parts.

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.

Main image caption: Design Development Proposals for a suspended sculpture at The Circle, Zürich | Image credit: Elegant Clutter

Spotlight on: November features (sustainability and art)

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Spotlight on: November features (sustainability and art)

Hotel Designs’ November editorial features have landed, which are Sustainability and Art…

A meeting of two relevant and engaging topics, this November Hotel Designs will position both Sustainability and Art under the editorial spotlight in order to continue  defining the point on international hotel design.

In lockdown, global daily emissions of CO2 fell by 17 per cent. And yet during this time, sustainability was temporarily removed off the agenda in order to make room for people to focus on cleanliness and hygiene. Next month, Hotel Designs will reach out to its Recommended Suppliers and key designers, architects, hoteliers and developers in an attempt to balance the scales. This follows editor Hamish Kilburn speaking to the eco warrior himself Bill Bensley at about eco solutions for tomorrow’s hospitality world.

In addition, following our catch up with Elegant Clutter about the power of art, Hotel Designs will investigate how art, which is not always restrained inside a frame, can effectively add personality in all areas of the hotel.

If you wish to find out more about Recommended Supplier packages, or know of a product that we should be talking about, please email Katy Phillips

Main image credit: Villa Copenhagen

Industry insight: the power of art in hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Industry insight: the power of art in hotel design

At Hotel Designs we have always championed the value of art, but in this feature we explore the power of art. Editor Hamish Kilburn speaks to Clare Howlett, artwork design manager at Elegant Clutter, to learn more…

More than ever before, there is a demand among modern travellers for hotel operators have to create destinations we feel a connection with; a place we want to spend time in. Interiors, therefore, need to captivate, inspire, and resonate with us. Art can do that and so much more; art has the power to stir our emotions and leave a lasting impression. It’s no wonder that so many designers turn to art to inject personality into an installation but commissioning the right piece of art for your project is a craft in itself.

That’s why, in a search for creativity post-lockdown, I have decided to catch up with Clare Howlett, artwork design manager at Elegant Clutter, to see how the brand is engaging new artists and the process it applies when pairing artists to projects.

“We go on a creative journey with our clients. We start by drawing out the narrative to reveal the story and spirit of a place.” – Clare Howlett, artwork design manager at Elegant Clutter.

“One of the biggest advantages of being an art consultant is that we are not constrained by a house-style,” explains Howlett. “At Elegant Clutter we go on a creative journey with our clients. We start by drawing out the narrative to reveal the story and spirit of a place. We’re not about finding a theme; we are about how we amplify  character through artistic collaboration.”

As well as a strong in-house artwork studio, Elegant Clutter has a growing portfolio of artists they are working with. Having nurtured creativity in others throughout her career, Howlett is particularly passionate about the process of discovering new talent. Her years of experience as a  judge on international under-graduate design competitions is a distinct advantage when researching new collaborations. “We are art lovers as well as art curators,” she adds, “so I get an enormous amount of joy in supporting emerging artists as well as introducing established artists to new sectors.”

Quite often, Elegant Clutter is able to provide an already established local artist a brand new platform to showcase their work. The brand is currently working with swiss artist Etienne Krähenbühl to install one of his famous “Bing Bang” sculptures in the lobby of the new Hyatt Regency Hotel, which is directly connected to the Circle convention centre at Zurich airport. Working closely with Krähenbühl, Elegant Clutter will complete the installation using its own craftspeople to present the art in a way that integrates perfectly to the hotel’s specific situation. The sculpture is created with hard crafted oak, which honours the Butzenbüel, a small hill in parkland created as place of reflection near the airport buildings and the Circle complex.

Art piece showing sculpture of a circle

Image caption: A sculpture by Etienne Krähenbühl, which honours the Butzenbüel | Image credit: François Busson

In addition to installing bespoke artwork in hotels across Europe, Elegant Clutter’s influence can be found in all sorts of installations. A good example is inside the American Express lounge at Heathrow airport. Here the brand is working with Minty Sainsbury, a London based artist specialising in architectural pencil drawings. Having studied architecture at the University of Cambridge, graduating top of her year in 2013, she went on to work in a London architectural practice. But she soon discovered that the drawing board no longer has a place in the modern architectural office, so returned to the pencil with the intention of keeping the art of architectural drawing alive. Sainsbury’s work can be found in iconic hotels such as Gleneagles but having the opportunity to display her drawings where they will be seen by travellers from the world over was a first. She explains the inspiration behind this commission.

“Elegant Clutter wanted to capture London’s personality in two pictures that travellers from around the globe could relate to,” the artist explains. “So, I was asked to draw St Pauls which I have done many times and the Walkie Talkie, which was a first and a building I wouldn’t have thought of drawing if it hadn’t been for this commission. The two illustrations convey the classic and the contemporary side of  London perfectly.”

“I discovered Michelle’s Instagram account during lockdown and was captivated by her beautiful seascapes.” – Clare Howlett, artwork design manager at Elegant Clutter.

Howlett is constantly on the lookout for artists to collaborate with. This can be driven by the project brief, for example, researching local artists to tell a specific story with the art narrative, or discovering someone who has established a unique style and wants to extend their reach. Michelle Lucking is one such artist. She specialises in creating beautiful seascapes and underwater portraits. Her art explores the contrasting raw power and calm serenity of the differing states of water, and the technical challenge of capturing both its translucency and movement. In 2017, she won the prestigious Annie Longley Award at the annual British Pastel Society exhibition. She is also brand ambassador for the internationally acclaimed pastel company Unison Colour and now Elegant Clutter’s most recent artist signing.

Howlett explains how she connected with Lucking during lockdown: “I discovered Michelle’s Instagram account during lockdown and was captivated by her beautiful seascapes. We spoke on the phone and had an instant connection. She has an established following within the residential sector, so I can see the potential for her work being displayed in beautiful boutique hotels. It’s really exciting and rewarding to introduce new artists to the commercial sector.”

An art piece showing girl swimming in turquoise and orange bikini

Image caption: Cocktail series – tequila sunrise | Image credit: Michelle Lucking

Lucking’s work can already be found in private collections around the world. She told us why it was the right time to broaden her reach and why Elegant Clutter is the right fit for her: “I wanted to share my work with more people, but it was essential that I collaborated with a company who valued and supported independent artists. Elegant Clutter are true art custodians. I feel confident they have the skill in placing my work to enhance an interior space where it can connect to a new audience.”

Celebrating artist talent is something close Hotel Designs’ heart. Elegant Clutter is in a unique position where it can use its project management, installation skills and its knowledge on the fine art of storytelling to introduce new artists into the world of contract interiors – a precious responsibility to keep art alive in hospitality design.

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.

Main image credit: Tim Perceval

Murals & perception CFX: statement, without distraction

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Murals & perception CFX: statement, without distraction

Murals may be in right now, but Hamilton Litestat’s adaptable Perception CFX wiring accessories will see you through this season, the next, and many more to come…

The wallcoverings trend shows no signs of abating, whether that’s tropical prints, traditional florals, art deco or geometric patterns.

Taking it one step further, scenic and mural wallpapers will continue to be extremely popular for 2020, creating huge picturesque scenes to get lost in. With so many options available, there’s something to suit every property and taste, from serene landscapes and textures to dramatic panoramas.

Image caption: Perception CFX – 2 Gang, 2 Way Toggle Switch | Image credit: Allie Smith/Hamilton Litestat

While changing a wall covering to suit the latest trend can be relatively simple, updating electrical wiring accessories to deliver the perfect finishing touch can be more difficult and costly. But Hamilton’s Perception CFX range of electrical wiring accessories are almost imperceptible, allowing a wall design to really stand out. The plate design has concealed fixings and features a 4.2mm snap-on clear front plate with a slightly rounded edge that allows your chosen wall covering to be inserted for a seamless look that blends discreetly into the décor.

Image caption: Perception CFX – 1 Gang, Push On/Off Rotary Multi-Way Dimmer | Image credit: Thanos Pal/Hamilton Litestat

We’ve seen striking interiors make fantastic use of these wiring accessories, with hotels and restaurants featuring the solutions on mural walls that depict local landscapes and historical images. And the beauty and benefit are that the insert within the plate can be changed as the wall design does, meaning that this wiring accessory will last the test of both time and trend.

Plus, there’s no compromise when it comes to configurations as Perception CFX is available in 1, 2, 3 or 4-gang plates, with a wide range of switch options including rocker, toggle, rotary and rocker dimmer switches. Power sockets, media plates, hotel card switches, Grid Fix and EuroFix are also available.

We’re particularly lusting after the bold Kews Leafy Florals mural by ATA Designs, which can really sing when paired with the Perception CFX switch plate. Whatever your wall covering, Hamilton’s range allows it to make a statement without distraction.

Hamilton Litestat, which sponsored the ‘‘technology’ seminar at Hotel Designs LIVE, is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email  Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image caption: Perception CFX – 1 Gang, 2 Way Rocker Switch | Image credit: Vinicius Amano/Hamilton Litestat

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: sustainable art in hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: sustainable art in hotels

Driving the industry to search for and specify sustainable art, Artelier explores sustainable artwork in luxury contexts…

The drive for sustainability has grown tremendously in the last few years, with individuals and businesses alike becoming committed to sustainable values.

The drive for sustainability has grown tremendously in the last few years, with individuals and businesses alike becoming committed to sustainable values. What once was more of a fashionable trend has rightly become a major cross-sector movement, and increasingly diverse industries are promoting eco-conscious practices. Most importantly, consumers are holding companies accountable for their claims, and want them to do more than swap out plastic straws or reuse cups. This has led to a push for innovative new concepts, uses of materials, and structural changes, so that the needs of projects are met in a significantly more sustainable way.

Within sectors such as luxury hospitality, a major question has arisen over how to deliver the exquisite interior design that a discerning clientele have come to expect, whilst also being sustainable. Naturally, the two do not need to be mutually exclusive – much of cutting-edge luxury design now favours natural materials and a stripped-back simplicity, which lends itself to sustainable products. A key way of sustainably creating adding luxury to these spaces are intelligently curated artworks. Sustainable artworks can bridge the gap between creating a stunning aesthetic experience and promoting environmentally responsible design.

As art consultants, Artelier have discovered first-hand how art can enhance and deepen a project’s focus on sustainability. Here, Artelier’s curators offer their insight into the dilemmas faced by luxury industries, and explore how inventive artists can create sustainable artworks by transforming humble materials into stunning installations.

The dilemma of decorating sustainably

After the architectural and engineering efforts in new-build projects, it is critical for the interior design to likewise be sustainable, whilst creating the right aesthetic impression. Few luxury items, however, can offer sustainability, since often they are made from materials like precious metals and rare marbles. Artworks are in themselves luxury items, and can meanwhile be produced with full sustainability in mind – artists can take basic and sustainable materials and through their craftsmanship make them luxury items. Rather than being a ‘token’ sustainable element, a newly commissioned artwork can reflect the owner’s own sustainable philosophy as each aspect of producing the artwork can be transparently low-impact.

The idea of bespoke items and artworks has long been at the height of luxury, and so many private clients have supported artists through commissioning artworks. In their pursuit of the bespoke and one-off, patrons have championed low-volume craftsmanship for their willingness to pay for artworks to be hand-made specially for them. In recent years, technology has advanced so much that a similar visual effect can be achieved – eye-catching surfaces can be cost-effectively created by companies with faux metals, resins and plastics. Whilst they meet the tastes of clients and can be seductively beautiful objects, the materials used to create these effects are not sustainable. When private clients instead choose to invest in commissioned artworks, they not only receive an ultra-bespoke interior feature, but a significantly more sustainable option.

Image credit: Artelier

Natural materials

While some contemporary artists actively use ancient craft techniques, more broadly many artists authentically engage with sustainability through using exclusively natural materials. Taking humble and widespread materials such as wood, they are able to creatively transform them into fine art. The artworks communicate the natural beauty of earth’s resources, and deeply connect viewers with the environment by making them experience nature in new and surprising ways.

One such artist is Christian Burchard, who creates wood sculptures from a tree species native to the area surrounding his studio in Oregon, USA. His expressive carving creates poetic and dynamic sculptural compositions. He aims to show viewers the essence of the wood’s natural structures, allowing the material to ‘speak its own language’, rather than imposing onto it. Artelier commissioned a collection of Burchard’s work for superyacht Pelorus (115m). The client and the interior designer used a neutral palette within the interiors, as they wanted a pure and natural design that utilised organic materials. They approached Artelier for us to identify artists that were in tune with their own materials, and would contribute to the sustainable feel of the overall design.

Artist Stuart Ian Frost’s creates site-specific installations from natural, and often foraged, raw materials. Each installation is created specially for its landscape, and Frost seeks to evoke the particularities of the individual environment. He draws inspiration from local geographical features and the raw materials themselves, but also often looks to incorporate the culture and architecture of the area. Like Burchard, Frost’s artworks seek to present nature in an unfamiliar, yet illuminating way, encouraging the viewer to challenge their own perceptions of the materials. His large-scale sculptures playfully incorporate pattern and organic shapes to transform the raw materials, giving them a newfound vitality. Meanwhile, his smaller scale artworks use foraged natural materials, such as bird quills, and represent them in expressive geometric designs.

Found materials are also central to British multi-disciplinary artist Sir Richard Long, who uses basic materials like mud or rocks to create sculptures, paintings, and installations. In so doing, he pushes the boundaries of which materials are typically considered suitable for fine art. Many of his artworks are created while on walks in landscapes, a primordial engagement between man and earth, and are left to be reclaimed by nature. His gallery artworks likewise present a visceral engagement with natural resources, such as his paintings created from mud from the Riven Avon in England; Long uses his bare hands to paint, preserving his gestures by leaving his hand and finger prints visible.

In such ways, many artists are naturally resourceful and low impact, by their use of foraged and natural materials. Conceptually, many of these artists are also inspired by how the natural world can be represented to viewers, in a way that emphasises man’s harmony with nature rather than dominance over it. Within a sustainable project, these artworks bear special significance, as they symbolise the objective behind incorporating sustainability – a re-evaluation of how humankind interacts with the environment, and how we can better preserve and respect natural resources.

Sustainability in the world of hospitality

As modern, eco-conscious people travel the world, they seek hotels that are likewise committed to sustainability. Hoteliers and hospitality designers must respond to this demand, and while efforts to promote environmentally conscious operations like reducing washing or plastic waste are worthwhile, sustainability has to be a key concern from the initial stages of hotel design to be more deeply effective.

However, when considering the sheer scale of hotels and how hotel areas will be used, ensuring sustainability throughout the hotel poses more obstacles than in private spaces. Many materials, for example, need to be more hard-wearing: carpets that use synthetic fibres are easier to clean, and often need to be synthetic in order to comply with fire safety regulations. Meanwhile, while materials like marbles or metals can be used sparingly in private properties, they are simply not sustainable at the quantity required for hotels.

Image credit: Artelier

For a hotel project to be truly sustainable, sustainability has to be a core consideration from the inception of the project. It has to be considered in everything from structural materials and utilising natural sun and ventilation, to being rigorous in sourcing reputable interior suppliers who prioritise sustainable production. In order to make sustainable hotel design more than simply tapping into a trend, new hotels have focus on longevity – much negative environmental impact comes from the waste of replacing worn-out features.

Considering this level of care to incorporate sustainability, it is essential that decorative aspects are not an afterthought to the project. After great effort has gone into sustainable design solutions, artworks can be overlooked, and in reality not be that sustainable. Whilst on an individual basis each artwork’s sustainability may not be a major source for concern, together they can make a significant impact. If every room features artworks as well as the lobby, stairwells, and spa areas, irresponsible sourcing and using even small amounts of unsustainable materials can quickly add up. It is essential, therefore, to work coherently with specialist art consultants who are able to make sourcing sustainable art straightforward, and curate the entire collection for minimal environmental impact.

In addition, sustainable artworks bring many benefits to the hotel project. If a hotel decides to compromise on luxury materials in favour of sustainability, and opt for a more neutral, pared-back approach to interior design, the artwork can become the accent or focal point in the space. Sourcing art is further a great opportunity for supporting local artists, as artworks can be created from local materials and shipping costs are minimised. Supporting sustainable artists also makes for an engaging way for the hotel to promote its values and reflect its context.

Image credit: Artelier

Communicating sustainability through art

With the move towards environmental concern, many mass-producing companies have tried to meet this demand by providing ‘sustainable’ products. However, is there really space for this in the future, when increasingly the move towards sustainability goes beyond natural materials, but also sustainable practices in the studio? Clients are trying to achieve a sense of connection in their projects, and so the individualism of makers is in itself becoming increasingly more valued. Bespoke artworks are a more authentic and personal way of decorating. A specially commissioned artwork can symbolically convey the central concerns of a client, and communicate their focus on sustainability.

Image credit: Artelier

Ever since artworks were created by ancient civilisations, artists have used their work as a traditional form of visual communication, that goes beyond simply decorative enhancement. Art engages the viewer’s attention and creates atmosphere, producing an immediate and non-verbal understanding. A basic material transformed into a large-scale art installation instantly conveys to viewers the artist’s commentary on man’s relationship with the natural world. For instance, in a commission for the headquarters of a company at the forefront of recycling innovation, Artelier commissioned a mobile sculpture that embodied the company values. Created from sustainable steam-bent wood, the mobile constantly evolves and transforms, representing the concept of recycling forms.

Art offers a way to combine luxury with truly sustainable practices, and is one of the few products to be able to do so. But it more than simply decoration – art is able to tell a story. It communicates the deeper essence of the project, and is an evocative way of representing its sustainable values. The skill of the art consultant is to be able to source artworks that stay true to the project’s commitment to sustainability, and curate them in such a way that conveys the message to a wider audience.

Artelier is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here.

Main image credit: Artelier

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Art in hotels – an accessory or a necessity?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Art in hotels – an accessory or a necessity?

As the industry prepares to makes its grand return, there’s a debate forming around art’s vital role in meaningful interior design in hospitality. Hotel Designs asks the consultants at Portobello Art to investigate… 

Art has always been present in hotels, but the role of art has evolved hugely over the last 20 years, possibly more so than any other element of hotel design.

In the 1990s and early 2000s hotel guests would see the same uninspired art of flower paintings and landscapes again and again in hotels all over the country. But the main reason for this wasn’t just the brands – it was also the technology.

It was poster artwork, where everything was on paper and what you saw is exactly what you got. The sole technology available 20 years ago was to buy cheap, mass-produced art from poster catalogues which were printed using offset lithography. Designers, chains and franchises would literally have to choose their images from the dozens of catalogues that were available to everybody, then hang them in nondescript frames.

But now, thanks to the digital revolution, printing pictures and customising them, is now so much more accessible. You can create any image in any colour, any size and you can print them on to a wide variety of materials. This has given hoteliers far more options for choosing artwork and tailoring it to fit their brand and location.

Art is no longer used as an accessory, nor as a way of following protocol for typical hotel design, but as a way of evoking emotion, playing a significant role in promoting the unique identity of a hotel and is recognised as being a key component of creating the feel and atmosphere and bringing colour, vitality and inspiration to all environments.

Something Angela Rawson, Director of AJ&Co Interior Design, with whom we’ve worked on several projects, wholeheartedly agrees. “The trend for personalisation, authenticity and a unique experience within hotel interior design is here to stay,” she says. “Hotels strive to create a sense of place for their guests to immerse themselves in local history, culture, and heritage. Visual art and curated pieces not only play a huge part in conveying this personalisation through the interior design but can add statement and talking point – whether it is literal or abstracted interpretation.

“Considered artwork enriches the personality and ambiance of a space and ties together the design narrative and interior design.”

So what kind of artwork can we expect to see?

Framed Prints are still very popular but with the help of digital enhancement even a group of framed images can mean so much more than a couple of pictures hanging on a wall as they used to be years ago.  The framed images above were all created from different sized local images (of Edinburgh), enlarged, then close up details were cropped out, all resized to the same size and framed in the same simple style to create an interesting but uniform collection of prints.

At Portobello, almost every hotel project is for bespoke products and the style is different every time.  Usually hoteliers or hotel designers will have a concept in mind with a particular theme, but it varies greatly depending on the hotel size, style and location.  Generally we will advise on what sort of artwork would work best to create the right look and ambience in that particular hotel, whether it be for framed or canvas prints, mirrors, digital wallpaper or bric-a-brac.

There will usually be either a theme or colour scheme that would need to be adhered to and as art consultants, Portobello have access to literally millions of images from online image banks and we are happy to source these for you and with our technical expertise and in-house design capabilities we can then adapt any image to fit your individual requirements.

A prime example of this was a project for the Cigar room at 10 Manchester Street, London, where the designer wanted a gallery wall of cigar smoking celebrities which we suggested should be oil paintings rather than framed prints.  So we asked our in-house artists for their own interpretation and were delighted with the overall effect.

Dining room with art on the walls

Image credit: Bespoke Hotels – No. Ten Manchester Street/Portobello Art

Artwork must not only have relevance to the hotel’s design and location but must also be fun and memorable, tell a story and therefore make their hotel stand out from the crowd.

Digitally printed wallpaper has been popular for years for feature walls in open spaces, but one-piece wallpaper has gone a step further.  This eradicates any previous issues, such as joining intrinsic designs seamlessly, as the ‘One Piece’ covers expansive areas eliminating the need for seams. There have always been some limitations with certain designs and images (like maps and faces) where the joins are notoriously difficult to match up but with one piece wallpaper the image is printed seamlessly up to five metres high and almost any width imaginable!  This has now given us the ability to create enormous collages made up of numerous individual images which was not previously possible with normal digitally printed wallpaper.

One example which illustrates this  is the Holiday Inn in Liverpool where they wanted to add some interest to a huge blank wall in the restaurant. This was great fun to create, first sourcing all the separate images, in a Liverpudlian theme of course, and then merging them all together to create a dramatic collage.

Image credit: Holiday Inn/Portobello Art

Visual art in hotels and their public spaces influences a visitor’s first impressions, and sets the tone for the rest of the hotel. Artwork isn’t just what hangs on the walls but also the Bric-a-brac (decorative accessories) displayed around the open spaces. One of the biggest trends over the last few years has been in hotel lobbies where it is no longer just a place for arrivals and departures.  IHG’s introduction in 2013 of the Open Lobby Concept has created a flexible environment were guests can eat, drink, work, meet, relax, socialise and have fun in one integrated space.

Portobello is delighted to have been involved in IHG’s concept from the beginning and have provided artwork and bric-a-brac for many Holiday Inns over the last few years and indeed, as this trend has taken hold, to other hotel chains who are also embracing the concept as well.

Image credit: Holiday Inn/Portobello Art

Can a hotel be updated / refurbished by changing the artwork alone?

As a hotel owner or manager, you might dread the idea of going through a renovation. After all, it’s a huge expense — one that often requires you to scale back operations for a period of time and all of the work can be an inconvenience to your guests, which in turn can have an impact on future business.

However, simply avoiding renovations isn’t a wise choice, since it can diminish the attraction and value of your property.

So updating the artwork every 2 or 3 years, with a new coat of paint on the walls, could definitely give a refreshing lift to a hotel without going through the upheaval of a full renovation and replacing all the furniture, carpets and wallcoverings etc.

Certainly for bedrooms or corridors this is entirely possible. Normally the standard bedroom artwork will be fairly understated so designers often have one large piece of artwork above the bed, and these could easily be changed every few years.

Image credit: Holiday Inn/Portobello Art

It would be a bit more challenging in the lobby and reception areas where something more dramatic and memorable is needed to create that real WOW factor but as long as existing artwork can be replaced with a new image that compliments the existing décor.

This can be seen in the images below where we provided artwork for two very different hotels. The ultra-modern Holiday Inn in the centre of Bristol wanted a local image so we suggested having a black and white image of Brunel’s S.S. Great Britain, and created it as a huge picture on multiple tiled canvas prints.  It certainly brought some drama to the contemporary reception area. And for The Langley, a luxurious 18th century manor house in Buckinghamshire, it had to be original paintings showing the opulence and timeless luxury of elegant country living.

Image credit: Holiday Inn/Portobello Art and The Langley, Marriott/Portobello Art

There has always been artwork on display in hotels but in the last 10 years art has become very on trend and in some cases is almost used as therapy; it can help inspire, console, comfort and reawaken us, and is necessary to create these emotions and lure the guest into the whole experience.  Various scientific studies show that when looking at a beautiful art piece, you feel better, so it helps in uplifting the mood of the guests and making them feel at ease in that perfectly designed space.

Another designer we’ve done work for, Joanna Knight of J K Interiors,  reinforces this. “The use of artwork in hospitality interiors is absolutely integral to the interior scheme,” she explains. “It can pull a whole scheme together, convey a deeper meaning to the guest, and invoke an emotional response that comforts, excites or stirs the inquisitive mind.

“Whatever feeling the designer is trying to elicit, can be reinforced or enhanced by the use of appropriate artwork. Conversely, poorly thought through and executed artwork can leave the guest feeling ‘flat’ and underwhelmed – which in turn can colour their judgement of the hospitality space and the time they want to spend in it.”

From boutique hotels to international chains all hotels will usually remain faithful to their brand image, simply because brand matters more than anything else in the hospitality industry. Guests will often choose the same hotel chain because they like the “feel” of it. Every aspect of the decor, including the art, needs to provide that comforting familiarity.

While artwork may not always be the first thing guests notice when they walk into a hotel, it can certainly make a big impact on the overall design and feel. When done right, artwork can be the focal point of any hotel lobby or guestroom, and should be considered as important as any other major design element.

Portobello Art 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: Marriott Courtyard/Portobello Art

A new generation of luxury: Curating art for hotels

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
A new generation of luxury: Curating art for hotels

As international art consultants, Artelier specialises in curating art for luxury hospitality, residential, yacht and aviation projects. Here, the brand explains how art curation is vast becoming the new luxury on the international hotel design scene…

When travelling the world in pursuit of new experiences or as part of a sophisticated business trip, what does the high-end traveller look for in a luxury hotel?

How could a hotel lobby or presidential suite be given an added edge, so that it exceeds the expectations of the discerning traveller who is accustomed to the highest standards of worldwide luxury?

Often, art in the hotel sector may veer into leaving an unremarkable impression – it can be tasteful and pleasing, but altogether unsurprising, as it blends into an invisible layer of the interior design scheme.

By contrast, hotel art collections that have been thoughtfully and intelligently researched, curated and commissioned are the ideal opportunity to offer guests something that rises to the calibre of the luxury connoisseur. Memorable art which resonates with the hotel context, whilst elegantly communicating the mood and design of a space, can set the tone for an experience that is not only first-class, but extraordinary.

Image credit: Artelier

Merging worlds of hospitality & private residential

Recently, the distinctions between hospitality and high-end residential have become increasingly blurred. London developments like the Mayfair Park Residences and 20 Grosvenor Square are examples of a new generation of super-prime private residences. They have not only been designed by the most revered interior designers with no expense spared on the finishes, furniture and collector’s art, but also provide for a lifestyle where the property is fully managed and serviced by five-star hotels – complete with 24hr concierge and a chauffeur driven Rolls Royce. The two worlds have seamlessly merged, whereby the private overseas home transcends into a permanent and completely exclusive presidential suite – no sharing this space with world leaders.

Whilst the customer service of the hospitality industry has brought new standards to private residences, the opportunity for the private residential world to inform hotel design and artwork curation has remained ever-elusive and behind closed doors. The typical hotel art consultant has had limited or often no involvement with the residences, private yachts and aircraft of this clientele. However, with the two worlds closer than ever before, the need to understand the expectations of the elite hotel guest has rarely been greater.

Offering a rare insight

As specialists in curating and commissioning art for a variety of luxury projects, Artelier has cross-sector expertise. Initially established as an art advisory for private clients, more than 70 per cent of their projects involve consulting directly with private clients and their team to deliver bespoke art in their residences, yachts, and private jets. Likewise, through their collaborations with luxury designers and developers, they have been privy to every stage of the design process behind the world’s most exclusive contexts.

Of these projects, a large proportion have been superyachts between 70-160m in length – with artwork collections delivered for 16 superyachts so far, many of which showcase at Monaco Yacht Show each year. Of course, private aircraft projects are few and far between, but over the years Artelier has had the privilege of developing bespoke artworks for a privately owned Boeing BBJ 737, Airbus A320 and most prestigious of all a Boeing BBJ 787 Dreamliner.

In order to protect the confidentiality and privacy of high-end clients, projects of this nature are always wrapped up with non-disclosure agreements; therefore, images and awareness of these elusive projects never surface, and remain tight-lipped amongst a closed community. Having established a trusted reputation within this sector and elite community, Artelier’s professional experience of working directly on these projects gives them an exceedingly rare insight into the artistic standards and tastes of the high net worth client, and an intimate understanding of what it takes to bring the best to luxury travellers.

Image credit: Artelier

Dismantling the typical luxury aesthetic

It goes without saying that anything that is easily found, ubiquitous and characteristically similar to its counterparts will fall not even close to the aesthetic criteria of a sophisticated and discerning client. The boom in internet art databases, online mood boards and interiors trends has provided a ready-made database where many art consultants simply browse for inspiration, often following trends and popular themes which leads them into a generic pool of luxury aesthetic. For Artelier to meet the expectations of its clients, it is vital for to avoid this type of research in order to create collections which present true originality of ideas, and innovative use of materials.

A guiding principle of their research methods is to discover artists organically, from the ground up – they seek to become embedded into international artist communities, and build a strong repertoire of associated artists through in-depth research and networking.

Artelier’s database of 10,000 artists is a culmination of 20 years of research and art market expertise, and is ever-expanding due to their team’s commitment to meeting artists at open-studios and spotting exciting emerging work at graduate shows. With a trained eye, it is possible to maintain the highest standards by looking for artistic integrity and quality of craftsmanship, rather than being driven by popular trends. Due to this organic research approach, the database is a reflection of the full spectrum of art practices in the world today.

Image credit: Artelier

Drawing on these artists, they can then respond to any theme that the client is interested in with high-quality artworks created by professional artists, who are capable of meeting the standards that such luxury projects demand. Since they do not rely on generic online searches for their research, it is possible to bypass the trappings of the “typical” luxury aesthetic, and present dynamic art collections that are ahead of the curve.

 Nurturing artistic talent through commissions

The most exclusive clientele seek something that is not available elsewhere. A sense of luxury often comes from ultimate customisation, as the client receives art that is unique to their context, interests, tastes and property location. A key part of Artelier’s role is therefore collaborating with artists to explore concepts and to develop new artworks that are wholly unique to the client, and true to the vision of the project.

With 20 years’ experience of working with artists, Artelier has developed an instinct for which concepts will work, and which won’t. Close liaison with client and artist ensures that the client’s vision is fulfilled, making it advantageous to have the same team overseeing the commissioning process from concept to completion.

It is fundamental to have a comprehensive understanding of the artistic processes, techniques and different mediums. This leads to a mutually beneficial collaboration with the artist, and helps bring their creative insight to the project. The result is a one-of-a-kind artwork that creates impact in a space, and brings together the collective ideas of the client, art consultant and artist.

Every project necessitates fresh research that is focussed on the particular needs of the brief. Clients for a hotel project regularly want to incorporate artists, for example, who are linked to a specific region or heritage. Quality should not be compromised when working to such specific requirements; instead, it is crucial to filter for high-quality work and spot potential in emerging artists, and nurture their development to create ambitious new works. Supporting emerging artists from a local region in this way is a rewarding process for both client and artist; the client is acknowledged for supporting local grassroots arts practice, whilst the artist gains valuable professional experience and exposure.

Image credit: Artelier

The four pillars of luxury hotel art

Curating art that truly creates impact in hotel spaces comes down to our four critical standards

1) Quality research makes the difference – Responding to a client’s brief in a surprising way requires thorough, in-depth research, which is amassed over time. Artworks which are obvious choices, or are easily found online, will fall short of the expectations of a discerning client. Interpreting a theme in a way that is visually interesting requires a breadth of knowledge and creative thinking, in order to form subtle connections that go beyond design trends. Rather than seeking inspiration from online mood board platforms and search engines, discovering high-quality artists and establishing direct links with them gives a spectrum of interesting artworks that can be drawn on in response to a brief.

2) Rarity is Key – The rarity of an artwork is a fundamental consideration for the luxury market – an artist’s work should be sought after, yet have an element of exclusivity. Artists who produce a limited number of artworks for selected projects offer this kind of exclusivity, since they invest time and craftsmanship into their work. The client understands the value of high-quality pieces created specially for them, enjoying the knowledge that few others will have comparable artworks in their spaces. Commissioning your own bespoke art is an ultimate mark of rarity, as it allows the client to own an artwork unique to them.

3) Integrating with interiors – Art has a unique ability to elevate a space; rather than being an afterthought, it should therefore be considered at the conception of a development project. Specialist curatorial skill is required to read a space and identify opportunities for creating statement pieces which are also in harmony with their surroundings. Commissioning artworks allows a new level of customisation – it is possible to consult the artist and create art that enhances the design scheme, highlighting subtle colour palettes and metallic finishes by incorporating them in the artwork.

4) Presentation & framing – An outstanding artwork can be let down by careless final presentation, yet it is still an often overlooked aspect of incorporating art in a space. Both high and low value works enormously benefit from well-thought out framing and finishes – artworks can be cleverly enhanced simply through elegant framing solutions, considered curation within a space, and fine-tuning the installation. Final touches need not be expensive, as the economies of scale afforded by hotel projects often allow excellent relative costs in comparison to residential projects. Artelier has also developed an extensive fine art framing range, which offers full customisation depending on the needs of the project.

Artelier 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: Artelier

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: The fine art of story telling

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
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

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Using glass meaningfully in hotel public spaces

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Using glass meaningfully in hotel public spaces

While Europe is gradually reopening after lockdown measures have started to be relaxed, hotels are entering an adapted era of hospitality. Portobello Art explains how the story could be narrated behind glass walls (in public areas at least)…

With a glimmer of hope on the horizon from the latest government announcement that hotels might be able to reopen in July, all hoteliers, big and small, will now be planning their reopening scenarios and adapting their offerings based on current advice and guidelines in order to keep their staff and guests safe.

The requirements will be very strict and one of the main priorities of course will be to implement social distancing policies.  This means the design and layout of public spaces, including reception desks, lobbies and restaurants, is going to have to change to allow for this.

One of the obvious solutions would be to introduce Acrylic/Perspex or Glass screens in these areas which would provide effective separation without affecting the brightness of the overall venue.

But rather than introducing plain see through screens which might make your venues look too institutional, why not give free rein to your imagination and consider adding bespoke images to create a bit of fun and make your spaces more interesting.

Portobello Art can source images and/or create bespoke artwork to suit any theme or style and print vinyl manifestations at any size to fit any screen.

The artwork can be informative.

Image credit: Portobello Art

Or decorative.

Image credit: Portobello Art

Or promotional… using branding or inspiration.

Image credit: Portobello Art

Any size – small or large.

Image credit: Portobello Art

The most difficult areas are probably going to be the restaurants and here are a couple of ideas for going forward.

Image credit: Portobello Art

If you have enough space in your restaurants you could create a Glass/Perspex box per table with dividing screens or if you have outside dining areas, a bit extreme, but why not have small greenhouses (as seen here in the Netherlands!).  You’re only limited by your own imagination!

In all seriousness, exterior areas could be the way to go with outside dining over the summer months, enabling social distancing to be created more easily.  There are numerous varieties of partitioning available but rest assured that all our vinyl manifestations can be used safely and securely on any outdoor screening solutions.

Whatever your requirements, our designers are here to help you create innovative artwork to brighten up your venues.

Portobello Art 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: Portobello Art

The limitless possibilities of art in hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
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

close up of wall partition in the restaurant

How twenty2degrees redesigned Budapest Marriott Hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How twenty2degrees redesigned Budapest Marriott Hotel

Hotel Designs follows twenty2degrees, which has just completed a two-phase refurbishment of Budapest Marriott Hotel…

Whenever a project completes from The Brit List 2019 accredited design firm twenty2desgrees, you know that its design is going to do three things: 1) stand out from the crowd, 2) be full of personality and 3) have meaning. The team’s latest project, Budapest Marriott Hotel, is no exception of that unwritten, yet widely known, rule.

close up of wall partition in the restaurant

Phase one of the renovation began with the brand’s signature ‘greatroom’ concept, which harmonises reception, lobby lounge, bar and restaurant in a single open space, followed by the hotel’s function and meeting rooms. The result not only aligns with brand expectations but, thanks to the designers’ introduction of local context and artistic provenance, feels absolutely at home in this historic and creative city.

Large contemporary partition in lobby/f&B area

Image credit: Marriott International/twenty2degrees

Tucked along the banks of the Danube River, the hotel overlooks some of the capital’s most iconic landmarks including the Chain Bridge and Buda Castle. The 50-year old building belongs to the Brutalist mid-twentieth style of architecture, and the designers pay homage to the concrete façade with a new stone sculptural relief in the lobby. Beyond this, however, the interiors are now modern and tactile with numerous residential-style details to ensure guests feel at their ease from the moment they arrive. The firm, headed up by Nicolas Stoupas and Joseph Stella, has also introduced Marriott’s first ‘disruptive bar’ – a free-standing island bar in the lounge designed to evolve through the day, from morning coffee and pastry service, to cocktails and snacks in the evening.

Large and comfortable lobby/lounge area

Image credit: Marriott International/twenty2degrees

“While addressing all the ‘Marriott Modern’ touchpoints, we felt it was important to also capture the rich essence of Budapest, a vibrant European city with a tremendous amount of history and a vast number of creative individuals, both past and present, from whom to draw inspiration,” explained Stella, Creative Director of twenty2degrees. “Whenever we begin a new project, we first look to the brief in order to form the bare bones of the design. Then we explore the locality in order to added layered design elements”.

The work of Hungary’s renowned Bauhaus designer, Marcel Breuer, and artist, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, was the inspiration for the specially designed carpets and the refined-yet-elaborate decorative screens throughout the Greatroom. Integrated as an artistic and architectural element, they also serve to zone the space without shutting off any areas. These areas include: The Individual Zone for guests to relax, read, work and enjoy a coffee or a light snack, The Social Zone that is centred on the Liz and Chain Bar, and The Guest Service Zone where customers check in. Zones are defined by varying colour palettes as well as by different seating, tables and lighting options. The multi-functional, open plan scheme is designed to reflect our modern lifestyle where the opposing demands for privacy and human connection, work and socialising need to be met within a flexible space.

large island in the middle of modern F&B area

Image credit: Marriott International/twenty2degrees

Together with cubist shapes and Bauhaus curves, twenty2degrees’ celebration of the local is continued through a collaboration with contemporary local artists, Janos Huszti, Petyka, and Stefan Osnowski. Their pieces, as well as a collection of traditional paintings and prints and integrated artworks compliment the colour scheme and provide an impressive gallery feel to some of the areas.

The meeting and banqueting spaces boast stunning views of the city. Together they represent 17,000 square feet of versatile space that includes Grand Budapest Ballroom, Ballroom Terrace, and a number of flexible meeting rooms. The redesigned spaces display similar aesthetic values to the Greatroom, echoing Bauhaus principles, favouring functionality over ornamentation and asymmetry over symmetry. They too are modern and tactile, combining cubist inspired forms with a contemporary design style.

Main image credit: Marriott International/twenty2degrees

Talking ‘art logistics’ with Momentous’ Dan Moore

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Talking ‘art logistics’ with Momentous’ Dan Moore

Art specialist logistics company Momentous’ new GM meets editor Hamish Kilburn to discuss market growth and misconceptions in art logistics…

Momentous, the specialist logistics company, have recently welcomed Dan Moore as its General Manager. With extensive management experience within the specific sector of the industry, covering commercial, FF&E, Workplace, Fine Art, Storage, UK and International project management, Moore joined us to tell us more about how he plans to support the hospitality industry’s booming art scene.

Hamish Kilburn: What sets Momentous aside from any other logistics company?  
Dan Moore: Momentous provide clients a turnkey solution to their logistical challenges. We’re not an ordinary logistics company, we have an experienced team with diverse backgrounds, which only adds value to our clients’ projects. What makes us unlike any other logistics company is our approach:

        • Zero downtime
        • Saving money through expert planning and advice
        • Project delivered with in timescales and budget costs
        • Delivered excellence through innovation
        • Money would have been saved
        • A trusted relationship would have been built
        • Over 40 years’ industry experience
        • We take responsibility for our actions
        • We care

“My background is based on relationships, I believe this is the best route to market.” Dan Moore, General Manager, Momentous

HK: How will your experience in this market help Momentous’ growth?
I’ve been in the logistics industry for more than 13 years now, and have a passion for the industry and leadership. I’ve come from a diverse background that can only add to the development of Momentous. Over previous years, I have been involved in Workplace Solutions and FF&E, working with some leading brands delivering turn key solutions for their projects. My background is based on relationships, I believe this is the best route to market.  I’m excited to develop the team and work alongside some great people, as mentioned I’m passionate about leading and feel these skills will help motivate and retain our existing team and attract new talent to our business.  A good business starts with employing good people!

HK: What would you say is the biggest misconception about art logistics?
Dare I say “money” – when you mention you’re in the world of Art Logistics, they automatically assume you must be very successful and there’s lot of money in that market. However, over the years the cost per job has declined and it’s become harder and harder to win business in this sector, unless you have some relationships on going and in place! Buyer’s of art are very conscious of the price when it comes to shipping and taking care of it. In some cases we see the “Man & Van” handle the work.

“Art finds a good fit to the hotel industry.” – Dan Moore, General Manager, Momentous

HK: How has the art arena in hotels changed in recent years, and why is that?
DM: Like a lot of industries, you need to stay fresh and current and find different ways of attracting visitors and customers. I think art finds a good fit to the hotel industry. In regards to design, hotels are considering innovative ideas rather than the traditional look.

HK: Explain the day-to-day role of a General Manager in your industry?
DM: Well, every day can be different and particularly for me. Balancing revenue targets with margin expectation can always be challenging and I am sure in any industry. As General Manager your role is overseeing the brand in its entirety from H&S to Budgets and all the in-between. I think motivation, development and leadership are key roles as a GM as well as analytical skills to be able to challenge the status quo.  For me, I like being involved in the selling of our services too, I’m always active in developing new relationships or pitching to a new client.

Momentous is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Momentous

FEATURE: It’s time to art-en up more design hotels around the world

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
FEATURE: It’s time to art-en up more design hotels around the world

Art expert Tabish Khan writing for Momentous explains the real value of art on the international hotel design scene… 

If you’ve stayed in hotels, then you’ve probably rested up in one that had some generic abstract artwork or an Impressionist reprint on the walls. This lack of imagination is pretty common but what happens when hotels take a more innovative approach to designing their rooms and reception?

Often it makes sense for a hotel to team up with a nearby gallery as Thompsons Contemporary did with the Hyatt Regency in Marylebone and Curious Duke Gallery with East London local Hoxton Hotel — the urban vibe of Curious Duke’s artists aligning perfectly with the East London feel the hotel is aiming for.

My most impressive experience has been at Kensington’s Exhibitionist Hotel who both hold exhibitions and literally deck the halls with artwork. I’ve seen a pink panther by Olga Lomaka watching over a doorway and a corridor given to Mr Doodle to decorate with his trademark doodles.

Reaching out beyond London is Toronto’s Gladstone hotel where artists have designed 37 of the rooms so each stay can feel individual, plus it also has its own gallery to host changing exhibitions.

For those looking at the pricier end of hotel stays there’s always the Gormley shaped room at the Beaumont in Mayfair, though from the pictures it looks more interesting from the outside – defeating the point of paying over £1,200 per night to stay there.

All these examples are a welcome change from the generic art and magnolia walls that have greeted me at most hotels I’ve stayed in – let’s hope more hotels take this approach in future and that they’re within the price range of this traveller who likes to keep his holidays affordable.

If you are interested in this subject, you may be interested in reading about Logistical challenges you don’t hear about when installing art in hotels globally.

Main image credit: Olga Lomaka at The Exhibitionist Hotel

The Mandrake welcomes new artist in residence

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Mandrake welcomes new artist in residence

London’s Mandrake Hotel will welcome celebrated photographer Haris Nukem from November 2 – 11 as he takes up residency in Studio 5 as part of the hotel’s Artist in Residence programme…

The Mandrake, known for its exquisitely designed spaces, provocative and thought invoking art, designed the Artist in Residence programme to celebrate both emerging and established artists and performers.

The hotel extends guests’ artistic interaction from merely viewing the artwork by providing a unique opportunity to interact with artists and witness the creative process. Guest are often part of the work itself, whether that be paintings, photography, tattoo or mural. By involving guests in this unique process, the hotel truly honours its ‘stay beyond yourself’ philosophy.

The programme, designed to allow guests and visitors an up close and personal account of the creative process of creating art, has hosted big names including Mark Mahoney, Azzi Glasser, Danny Minnick, Peter John De Villiers, Zoobs and Thomas Hooper.

Image caption/credit: Dopamine and Leadership Qualities by Haris Nukem

During his residency, Nukem will be creating one photoshoot per day within The Mandrake, where guests are able to interact and engage with Nukem and the creative process. The hotel’s dedicated art space, Studio 5, will showcase a selection of Nukem’s art for guests to view.

For an insight into Nukem’s residency, follow @mandrake_air to get behind the scenes access.

Main image caption/credit: We Need Heroes by Haris Nukem

Logistical challenges you don’t hear about when installing art in hotels globally

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Logistical challenges you don’t hear about when installing art in hotels globally

Kickstarting our time putting Art under the editorial spotlight, Giles Bristow, fine art and logistics specialist at Momentous, lifts the lid on some of the issues you don’t hear about when installing art in hotels…  

Just like every art collection, art installed in hotels is unique. Art comes in all shapes, sizes and mediums. From one-of-a-kind drawings, oil on canvas and complex works, audio-visual, large sculptures or hanging installations.

Especially since the rise of using ‘art outside the frame’ in an interior design scheme, designers, architects and hoteliers are also thinking outside the box to come up with new ways to inject personality within their hotel. Therefore, the install process, which often looks on the outside to run seamlessly, also has to be personalised for the project as well as the building that will shelter it and the works themselves. With the aim to dig beneath the surface on what it actually takes to logistically transport and install art, here are some of the common challenges.

We are commonly required to incorporate the installation of fine art into the hotel logistics and installation programmes we manage for our clients. In these cases, we engage our fine art team who work in close coordination with our FF&E logistics team. Fine art installation requires a unique set of skills, especially when artworks, by their nature are irreplaceable, so having the relevant technicians who understand the medium and the works are able to define the correct techniques and employ these in the art logistics and installation processes is critical to success.

Starting early

Installing art is not like any other part of the project. You are installing unique and one of a kind pieces so there is a lot more that goes into the logistics planning, specifically in the early stages of the project.

The installation is critical but there are many specialist logistical aspects that must be worked through before the artworks are ready for installation.

Image credit: Matetsi Victoria Falls. Each suite includes an abstract art piece that when put together forms a map off the safari reserve the hotel sits on.

“In every case, we work directly with the artist to fully understand the works and define the best form of preservation.”

Where is your artwork coming from?

We generally work in consultation with the party who has commissioned the work, for example the interior designer, curator and the artist. This means that there will be production times and arrangements that we need preparation to be made prior to collection, coordinating transportation, bringing into storage and inventory control. Preparing the works for transportation is key. Many large pieces will require crating which we organise in coordination with the artist making these according to a specific specification set by our technicians. In every case, we work directly with the artist to fully understand the works and define the best form of preservation. If works are being procured, or even on loan, we would normally work with the gallery or collector to arrange for the packing, crating and handling. You need to ensure that your art is protected so it arrives on location in optimum condition. We would normally provide a detailed condition report of the items before packing and transporting.


Momentous has transported artwork from overseas galleries, historic pieces and enormous sculptures. In each case, we have to consider the most effective method of transport. Moving art within the UK or across Europe will invariably be by road but it is not the case that it can go on a standard vehicle, it needs a specialist fine art vehicle. Roads often suffer from potholes and city centres have speed control bumps. This means art needs to be transported on trucks with sufficient air-ride suspension and have the necessary anchoring in place to avoid damage, there may also be a need for climate-controlled transportation although this is less common for art installed in a hotel. Even with the best packing and crating methods it is still easy to sustain damage if the wrong transportation method is used.

We also transport artwork internationally, importing unique items for a project from overseas. In these circumstances, managing the customs process becomes critical as there are materials and items that are subject to restrictions and there can be complicated customs and tax requirements attached which we deal with as part of the process of arranging the international shipment by air and sea. I would always recommend consulting with a specialist international art shipping expert to check you have everything covered and don’t get stuck.

Condition reporting, storage and inventory management

Your artworks will be brought in to be held in storage until they are ready for distribution to site and installation. This may require specialist storage with racking and additional security standards to the rest of your FF&E inventory.

Individual artworks would be expected to have a condition report before being packed and moved. The best form of condition reporting is electronic, with photographic evidence and detailed notes that can be referenced. Condition reports are one of the main aspects regarding administration of artwork, this process can be carried out several times during a project from the original collection point, to delivery into our warehouse and to the installation point.

Storage options will need to be assessed as different types of artwork require different types of storage for example temperature controlled, oversized items, heavy sculptures that require bespoke pallets, travel frames and crates.

Image credit: Silo Hotel, Cape Town

“When it comes to the point of installation, having someone on the project who understands your vision and the nature of the artwork is going to make a big difference.”

Understand the medium and space

When it comes to the point of installation, having someone on the project who understands your vision and the nature of the artwork is going to make a big difference. Understanding the materials and the mediums of the works will ensure that the installation process is smooth, and the artwork is displayed to make a maximum impact. Our art technicians will advise on the use of light and any potential environmental factors that could damage the works such as excessive heat, light or moisture. An experienced technician will understand the requirements of the artworks and the space and advise on every aspect to define the best way to install the works and fulfil your project plan.

Specialist technicians, qualifications and equipment

Your project manager will select the best team of Art Technicians to support your project specification and the work package requirements. Some projects also require technicians to have CSCS cards and attend site inductions prior to starting work on site. Technicians will follow the floor plans and the work package that has been agreed by both the project management team and designer.

Certain types of lifting equipment can be required during the installation, for example we use external elevators, cranes, genie lifts, gantry’s and scissor tables. Your project manager would discuss these with you in consultation with the technician.

Considerations when delivering to site

Your logistics project manager will ensure coordination of storage and transport services based on the requirements of your overall project plan. If your installation is phased, then specific items will be selected according to a pick list, then prepared, packed and consolidated as a consignment ready for transport and delivery. They will also need to prepare all the necessary documentation and customs preparations if this is an international delivery.

At location, many hotels, especially in city locations, have access limitations that require assessing early in the project. This should be conducted by your accredited logistics specialist. Risks will need to be assessed expertly, especially taking into account health and safety measures needed to prevent damage to people and the site.

Your project manager will need to define route plans of your site from delivery point to installation point. These need to be checked daily as working hotels can be very busy which can sometimes lead to routes being obstructed.

Always factor for noise levels too. If you have guests or local residents, then noise cancelling measures need to be taken. We also carry out work during weekends or evenings depending on the needs of the project.

On-site installation

All works will be installed as per the project plan set out by the designers, curator and project management team in coordination with the art technicians. A pre-installation survey will check both access and type of material that the works will be installed against. A risk assessment and method of works are often provided depending on the project specification.

The type of surface that the artwork will be displayed on or fixed to will define the type of tools and equipment that will need to be used.  For example, drilling into marble must be handled differently to drilling into materials such as panelled or plaster walls, carpet walls, wallpapered areas and wooden walls.

The type of surface on which the art is being displayed or being hung from should be able to sustain the mass of the artwork. Weight and pull test certificates must be provided for any hanging works or pieces that are considered heavy. We must also consider the age of the building looking if and where required do we need to have asbestos certifications for health and safety reasons.

As your artworks tend to be displayed in locations that are in reach of guests, then health and safety is going to be high on the list and may also want to consider that your artwork is valuable too. Therefore, fixings must be considered. Your project manager and technician should advise on the safety of fixings and special security fittings. They will also provide written method statements where construction and build are involved.

If you are installing artwork, then it is recommended that the installation is conducted by art technicians. The level of experience and skills required will be defined by the medium, size, weight and complexity of the items you require installing and the space you are installing them in; height, access, safety requirements, risks, access and others. Ensuring you have the right skills on-site and a logistics project manager who understands art installation and is able to engage technicians with the correct level of experience will help a great deal.

After all the artworks are installed, the crew will complete an internal snagging report for your team to sign off. They will be able to accommodate and advise on any adaptations that you request.

Anything else?

Bringing fine art into your project opens a whole new range of creative possibilities. Unique works can enrich the customer experience and differentiate your residence from the market.

If you are incorporating art, you are also investing in and creating a collection. You should ensure your works are insured from the point they are collected. Depending on the works, you may need to have valuations, you will also want to ensure you have an updated inventory of what you have on display as well as those you have in storage.

About Momentous

Momentous provides specialist logistics solutions for interior design, events and fine art installations.

  1. FF&E logistics for interior design and hotels
  2. Event and tour logistics for the performing arts
  3. Fine art logistics and installations

Having all these services available through Momentous, means that we can support you with all your specialist packing, crating, condition reporting, storage, consolidation, FF&E inventory management, shipping and installation requirements.

Visit the website for more information

Main image credit: Paradiso Ibiza Art Hotel

SPOTLIGHT ON: October’s features announced

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SPOTLIGHT ON: October’s features announced

Hotel Designs has officially dropped its October editorial features, which are Lighting in Public Areas and Art…

For the second time this year, as a result of ever-evolving LED technology and consumer demands, Hotel Designs is putting lighting under the editorial spotlight, this time specifically looking at innovative lighting schemes outside the guestrooms and suites. Lighting in public areas and art will be the main focus of conversations on the website throughout October.

Lighting in public areas

Due to popular demand, we have decided to revisit lighting as one of our Spotlight On features of 2019. Throughout October, will highlight key lighting trends that are happening in the public areas.


Extremely reclined interiors with personal interiorsWorking hand-in-hand with lighting in the public areas, we will position the spotlight to focus on art in international hotel design. This continues to be one of our most popular features of the year as we understand how art in the hotel arena is changing to create even more immersive spaces.

If you wish to find out more about Recommended Supplier packages, or know of a product that we should be talking about, please email Katy Phillips

Main image credit: antonovich-design

LBTQ+ artists and allies come out in force for charity art exhibition

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
LBTQ+ artists and allies come out in force for charity art exhibition

Pop-up art exhibition ‘Queer Frontiers’, displaying LBTQ+ artists, takes place this weekend during London Pride 2019…

Queer Frontiers is set to celebrate the work of LGBTQ+ artists and allies with a pop-up exhibition and events programme open to the public from July 4 – 10 2019, during Pride in London. The exhibition will feature 31 artworks by 26 emerging and established artists, ranging from painting and photography to sculpture and screenprints.

Proceeds from the sale of the artwork will go to support charities akt and Switchboard and LGBTQ+ artists and allies, with either 50 per cent or 100 per cent of sales donated at the individual artists’ discretion.

The final curation for this year’s event was selected by art consultants ARTIQ (the event’s instigators and organisers); event sponsors and specialist insurers Hiscox and specially-invited judges from The Whitechapel Art Gallery. The chosen artworks include sculpture by Sam Shendi, photographic images by leading Italian photographer Paolo Raeli and artist Teo Robinson; artworks by Helen Beard, Bernard Fournier, textile artist Henry Hussey and leading street and installation artists Sickboy and Maser, as well as some of the most exciting up-and-coming artists selected by the judges, following an open call for submissions.

“We’ve been blown away by the standard and number of serious works of art offered to ‘Queer Frontiers’ this year’” Patrick McCrae, CEO of ARTIQ commented. ‘As a consultancy, we’re very proud of our commitment to the LBGTQ+ community and the efforts of our team in making this event a success. It represents a great opportunity for buyers to purchase artworks from some of the most exciting new names in art and to raise funds for two charities who work with vulnerable young people and offer a listening service to the community.”

The 2019 event will include a week-long free-entry pop-up exhibition at 8-10 Brewer Street (above the soon-to-reopen legendary Soho club Madame JoJo’s), London W1, alongside a Pride party on July 6th, arts programming, such as life-drawing classes for the young people akt supports and a panel discussion with Creative Industries Federation from 6-9pm on July 10th.

Organisers, art consultancy ARTIQ, celebrate ten years in business this year, as leading pioneers in encouraging businesses to embed creativity and harness the power of art to improve wellbeing, enhance experience and promote the values and character of their business or brand. To date, ARTIQ and its clients have paid out over £3million to artists, makers and arts institutions. The company also founded and co-sponsors The Graduate Art Prize, now in its 7th year, which promotes the best young artistic talent emerging from Britain’s colleges and universities.

Full exhibition details:

ARTIQ & Hiscox present: Queer Frontiers at 8-10 Brewer St, Soho:
July 4: 10am-5pm (charity workshop 12-2pm)
July 5: 10am-5pm
July 6: 3pm-5pm (Pride party)
July 7: 10am-5pm
July 8: 10am-5pm
July 9: 10am-5pm (charity workshop 12-2pm)
July 10: 10am-3pm

Queer Frontiers was founded in 2018, set up by leading art consultancy ARTIQ as an expression of solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community globally, with artworks chosen because they investigate gender or sexuality, as well as issues relating to race, society and the environment. In 2018, for the first ever Queer Frontiers event, ARTIQ took over a pop-up space on Old Compton Street during, and with the support of, Pride in London, to provide a platform for and showcase the outstanding talents of a diverse range of international artists, with all artworks available for sale and profits given to LGBTQ+ charity London LGBTQ+ Community Centre.

“Celebrating Pride wherever you are means different things to each of us’, added Richard Watson, Group Chief Underwriting Officer, Hiscox. ‘We’re looking forward to seeing all the artists bringing it to life in the exhibition and beyond.”

This year, Queer Frontiers is back, bigger and better than ever with judging assistance from The Whitechapel Art Gallery and new sponsorship from specialist insurer and arts supporter Hiscox.

Main image credit: Flying Lessons by Paolo Raeli

5 examples of art outside the frame at Clerkenwell Design Week

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 examples of art outside the frame at Clerkenwell Design Week

Clerkenwell Design Week once again inspired designers, architects and Londoners alike to celebrate London as a creative design hub. Editor Hamish Kilburn identifies five installations that took art outside the frame…

In seven exhibitions across London’s much-loved design district, exhibitors at Clerkenwell Design Week displayed the latest products and emerging trends on the market.

But in between each tented venue, creepy crypt and a deserted nightclub were a number of artists, designers and architects reflecting their creativity on the city’s streets. CDW showcased commissioned site specific installations across Clerkenwell. For CDW’s 10 year anniversary, visitors were asked to expect the most exciting street spectacles yet, and here were just a handful of the main attractions.

Once Upon A Time

Main image credit: Sophie Mutevelian/Once Upon a Time

The installation took inspiration from the rich and sometimes dark historical tales of Clerkenwell. For the initiative, CDW collaborated with Chelsea College of Arts, BA Graphic Design Communication students to create a series of graphic installations inspired by the stories relating to the significant locations. The six winning entries were selected by a judging panel including; Max Fraser, CDW Content Editor; Priya Khanchandani, ICON Editor, and David Barnett, Chelsea College of Art Course Leader, BA Graphic Design Communication. In conjunction with the project, Lansdown’s London hosted a number of historical walking tours during CDW exploring its past as a centre of making, from clock-makers to gin distillers.


Man looking at the installation on the streets of Clerkenwell

Image credit: Hakwood Adam Dale/Decade

The piece was a dramatic trail of 10, three metre high candle like beacons designed by pioneers within the creative industry. The installations, symbolic of birthday candles also formed part of CDW’s wayfinding strategy to help guide visitors across the exhibition route. With a nod to the area as London’s creative heart, each installation showcased the designers’ individuality and imagination.

Reflect Us

Created by Beau Kerouac in collaboration with ‘The Big Issue’, the installation intended to bridge gaps in society by confronting visitors with 10 door-sized gateways to eyes that are sometimes hard to look into, telling the stories of vendors from our city streets. Using AR technology, Beau Kerouac invited visitors to question how an act of respect; simply making eye contact, can change someone’s day for the better through shared experience.

Scale Rule

The large installation, which was displayed at St John’s Gate arch, responded to the theme of history and heritage by proposing a new structure that subtly draws on the historic form whilst bringing in materials and geometries that reference the design culture of Clerkenwell today.

The concept played with the idea of space and enclosure, by inserting a densely built timber structure within the void of the archway.  This was then carved away to allow a route through and to frame the historic features of the site. The timber frame was filled with moments of colour that intensify towards the top of the arch, drawing visitors’ gaze upwards towards the historic architecture. The colour was created by using recycled materials and fabrics that reference the design identity of the area.

While on the site, the pavilion highlighted details of the archway and drew parallels to the 10 year anniversary of CDW.  When moved to a new location, the pavilion will take with it the geometry of the archway to act as a casting of the original site.


Man walking past light-like installation

Image credit: Jestico + Whiles

For their second CDW collaboration, Jestico + Whiles and Porcelanosa Group teamed up with Studio Fractal and Architainment Lighting to display a new and experimental immersive experience, which was entitled Pareidolia.

The immersive installation explored concepts of movement, memory and pattern with an impressive large-scale digitally fabricated installation made of Krion, a Porcelanosa product derived from natural minerals.

Hotel Designs was a proud media partner for Clerkenwell Design Week 2019. To read the editor’s round up of the entire festival, including news of the major product launches during the three-day-show, click here.

Main image credit: Sophie Mutevelian

Dorsett Hospitality International partners with Sony World Photography Awards

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Dorsett Hospitality International partners with Sony World Photography Awards

Dorsett Hospitality International has partnered with the Sony World Photography Awards this year to support local talent and art globally…

The Sony World Photography Awards kicks off with an exclusive exhibition in London at Dorsett Shepherds Bush opening on May 9, giving guests and visitors the opportunity to experience a selection of award-winning images carefully curated by Dorsett Hotels.

The Sony World Photography Awards is a global platform celebrating the best imagery and photographers worldwide. The exhibition at Dorsett Shepherds Bush, London will showcase 15 award-winning images from the Awards’ Open competition and National Awards programme. The exhibition will continue across Dorsett Hotels located in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and China.

Catering to millennials, post-millennials, professionals, and well-travelled guests, Dorsett Hospitality International is a proud ambassador and supporter of local talent and art in each of its locations across the world. Each award-winning image has been carefully selected to support local talent in Dorsett Hospitality International locations through the brand’s Dorsett Discoveries programme, which offers guests access to the hottest events, happenings and dining spots in each city. Award winning photographers include Rachel Yee Laam Lai from Hong Kong, Albert Tan

Chee Hiang from Singapore, Michael Chee Yen Chuan from Malaysia and Pan Jianhua from Mainland China amongst others.

“We are a proud supporter of the Sony World Photography Awards and we are delighted to be the sole official hotel partner worldwide, giving guests and visitors the opportunity to connect with such a prestigious collection across our hotels internationally,” said Dorsett Hospitality International’s Executive Director and President, Winnie Chiu. “Aiming to achieve our brand promise – stay vibrant – the synergy between the Dorsett Hotels brand and Sony World Photography Awards highlights our passion for contemporary art and photography.”

With 54 hotels and a global presence across 27 cities, Dorsett Hospitality International offers priceless travel experiences worldwide, embracing art and culture in every city.

Produced by the World Photography Organisation, the internationally acclaimed Sony World Photography Awards are one of the most important fixtures on the global photographic calendar. Across its four competitions (Professional, Open, Youth and Student) and National Awards programme, the Awards offer photographers unparalleled opportunity to showcase their art to a global audience, with past winning and shortlisted artists enjoying career-boosting benefits such as gallery representation, exhibitions and publishing deals.

The full 2019 Sony World Photography Awards exhibition featuring all winning and shortlisted images will launch at Somerset House on April 18 and will run until May 6, 2019. For anyone who misses the main exhibition in London, visit Dorsett Shepherds Bush from May 9 to discover a selection of award-winning images from around the globe.

Dorsett Discoveries: Sony World Photography 2019 exhibition with Dorsett Hotels schedule:

  • Dorsett Shepherds Bush, May 10 – 26
  • Dorsett Singapore, June 7 – 23
  • Dorsett Kuala Lumpur, July 5 – 21
  • Dorsett Wanchai, August 2 – 18
  • Dorsett Shanghai, August 31 – September 15

Main image credit: Dorsett Hospitality International

Checking in to University Arms, Cambridge

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Checking in to University Arms, Cambridge

Combining the best of British interior design and architecture, the University Arms in Cambridge is an effortless reflection of old and new. Editor Hamish Kilburn checked in to the Franklin Suite – and spoke to the leaders behind the project – to unearth the fascinating design story that’s written inside…

In the race for luxury in tier two cities around the United Kingdom, Cambridge city centre’s lack of statement hotels doesn’t exactly rank it highly among others.

Despite the city being riddled in history and context, substandard independents remain firm, not willing to set themselves aside from others in regards to design. But amidst the unimaginative and limited hotel scene, things are changing and there is one property in particular that is shaking up the competition to become one of the UK’s best luxury hotels. Cue the monumental unveiling of University Arms, Cambridge.

Image credit: University Arms, Cambridge

The 193-key hotel, which started life in 1834 as a coaching inn, reopened its grand doors in August of last year as interior designer Martin Brudnizki’s first full completed hotel project in the UK. “Cambridge has a really rich story that’s not just academic,” Brudnikzi told Hotel Designs. “It has a flourishing art scene – Kettle’s Yard is a haven for modern British art – and a food scene that’s worth investigating further. Of course, the architecture is wonderful and really quite awe-inspiring, however the city also has a unique sociable atmosphere. With it being small, you easily feel part of the city even after just a few days.”

Click here for interactively view room no. 201, the Stephen Hawking Suite | Image credit: ACT Studios

Following a number of large fires that broke out in the hotel, the most recent in 2012, University Arms closed in 2016. Working on the architectural restoration project from concept to completion, the team at John Simpson Architects were briefed to create new guestrooms, public areas, a gym and functional back-of-house spaces. “In terms of architectural language, the brief was to create a timeless appeal,” John Simpson from the architecture firm told Hotel Designs. “We wanted to create an architecture that honours the traditions and creates an aura that is present in so much of the historic buildings in the city.”

While the hotel’s shell was on the boards, Brudnizki and his team took the mass of inspiration from the history and culture around the city and infused it into thoughtfully curated interiors. “I always knew we wanted to create a hotel that reflected the academic heritage of Cambridge, whilst also feeling fun and approachable,” added Brudnizki. “The hotel is in the perfect location for university parents to stay at when visiting children or for those visiting the city for a weekend break. With this in mind, we created a hotel that combined academic references – the tie-patterned carpets, suites named after famous academics and the restaurant that feels like a college dining room – with comfort and elegance.

Guests now enter the hotel through an extravagant Porte Cochere entrance. “This element of the design references the scale style of the neighbouring Downing College, highlighting the historic association the hotel always had with the university,” Simpson added.

Image credit: University Arms, Cambridge

The large lobby is complete with two striking chandeliers that hang above both the minimalist check-in area and the concierge desk. On the walls, art curated by Adam Ellis hangs on chains and has been inspired by Cambridge’s roots, its past heroes and heroines and its many eras of charm. A poster-style piece “The Man in the White Suit” next to the lifts suggest that this hotel has been designed by and for the modern traveller to enjoy.

Upstairs, the corridors and guestrooms include nods at every turn to the heritage of the city. For example, the carpet that leads to the guestrooms and suites has been designed to replicate colour and style of the original Cambridge College tie. Each of the suites are named after a significant individual who had a relationship with the city and the interiors represent the character of the personality. The Franklin Suite, for example, was named after Rosalind Franklin, an English Cambridge-graduate chemist who made contributions to the understanding of the molecular structures of DNA, RNA, viruses, coal, and graphite. The terraced suite located on the top floor includes literature about Rosalind Franklin that sit in a modern setting. “We wanted to make sure what we designed wouldn’t feel out of place or context,” added Brudnizki. “With this in mind, it was important for us to work closely with John Simpson, who is an expert in classical architecture, as well as the local area. The best way for us to achieve this was through carefully selecting artwork that rooted the project to Cambridge and that would tie the narrative together.”

In all the rooms, which come in four categories, attention to detail is immediately evident. The ‘do not disturb’ signs are shaped as bookmarks, while the writing desks – think ink quill and paper rather than emails – were inspired by the traditional student desks that are finished with coloured leather tops.

Click here for interactively view room no. 907 | Image credit: ACT Studios

The bathrooms in the suites, complete with underfloor heating, are both stylish and lavish. Victoria + Albert baths positioned by the windows, accented with gold legs, create an immediate statement – as do the gold shower fittings from Vado. The walls, meanwhile, have been painted in the same light blue that is associated with the city, keeping the interiors balanced and tame in all the right places.

If the lobby lounge area is described as the heart of the hotel, the guestrooms the brains, then the soul is quite rightfully reserved to the bar and restaurant located on the ground floor. Brudnizki’s masterful hands have created a welcoming environment that has attracted not only guests but also loyal locals. Guests entering for dinner or to have a drink at the bar enter via a separate entrance to those staying at the hotel. “They still arrive at the front of the building, through grand doors, so there is a sense of occasion and not a sense of separation,” explains Brudnizki. “The bar itself includes a spacious lounge area, with mixed seating and larger tables to encourage communal imbibing. During the day you can use the bar as a place to work or even enjoy an afternoon tea. Whilst at night it becomes a great place to sit back with friends and enjoy drinks before dinner in parker’s Tavern next door.”

Image credit: University Arms, Cambridge

The public areas overlook Parker’s Piece, a large plot of grass that is rumoured to have been where the rules of Football Association emerged from (probably over gin and tonics). The library, which, when pushed, Brudnizki admits to being his favourite area of the hotel, is a clever blend of indoor/outdoor interiors, designed to be light, bright and open for all.

It’s refreshing to see an upscale hotel in Cambridge bravely achieve what no other hotel in the area has managed to; take on the history and heritage of the city and seamlessly blending into the architecture and the fabrics. Through true collaboration between MBDS and John Simpson Architects – both of which were winners at The Brit list 2018 in their categories – University Arms is now a timeless gem, in a league of its own operating in a modern city with a storied past.

Main image credit: ACT Studios

Morgan’s latest art installation portrays colourful ‘confusion of the world’

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Morgan’s latest art installation portrays colourful ‘confusion of the world’

Ahead of Clerkenwell Design Week 2019, Morgan unveiled ‘Alive in the Human Hive’, an art installation in its London showroom created in collaboration with artist David Shillinglaw… 

Last week, contract furniture design studio and manufacturer Morgan welcomed artists, interior designers, visionaries and the press to an exclusive viewing of its new art installation by David Shillinglaw at its Clerkenwell showroom.

Celebrating the spirit of collaboration and imagination, Morgan has been sharing its showroom with artists since opening in 2014, transforming the interior’s blank walls into thought provoking galleries and colourful canvasses.

Entitled ‘Alive in the Human Hive’, the new installation is a dynamic, large scale mural alongside a selection of Shillinglaw’s recent artworks.

Image credit: Morgan

“We all suffer and celebrate: appetites and desires, fears and misfortunes,” he said when describing his work. “How can I paint a picture of the world? The local and global landscape. Planet Earth is a place so strange, so full of beauty and wonder, mistakes and confusion. This confusion is very important to me, it feeds me and my work.”

The artist brings his energetic imagery to the Clerkenwell showroom for a second time, ever growing his relationship with Morgan. Since graduating from Central Saint Martins 17 years ago, he has been commissioned by Converse, The Dulwich Picture House and agnès b.

Beyond the UK, he has exhibited in galleries from Japan and China to The Gambia and Turkey. Evading categorisation, Shillinglaw’s work includes small handmade books, paintings, album covers and set design.

The installation will be on display throughout Clerkenwell Design Week, providing an eye-catching backdrop to an exciting series of events and product launches.

Morgan is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, click here.

Main image credit: Morgan

The Lowry Hotel, Manchester, unveils images of new presidential suite

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Lowry Hotel, Manchester, unveils images of new presidential suite

The £700,000 renovation of the luxury hotel, The Lowry in Manchester, was led by The Brit List award-winning design firm Goddard Littlefair…

Amidst the increase in luxury hotel development in Manchester, The Lowry Hotel is upping the ‘luxury stakes’ once again by unveiling the first look at its newly renovated Presidential Suite, designed by Goddard Littlefair and the largest both currently available or planned in the city.

The renovations totalled £700,000 and include a complete reconfiguration and redesign of the space, an enlarged dressing room and a new bespoke marble bathroom. The suite also includes a fully equipped kitchen, large bathroom with a double steam shower and free-standing bath, super king size bedroom, a walk-in dressing room and lounge plus a dining room for up to eight people. There is also an additional second bedroom and with adjoining bathroom.

Image of stylish, modern guestroom. Geometric headboard and views over Manchester

Image credit: Gareth Gardner

The floor-to-ceiling windows offer views across the river Irwell and Manchester’s skyline, and the room also comes with a mini grand piano, two in-room bars, two smart TVs and an Amazon Alexa. As well as complimentary valet, luggage management, personalised welcome drinks and in-suite check in, guests can take advantage of a butler, on-site hairdresser, endless beauty treatments, Tesla hire, private chef or personal trainer whilst staying in the luxury suite.

“We drew inspiration from Manchester’s industrial history and in particular from cotton, weaving and the city’s industrial forms, geometry and heritage.” – Goddard Littlefair

Renowned interior designers Goddard Littlefair, Interior Designers of the suite, commented on the inspiration behind the design: “‘This was a special and prestigious project for us, showcasing the first of our new designs for The Lowry Hotel. We drew inspiration from Manchester’s industrial history and in particular from cotton, weaving and the city’s industrial forms, geometry and heritage, including the shape of Trinity Bridge over the River Irwell, directly outside the hotel. We were also inspired by Lowry’s own colour palette, as the artist famously kept to a base palette of only five colours, mixing them to achieve tonal shades that nonetheless stayed within a distinctive overall range.

Marble-lined shower area plus freestanding bath

Image credit: Gareth Gardner

“The new design has a residential feel, with light and bright tonal colours used for the walls, curtains and carpets, offset by darker joinery, geometric-patterned fabrics used for cushions and curtain trims for added visual interest. Colours range from rich bronzes and burnt oranges to off-whites and textured blue-greys. Special joinery features include four sets of double screens around the living and dining areas to help zone the space and a bespoke dining table for eight with a feature veneer inset pattern.

“The bedrooms and bathrooms feature timber slatted walls, which mirror on the opposite wall, whilst the bathroom also has feature walls in luxurious, richly-veined marble. The main bedroom features a bespoke, contemporary version of a four-poster bed, in a room where the colours become softer, more muted and restful. The stunning dressing room, with a large, anthracite velvet ottoman at its centre, is dominated by a tiered feature light, made of threads and inspired by Manchester’s cotton production history.”

Soft interior decor. Geometric wall partitions within the suite and a baby grand piano on the right.

Image credit: Gareth Gardner

In homage to the hotel’s namesake, L.S Lowry, a selection of art has also been chosen for the room by ARTIQ. Kate Terres, Head of Operations at ARTIQ, commented: “The collection at the Lowry presented an exciting opportunity for us, because it is rare for hotels to be named after celebrated artists.  In curating the collection with Goddard Littlefair, ARTIQ pulled specifically on L.S. Lowry’s recognisable palette of charcoals and dark reds against pale smoky backdrops. Alongside these distinctive tonal elements, the curation draws on the shapes evoked by Manchester’s solid industrial architecture of the twentieth and twenty-first century – examples of which can be viewed from the Presidential Suite – as well as heavily abstracted figures that draw on Lowry’s matchstick figures.

“The collection is comprised of painting, sculpture, photography and print, with an emphasis on varied and rich textures that range from highly polished stainless steel – representing the industrial subject – to thickly modelled paintings incorporating found elements. Examples of large format photography depicting an abstracted industrial narrative contrast with the delicacy of the works by artist Kelly M. O’Brien. Kelly’s mixed-media practice involves burning paper and layering with inserts of gold leaf and, for The Presidential Suite, focuses on a linear radiating pattern that recalls the bridge architecture viewed from the window as well as playing with a high/low contrast of material. Also in the collection is work by artist Laetitia Rouget, whose playful series focuses on simplistic line drawings of the human in thickly pulled paint – a modern interpretation of Lowry’s matchstick men.”

 The luxury Lowry Hotel also boasts six Riverside suites, an additional 164 guestrooms, a spa, bar and The River Restaurant.

Main image credit: Gareth Gardner




LAUFEN collaborates with studio EOOS

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LAUFEN collaborates with studio EOOS that created the Austrian contribution to the XXII International Exhibition of La Triennale di Milano with an ecological project…

LAUFEN has made a contribution to the initiative of Austria at the XXII International Exhibition of La Triennale di Milano. Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival is the title of the thematic exhibition that explores the bonds between mankind and the natural environment, bonds that over the course of time have been deeply compromised or even destroyed.

Through projects of architecture and design on different scales, the exhibition explores the concept of design reparation as a solution through which to reinterpret the relationship between human beings and the context in which they live. This year for the first time La Triennale assigned the Bee Awards, created to reward the three worthiest international contributions to the XXII Triennale. Austria is the winner of the Black Bee, for its profound interpretation of the theme and the quality of its presentation.

“LAUFEN has made a substantial contribution to the project and to the video CIRCULAR FLOWS: The Toilet Revolution!”

A leader in its sector with over 125 years of experience, LAUFEN worked together with highly acclaimed Vienna-based design studio EOOS to develop an innovative project that promises to become an important breakthrough on the global scene. Thanks to its exceptional expertise in the design and production of bath fixtures, driven by constant research and technological experimentation, LAUFEN has made a substantial contribution to the project and to the video CIRCULAR FLOWS: The Toilet Revolution!. Supported by the Federal Chancellery of Austria and commissioned by MAK, the Museum of Applied Arts of Vienna, it all started with the long-term research of Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, and the grant of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The studies demonstrate that current practices of waste water treatment play a significant role in unbalancing the nitrogen cycle, with major repercussions on the ecosystem and the health of human beings and other living things, consequences that will become more evident over the short term. New hygienic-sanitary solutions represent the future in the construction of intelligent cities with more healthful, sustainable characteristics.

The collaboration between studio EOOS and LAUFEN has led to save!, a revolutionary toilet prototype for the separation of urine, offering an effective solution in the battle against the global problem of excess nitrogen, in line with the principles of systemic design. The separate treatment of urine means reducing – in an intelligent, economical way – the quantity of nutrients (such as nitrogen and phosphor) and pollutants released in the waters of the planet.

Up to 80 per cent of the nitrogen found in sewage can be removed from the wastewater stream, which will in turn reduce the resources required to operate treatment plants. Where others have failed in the past, save! represents a design challenge successfully met, raising excellent prospects for the future. In the achievement of these objects, the contribution of LAUFEN to the project has been fundamental, thanks to the deployment of unprecedented know-how. The Swiss company relies on an extremely advanced research and development centre, the only one in the world capable of developing such an innovative idea. At the same time, it boasts a production system capable of making the save! into the toilet of the future, according to the most advanced industry standards.

Main image credit: LAUFEN


Checking in to Hotel X – the luxury Canadian hotel that stands alone

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Situated adjacent to Lake Ontario, a shimmering glass tower shelters a new kind of luxury in Toronto. Edited by Hamish KilburnVincenzo Ferrara reviews Hotel X…

Juxtaposing the neighbouring buildings in the Liberty Village area, which were once cut off from the rest of the city of Toronto, Hotel X Toronto is the new sought-after boutique kid on the block that is making waves as a new kind of luxury experience in a city that welcomes more than 40 million tourists each year.

Imagined and designed by Stephen B. Jacobs Group and Andi Pepper Interiors Design, the hotel opened in March 2018 with the aim of creating an extravagant and contemporary hotel with dramatic flourishes. Using its unparalleled location and striking views as a design and architectural reference, X certainly does now mark the spot near Liberty Village, which becomes directly apparent when checking in.

The exterior shell of Hotel X

Image credit: Hotel X, Toronto

Upon arrival, guests are immediately welcomed into the hotel’s towering size combined with unassuming elegance. On the exterior shell, reflected beams of light hit the glass building, which creates a colourful display in an otherwise grey, and somewhat sombre business district. Despite the hotel, with its state-of-the-art technology and business facilities, appropriately keeping in line with the suit-and-tie scene that surrounds, personality pops out in unassuming moments. In the entrance, for example, monochrome, geometric flooring that has been sourced from all corners of the earth is the perfect metaphor to represent the city as a place where people meet from around the world.

Black and white tiles echo in the balck and white chandeliers in the lobby

Image caption: View overlooking the monochrome lobby area at Hotel X

The hand-cut marble reception desk sits in front of a living wall that covers the height and width of the lobby and creates an instant sense of peace that is far removed from the metropolis outside. A grand staircase on the right leads to a glass bridge that overlooks the spacious and minimalist area and offers a platform where guests can enjoy the lobby area from a different perspective, such as an up-close look at the detailed circular patterned chandeliers.

The large, modern art gallery includes landscape photos on the walls and around the room

Image caption: Kandy Gallery, Hotel X

Art is a prominent theme captured throughout the hotel. A gallery on the ground floor is devoted to photographer Neil Dankoff, whose landscape pieces famously led him to become a staple on the art and photography scene in Toronto. His ‘Kandy Gallery’ commission with Hotel X, which sees his signature images that depict worldwide adventure hung on the walls, turned out to be the largest fine art photography transaction in Canadian history. Dankoff spent almost three years travelling the globe to capture more than 800 landscape photographs that were purposefully commissioned for use within the hotel. Hung in such a way so that guests notice an eye-catching canvas of natural beauty around every corner, Dankoff’s work is quite literally written on the walls. Cleverly, his work from the gallery filter into the guestrooms and suites, resulting in a further reclined backdrop. The guestrooms and suites that offer a lake view incorporate water within the pieces, whereas the rooms that face the city skyline contain more physical features such as woodlands and rock formations.

Monochrome tiles feature in a library. A large desk with white chairs sit in the centre of the room, surrounded by large book-shelf walls.

Image caption: The Library, Hotel X

The gallery is a strong design unique selling point that positions Hotel X in a league of its own, but the adjacent library, complete with an oversized statement floor-to-ceiling bookcase, is another design centrepoint. Set in a monochrome setting, which is filtered through from the lobby area, the library’s matte-silver backdrop creates a sense of place with a carved map of the famous downtown area embossed in black paint. The space, which is open to both guests and the public, has been sensitively designed to offer guests a tranquil working environment.

The ambiance within the ground floor corridors changes from the other public areas as the walls transform from a soft cream to white light glass panels. Placed side by side, these LED flashes create a chequered wall that both reinforces the Hotel X brand while also boosts new energy in an area that is lacking natural light.

Large guestroom with orange and purple furniture. The floor-to-ceiling windows frame the skyline of Toronto

Image Credit: Hotel X, Toronto

Taking full advantage of the complete Toronto skyline, each guestroom and suite features floor-to-ceiling windows. The spacious living quarters in the suites, which are filled with natural light, blend blues, greys and blacks into dark-oak fittings. Bright, block colour in the furniture infuses the right balance of personality. The sliding doors between the living areas and the bedroom keep the space open at all times and flooded with natural light that flows, like the carpet, throughout each room. The large beds with cream headboards create another layer of calmness that is occasionally interrupted by loud accents in the furniture.

“The glass conservatory has been built on several 18th century military forts.”

New Fort Hall is a unique area of the hotel, not only for its visual appeal but also for its way of retelling history. The glass conservatory has been built on several 18th century military forts. Instead of demolishing the ruins completely, the design team incorporated them to create an eye-catching venue space. The glass floor quite literally allows visitors of the hotel to look down on the original floors of the military barracks. The room itself provides a beautifully simplistic contrast between the old beneath and the modern metropolis that can be captured through its glass.

“No stay at Hotel X is complete without a visit to the 28th floor.”

The hotel supports multi-level sports halls that have been positioned in such a way to overlook some of the city’s largest sport stadiums including BMO field. Adding to this motivation is the personalised EGE Atelier carpet, which divides each area with the lyrics to the song ‘imagine’ by John Lennon.

No stay at Hotel X is complete without a visit to the 28th floor, which is where the vision for Liberty Village’s new era of luxury was conceived from. Both the rooftop Falcon SkyBar and heated swimming pool on the top floor offer guests the ability to experience the city from a VIP-perched level. The iconic three-level bar balances relaxation, style and drama. The suede purple wingback chairs sit alongside other gold and grey suede seating that tributes the colours of the sunset that reflects off Lake Ontario.

The 404-key Hotel X is more than just another urban hotel with a view to pop up. Unlike other hotels in the area, Hotel X took on mission impossible to help transform the largely undiscovered area of Liberty Village into a luxury tourist hotspot that was also equipped to take bleisure travel to new heights. Through design lenses, it has completed that mission in style and has become a go-to destination in itself, further complementing the city skyline with effortless charm.

The Maldives’ first immersive art resort opens

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Joali in The Maldives has unveiled a full immersive array of ec0-inspired artworks and high-concept sustainable design throughout… 

Conceived as an immersive island retreat, Joali Maldives has opened with an array of original, experiential works of art and dynamic design, reflecting the beauty of nature, and with sustainability at their core. Situated on the idyllic isle of Muravandhoo in the remote Raa Atoll, just 45 minutes by seaplane from Male, the unspoilt island celebrates the creativity of world-class talent.

Dotted around the resort, adorning villas and hidden beneath the waves are a collection of extraordinary works by 13 international artists, hand-picked by curators and concept developers of No LaB; Ala Onur and Zeynep Ercan. From sculptures to design and experiential pieces, No LaB has chosen pieces which capture and conserve nature both visually and materially. Each artwork is thoughtfully integrated into their natural surroundings: some pieces were created by artists on-site, other creative concepts were adapted for Joali’s tropical climate. Joali will continue to curate surprising interactive art experiences, with new pieces added throughout the year. An annual art calendar will host a roster of workshops and residencies with visiting artists, designed to inspire, inform and enchant.

Image caption: Three-bedroom ocean residence with two Pools

Joali’s impressive roster of artworks are integrated with impeccable design and architectural skill by acclaimed Istanbul-based Autoban, whose other projects include House Hotels Istanbul and London’s Duck and Rice. The firm used custom-made furnishings, hand-carved wooden panels, local wood, bamboo and terrazzo flooring to create the ultimate sense of jungle chic. In designing the resort, Autoban worked to preserve the natural flora of the island as much as possible, saving more than 1,000 palm trees in the process. On arrival, guests are wowed by an impressive Manta Ray-shaped welcome jetty complete with undulating Maldivian thatched roof crafted by Istanbul’s Atölye4n, while Tokyo-based Studio Glitt are behind standout Japanese restaurant SAOKE, with its majestic pyramid roof made up of timber blocks like origami, with clean lines and soft lighting reflecting Japanese aesthetics.

Heron Chair & Manta Ray Treehouse – Porky Hefer, Cape Town

A beak-like seat hangs on the beach/bar area of the hotel

Image caption: Porky Hefer_ Grey Herron Head found in the Mura Bar area

Vernacular architect Porky Hefer, who recently partnered with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation at Art Basel, displays his signature passion for local wildlife and endangered species, with his hanging ‘Heron’ chairs, which overlook the beach. The grey heron is the national bird of the Maldives and Joali’s signature, spirit animal. Hefer’s astonishing Manta Ray hideaway, woven in-situ from natural materials (WHAT) is suspended in the trees, experiential dinners in the treetops. His imaginative, nature-inspired works are designed for functionality as well as style, and have a message of conservation.

Club Tropicana Table & Underwater Coral Sculpture Garden – Misha Kahn, New York

Renowned for his sculptures which use unconventional materials, including recycled rubbish, bronze and glue, at Joali, Kahn has created an underwater sculpture garden using a combination of vibrant-coloured and pale mosaic tiles to reflect the coral bleaching occurring in the Indian Ocean. Visitors to the island will be able to snorkel or dive to interact with this piece, and coral itself will gradually attach as part of the regeneration of the reef. Above land, Kahn’s Gaudi-esque communal table, which echos the shapes of the underwater pieces, is the perfect spot for sunset drinks and experiential dining experiences overlooking the beach.

Evolution Chair – Nacho Carbonell, Spain

A contemporary bench on a white beach

Image caption: Nacho Carbonell_Vandhoo, The Art Bench

Recreated especially for Joali with materials like sand and tree sap, Nacho Carbonell’s iconic Evolution chair has been adapted for the tropical climate. The cocoon-like chair offers a private moment of quiet introspection to anyone seated inside its depths.


‘PEARL’ wall art – Seckin Pirim, Istanbul

A dark room, lit by an eye-catching clam-like centrepiece by Seckin Pirim have a ripple shape reminiscent of the aquamarine waters surrounding the island

Image caption: The water villa features an eye-catching clam-like centrepiece by Seckin Pirim have a ripple shape reminiscent of the aquamarine waters surrounding the island

On the wall of each villa, an eye-catching clam-like centrepiece by Seckin Pirim have a ripple shape reminiscent of the aquamarine waters surrounding the island. Pirim’s installations are a reflection on his childhood memories and pick up on the varied tones of brilliant sea blue around Joali.

Maldives Vibes – Zemer Peled, Israel

Inspired by the Maldives’ rich underwater world and appearing in Joali Spa, this dramatic sculpture comments on the issue of coral bleaching affecting the region, with striking bursts of colour against a stark white backing reflecting a hope for future regeneration.

The hotel, which opened in December 2018 on the island of Muravandhoo, embodies the joys of life in its focus on art, wellbeing and sustainable luxury, with a boutique feel to its 73 beach and over water villas.


Hotel Elephant Weimar reopens to capture the property’s artistic and architectural heritage

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Following an Extensive Renovation, Hotel Elephant Weimer Joins The brand’s portfolio of four independent hotels in Germany…

Autograph Collection Hotels, Marriott International’s distinctive collection of passionately independent hotels, has revealed the latest addition to its portfolio with the reopening of Hotel Elephant Weimar following a nine month full renovation. The boutique hotel offers 99 guestrooms, all of which have been redesigned to capture the spirit of the property’s artistic and architectural heritage. Three elegant and spacious suites are named after art, literature and architectural luminaries that have previously stayed as guests, including Lyonel Feininger, Thomas Mann and Walter Gropius.

Located in the city centre’s historical market square, the hotel has been a cultural hub for more than three centuries, known for its classic Art Deco and Bauhaus features.“We are thrilled to reintroduce one of Germany’s most historic hotels, uniting its rich history with an exceptional renovation,” said John Licence, Vice President Premium & Select Brands Europe at Marriott International. “Exactly like nothing else, this timeless hotel upholds Autograph Collection Hotels’ values of vision, design and craft.”

“The colour palette throughout the property consists of rich, natural tones of grey, blue and dark emerald.”

The unique design is a result of the creative collaboration of Bost Interior Design and DK Architekten, which draws upon 1920s elegance fused with an eclectic mix of iconic German structural design and modern flourishes. Taking inspiration from Germany’s leading literary figure, Goethe and his Theory of Colours, the colour palette throughout the property consists of rich, natural tones of grey, blue and dark emerald. While a thoughtfully curated collection of contemporary artwork adorns the hotel walls, the hotel is especially proud to be exhibiting works from leading German artists Georg Baselitz and Elvira Bach.

Image credit: Autograph Collection Hotels

Celebrated for its artistic and cultural heritage, the historic hotel remains the ultimate hub for city explorers and is situated a stone’s throw from the very best that Weimar has to offer. With 19 of the city’s sites listed in UNESCO’s World Heritage list and an array of cultural hotspots including the Classical Weimar ensemble, Herzogin Anna Amalia Library and the Memory of the World, guests can enlist the hotel’s in-house cultural concierge to make the most of their trip.

The culinary highlight of the hotel is Restaurant AnnA, specialising in local, authentic cuisine in a stylish and contemporary setting.

The Lichtsaal room, meanwhile, is situated at the heart of the hotel offering a cultural hub for guests and local residents to meet and enjoy the properties unique art collection as well as a curated programme concerts, readings and plays.

A state-of-the-art sauna and fitness area will also be opening in February 2019. For meetings and events, the hotel provides 560m² of spacious and adaptable event and banquet space, accommodating up to 100 guests per room. Three unique meeting rooms filled with natural light are available to book, equipped with high-quality conference technology.

Marriott Hotels partner with LIFEWTR® in search for art and innovation

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With a new app, guests checking in to Marriott Hotels will be able to customise their rooms virtually with art and they will be able to share their AR rooms on social media…  

LIFEWTR® and Marriott Hotels have collaborated with the aim to bring more inspiration into the world through art and innovation, via new augmented reality (AR) in-room guest experience. As part of PepsiCo and Marriott International’s recent partnership renewal, LIFEWTR, the premium bottled water that exists to advance and showcase sources of art and creativity, is now the official in-room water for Marriott Hotels nationwide, encouraging guests to explore new worlds of creativity and inspiration within their Marriott Hotels guestroom.

Checking in to Matetsi Victoria Falls – Zimbabwe’s answer to luxury

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Checking in to Matetsi Victoria Falls – Zimbabwe’s answer to luxury

Travelling 7,500 miles to Zimbabwe, editor of Hotel Designs Hamish Kilburn learns more about the design direction of one of the country’s most luxurious hotel offerings, the award-winning Matetsi Victoria Falls

Beyond the baobab trees – which are said to be sacred among the locals because of the natural healing powers they lock within their roots.

The dehydrated shrubs on the African soil, elephants, hyenas, zebras, warthogs, leapards and lions sits an award-winning luxury riverside hotel that is indubitably one of the most luxurious offerings in Zimbabwe.

After 15 minutes 4x4ing the dirt road into the heart of the 123,000-acre (55,000 hectres) reserve, we arrive at Matetsi Victoria Falls, a place that promises luxury, comfort and unmatched style. “I have the largest back yard in Africa,” jokes the owner John Gardiner who greets me on arrival. And with nothing between us and the natural safari, my experience in the African bush begins.

The entrance of the hotel is framed by three traditional Mokoro (dug-out) canoes, which hang from wooden beams and sway in harmony with the soft Zambezi breeze. With no need for a traditional lobby, guests are immediately welcomed into the indoor-outdoor public areas complete with a copper bar and durable outdoor sofas and chairs scattered in a home-from-home setting that has been designed around nature, and not the other way round. “We didn’t take out a single tree when designing these camps, because we wanted these areas to remain as close to nature as we could,” said interior designer Kerry van Leenhoff , a previous graduate from Cape Town University of Technology who was hand-selected by Gardiner and totally supported in all her decisions. Using the striking vista of the Zambezi River, which flows towards the tremendous Victoria Falls, dining tables are placed in such a way to make every meal one to remember. “The lobby areas have been designed in order to encourage guests to connect with people and nature,” adds van Leenhoff.

As we approach suite 17 – AKA, my home for the next four nights – I am reminded just how ‘in the sticks’ we are, catching a glimpse of an elephant and a giraffe just metres from each other as my key enters the lock. I open the heavy, black teak front door, which was recycled and polished from the previous lodge, and the room is immediately filled with light. Interestingly enough, though, this was not the case when the hotel first opened, as van Leenhoff explains: “When the hotel first opened and the guests gave us their feedback, we realised that we needed to revisit the lighting, especially in the public areas,” she says. “So we added some more outdoor feature lighting around the trees and columns in order to really pronounce what we felt were the important and dramatic areas of the hotel.” However, my immediate attention is not on the lighting. Instead, my imagination is taken over by the striking panoramic view of the Zambezi River, which I later find out is home to legend; the locals believe that a famous God is said to protect the flowing waters, and his name is Nyami Nyami. As legend goes, the spirit which is often depicted as half snake half fish, protects life in and around the river.

The River Lodge Suite is everything you would expect of a luxury lodge in the bush, and so much more. The skin of matepi latte creates an organic ceiling and roof – and this material does more than just give a nod to the location. This decision was made in order to keep the lodge blending into its location and celebrate Zimbabwean culture. “It was really important for us to work with skilled craftsmen and women from our culture,” explains van Leenhoff. “We have such a diverse culture with about 16 different tribes and languages. We mainly focused around the Tonga tribes as we were by the river.” The result is that from the far side of the river, you can’t actually see where the hotel starts and ends, which suggests even further that the whole property has been created with nature in mind.

Van Leenhoff decided to take Matetsi’s love for nature and the environment and inject it into the fabrics and the walls. The result is a naturally calming, peaceful abode, which empowers an everlasting feeling of total luxury and relaxation. Modern high-quality furniture and hand-scultpted trunks of trees used as tables create the perfect blend of modern, luxury and timeless décor.

All 18 suites have been thoughtfully curated and the hotel is a credit to the talent of van Leenhoff. The art, for example is by Helen Teede who spent much time on site at Matetsi in order to find the inspiration of a unique collection of 18 paintings entitled ‘Mapping Matetsi’. Having done extensive walks and drives in the area, Teede divided the cartographic map of Matetsi unit seven into 18 parts and drew it to scale on each canvas, adding her own impressions of the river, the landscape and the pathways walked in the area, both man and animal-made. These 18 paintings hang separately in each suite. However, put together and these pieces of art actually form the aerial map of the reserve.

With the privilege of space, the hotel shelters two camps: East Camp, West Camp and one large villa, River House, which sits in between the two camps. Interestingly, the whole team – chefs, butlers, housekeeping, back-of-house staff – alternate between both East and West camp every couple of weeks in order to maintain the property and keep service personable at all times.

Gardiner, who I first met in London just a few weeks before my trip, is the real visionary behind the property surrounding the reserve. A local Zimbabwean hotelier, Gardiner has transformed the reserve since acquiring it in 2014 and aims to “give back to Zimbabwe”. With the help of his team, who all share Gardiner’s love for nature, he has restored and conserved the natural wildlife within the reserve by building various watering holes, 15 in total with a further 10 in the pipeline, I am told.

Before I check out, I have an opportunity to exclusively discuss the future of Matetsi with the team and how it plans to expand its luxury arm. “We are working on a few things at the moment, which are really exciting projects,” adds van Leenhoff. “The design direction and our aim is to strike the balance between feeling isolated and feeling safe.” The new plans will further challenge conventional luxury lodges in Africa with a real focus on opening up the guests to undisturbed nature.

The future sounds exciting and it’s clear that the design team and the hotel are totally in sync with ideas, vision and what luxury in Africa should look like. I leave Matetsi and Zimbabwe having cemented my respect in African design and culture. I am grateful that the reserve’s calming atmosphere allowed me to relax and escape from the lively London scene, if not only for a few days.

Key suppliers

Guest Suites-
Tables/ Headboards/ Beds- Adam Seager Furniture (ZIM)
Upholstery – Fiona Edmunds (ZIM)
Desks/ Luggage racks/ Wardrobes/ Lounge chairs – Nigel Joselyn (ZIM)
Pottery Pendants and Chandeliers- Chart Pottery (ZIM)
Beaded Ottomans- CHIPO women’s group (ZIM)
Spring stone Basins- Tonderayi Mahachi (ZIM)
Bamboo Lights- STEP Trust (ZIM)
Floor lamps- Collaboration between Bruce Elliot & Tonderayi Mahachi (ZIM)
Porcupine wastepaper baskets- Lupane Women’s Centre (ZIM)
Basin Tops- Zambezi Roots (ZIM)
Bath- Euro trends (SA)
Sanitary ware- Antique baths (SA)
Nguni Cowhides- Holly Hudson (ZIM)
Ceramics- Marjorie Wallace: Mutapo (ZIM)
Mirrors- Brigette Lotter (ZIM)

Main areas-
Dining tables- Adam Seager Furniture (ZIM)
Woven Screens- Collaboration between Jane Taylor & Judith Ncube of Matabeleland Weavers (ZIM)
Curated Tables- Helen Teede (ZIM)
Bar and Interactive kitchen- Collaboration between Adam Seager & Copperwares (ZIM)
Woven Poufs – Lupane Women’s Centre (ZIM)
Wrought Iron lights- Misty Edwards (ZIM)
Pottery Pendants and Chandeliers- Chart Pottery (ZIM)
Reed mats- Newlands Craft Market (ZIM)
Shop – Nigel Joselyn (ZIM)
Sofas- Fiona Edmunds (ZIM)
Coco chairs- Coricraft (SA)
Chairs/ Bar stools- Weylandts (SA)
Boardroom table- Collaboration between Zambezi Roots & Complete Steel (ZIM)
Ceramics- Marjorie Wallace: Mutapo (ZIM)
Wine cellar Chandeliers- Basil & Lindy Rowlands (ZIM)
Wine cellar- Ruwa Furniture (ZIM)


Spotlight On: 5 inspirng art and photography hotels from around the world (part 2)

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Following the success of our article on 7 inspiring art and photography hotels from around the world, and to end our Spotlight On feature focusing around Art and Photography, here is part two… 

It’s official: art and photography is taking over Hotel Designs, and it is doing so in some serious style, highlight major accents on the walls from around the world. Following part 1, here is our second trip around the globe to source the best examples of art and photography hotels.

1) The Banke Hotel 5*, Paris

The Banke Hotel 5*, as with all the Derby Hotel Collection’s properties, holds invaluable pieces of art from the private collection of Jordi Clos, the project manager of the group. Unique pieces are displayed on every floor for the pleasure of visitors and guests alike. On each level, and inside striking suites, guests can marvel the works of art, showcased in museum-style glass presentation boxes.

The hotel exhibits Derby Hotels Collection’s most important collection of ethnic and archaeological jewelry from Africa, Pre-Columbian America and Asia. The collection is permanently displayed on each floor of the hotel in glass cases classified by culture. From Papua New Guinea, China, India and Tibet to the ancient tribes of Africa. Particularly notable are the ritual necklaces from Papua New Guinea, silver and ivory bracelets from Sri Lanka, shaman costumes from the Ivory Coast and talisman boxes from the Mali desert.

2) The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

The Cosmopolitan lobby digital art installation, curated by art consultant Susan Walsh, combines architecture, contemporary art and technology to create an unexpected and dynamic experience. Eight 15′ digital columns and a panel spanning the length of the front desk continuously display a curated library of digital art, transforming the space into an immersive living narrative that incorporates elegant, fantastical and often poetic interpretations of life’s travels. In addition, clouds made from lego pieces hang above guests’ heads in the public areas.

3) The Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik 

Behind a large check-in desk, set within timber-panelled wall surround, is a triptych of artworks by Croatian artist Antonia Čačić, specially-commissioned for the project by the scheme’s art consultants ARTIQ. The 3m-long abstract triptych incorporates a palette of soft hues inspired by the colours of the Dalmatian coast.

4) The Anthenaeum, London

Turning heads in London’s leafy Mayfair – not as leafy as its exterior – is The Anthenaeum. Withing the striking building hangs a stunning art narrative that has been curated by the talented art consulant, Robin Greene. The main entrance creates a warm first impression for guests as representations of perfumes compliment each pillar.

5) The Dolder Grand Hotel

Image credit: The Dolder Grand

Since the reopening of the Dolder Grand in 2008, more than 100 works of art by prestigious artists have graced the premises of this luxury hotel in Zurich. The most striking piece is arguably Andy Warhol’s “Big Retrospective Painting”, spanning 11 metres, which takes pride of place above the reception. Experience art at the Dolder Grand with our art ipads.

Main image credit: David Biedert

Redefining luxury hotels in India with clever injection of design and art

Hamish Kilburn

Following THE Park Hotels celebrating 50 years of being unlike any other Indian hotel group, Priya Paul sat down with editor of Hotel Designs Hamish Kilburn to discuss the role of art in the hotel brand… 

Just months ago, I was catching up with who I consider the businesswoman of the year (certainly in the hotel design sphere that is). Priya Paul is a delightful woman who exudes warmth and charm. Her kindness, however, should not be confused for weakness, as her team hit a major milestone, having just recently celebrated THE Park Hotels’ 50th anniversary. Paul defiantly pushed her brands to visually be worlds apart from any other luxury hotel in India. As well as providing personalised experiences for all guests checking in, each hotel in her portfolio is designed to be trendy, forward-thinking with art defining the hotel’s sense-of-place.

THE Park is present in Bangalore*, Chennai*, Hyderabad*, Kochi, Kolkata*, Navi Mumbai, New Delhi* and Visakhapatnam. THE Park Collection is intimate, personalised, and tailored to transmit an inimitable guest experience. It includes The Park Calangute* (Goa), The Park Baga River (Goa), The Denmark Tavern (Kolkata) and a heritage hotel in Chettinad (2019). Its sister brand, Zone By THE Park, is also across India, currently with seven hotels with the focus on tier two cities.

All of the hotels within the portfolio layer a strong emphasis of contemporary design in its private and public spaces. Style and luxury enhances everything – be it paintings, furniture, accessories or contemporary art.

The brand is heightened by each property’s boutique concept through an art route. The art objects spread all over these star deluxe hotels, gives them a specific identity.

Art in all its manifestations and forms are found in the various hotels. From traditional tribal art to edgy digital art and inspired installations enthrall our guests. Known artists share space with fresher inspiration. The result is a combination of dynamic interpretation of life.

Five minutes with Priya Paul:

Hamish Kilburn: How much of the overall budget would you allocate to art in one of your hotels?
Priya Paul: It depends from project to project . But it is about 5 per cent of the total budget of the project.

HK: How significant is good art in hotel design?
PP: It is extremely significant for me. I have always believed in using art and local handicrafts for each of my hotels. I am extremely lucky that I work in India, where each region has wonderful traditional crafts people. I enjoy working with them and enable traditional art and crafts into contemporary work for my hotels.

HK: You’re an experienced traveller. Without naming and shaming, what’s the worst art you have seen in hotels and how can hotels get it so wrong?
PP: For me personally the worst is when the hotel has put no thought into it and buys completely non-descript copies, while there are so many young artists that can be encouraged.

HK: How is art now being depicted beyond the frame in hotel design?
PP: Art is no longer something that hangs on the wall. We have used sculptures, ceramics and three-dimensional work in our hotels. We have used artworks as wallpapers and have even were the first ones to use video and digital art in hotels. Art is becoming more immersive. I know for my next project, I will work more with video and sound.

Examples of art and photography at THE Park Hotel:

THE Park, Chennai

The Park Chennai is an evocative luxury space located on the premises of erstwhile Gemini Film Studios. Elegant, Sensuous, Rich, it houses the theatre of life in its private and public spaces.  The Hotel aims at creating a visual drama at every step. Well known artists have aptly brought out at The Park Hotels the chic and yet antique culture of Chennai.

The Lotus is the national flower of India and a sculpture by Hemi Bawa was chosen to be placed at the entrance of the hotel as a welcoming gesture. The Steel at the base depicts the water while the granite pebbles provide a shimmering effect. It exemplifies the fusion at various levels – of light and shadow, natural and manmade.

Manish Nai, an abstract artist has worked with mixed mediums like jute, paper etc. Born in 1980, he has completed his course from the L.S.Raheja School of Art, Mumbai. His works are also exhibited in Art Access Weel at Birla Academy, Nehru Centre and Cymroza Art Gallery. He exhibits his work at the lobby of THE Park Chennai.

Meanwhile, artist Sonja Weder’s work exhibits at 601 restaurant. She has used natural vegetation that is processed and laminated like her current exhibits the banana leaf and the flame of the forest.

Eminent sculptor Ray Mecker currently settled in Pondicherry uses ceramic as his medium for his abstract art which is displayed at the Atrium on the fourth floor.

THE Park Chennai proudly associates itself with talented art photographers who have lended their work at the public and private spaces of the hotel. To name a few they are Amit Pasricha, Sheena Sippy, Bharat Sikka, Bharat Ramaruthnam.

In the Pasha, there is a sculpture called HIGH at the entrance, a unique light sculpture by Krishnaraj Chonat is in the shape of a giant eagle suspended from the ceiling. Its bright red glow warms the white pearl encrusted silver leather wings.

Lobby comes alive every evening with the digitized projection of films on large screens. Digital art in the lift is by Sonia Khurana. Also in the lift are computer games and cartoons reflecting the changing times and tastes.


THE Park, Bangalore

The first contemporary Indian boutique hotel is small, luxurious and intimate. The first boutique hotel is all about style – a specially designed environment that creates a wealth of experience. Tatler Magazine in its definitive Travel Guide 2003 has rated this as one of the 101 best hotels in the world. It is a unique 109 -room experience, designed by Conran & Partners, UK.

The design philosophy is a fusion of the vibrant colours and landscapes of India with International style. Each area is specially designed to provide a richer and more sensual interaction. The hotel draws on Indian sensations and environment to provide travelers an ‘urban retreat’. The pristine white four-storied structure belies the luxury and flamboyance of the interiors. Flashes of brilliant colour from the balcony windows break the façade.

Some of the art that you will see here

Lobby: The main attraction in the lobby is an intricately carved black wooden pillar specially crafted by local craftsmen. The artistic pillar is a fusion of local hoysala art form and the much talked about Khajuraho art form. The pillar provides an exciting relief by its Indian feel amidst the contemporary feel of the lobby.

i-bar: The art installation at the I-bar is a backlit graphic, which is inspired by the focus on technology in the city also famous for silk. There are colourful strands, which depict silk threads and wires. Words like click, touch, feel that feature in the installation enhance the human angle to the piece. Paintings by Jiteh Kalet are strategically placed at the entrance to the bar.

Rooms and corridors: The photographers were specially commissioned for this area of the hotel. The first floor corridor showcases:

Coloured Photographs by Sanjay Acharya, Gurinder Osan, Manish Swaroop. The second and third floor has images by French photographer Laurent de Gaulle. Fourth floor sees the work of Nitin Upadhaya. Each room at The Park, Bangalore has black and white photographs showcasing the essence of the Garden City’s sights, sounds and scents. Saibal Das and Fawzan Hussain were specially commissioned to capture on film the city’s various moods across 24-hours – from daybreak at Cubbon Park to the bright night lights of MG road. These are an extension of The Park Hotels’ ideology – to incorporate the essence of the city in which it is located, into the design of its hotels.

THE Park, New Delhi:

MIST at THE Park New Delhi

MIST at THE Park New Delhi

Flagging off the heart of the Capital’s business and entertainment center, stands The Park New Delhi. It overlooks the historic 18th century Jantar Mantar Observatory and is in the city’s hub – Connaught Place.

The artists that you are likely to see here are AK Raina, Shobha Broota, Jagdish Dey, Altaf Hussain, Yusuf Arrakal, Ojha, Priya Ravish Mehra, Manish Kansara, Sukhvinder Singh, Morden Madhvani, Paramjit Singh, Pooja Broota, Hema Joshi.

THE Park, Vizag:

The Park, Vizag, spread over 7 acres of spectacular landscaped lawns, overlooking the Bay of Bengal, has a perfect, picturesque ambience as an urban beach resort. The Park’s location offers sandy beaches complete with a lighthouse to underline the romance of the sea with breathtaking sunrises and lovely tropical gardens. The art and décor of the hotel has traces of tribal art of Andhra Pradesh and the tropical themed landscaped lawns are co-related with the influence of Buddhist ruins found in and around the area.

Sculptures of Apsaras in stone greet you as you enter the hotel. The lobby also boats of Tribal Art from the neighboring Arakku Valley (Sculpture of Dristi Dolls) and traditional kalamkari paintings. Paintings by Kiran Rathore and Manish Gupta adorn the walls of the lift lobbies. The outdoor crafts court depicting the story of Ramayana is the creation of local artist Sairam. These pillars are perfect examples of Savara Art.

(Savara is ancient tribal clan who belong to the hills of coastal Andhra Pradesh. Traditionally these tribes believe in their Gods and Ghosts of their dead ancestors live with them on the paintings and pictures drawn in their homes. They consider each home to be a temple and most sacrifices are done within their home. Paintings are done with clay and chalk mostly in dark wheat, yellow, white and black colours. The pictures depict daily happenings and lifestyles of their community. The pictures are simple & follow a geometrical pattern of straight lines, triangles, squares and simple life forms.)

Top five stories of the week: Brit List success, artistic talents and a hotel unlike any other

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Following last night’s The Brit List, here are the top five stories of the week, as selected by editor Hamish Kilburn… 

In my editor’s letter in The Brit List 2018, which can be read here, I ask why it is that a tiny spec of land in the Northern Hemisphere could have such a large impact on the rest of the world. Well, my question was answered last night in a private members club as the industry’s leaders gathered for the unveiling of The List as well as our newly launched awards. It was a truly spectacular evening, full of engaging talks, insights, lighting demonstrations and plenty of tension as the winners were revealed. One thing is for certain, Britain is – and will continue to be – a major design hub of the world. Congratulations to the full 75 individuals who made it on to this year’s The Brit List, who have each proven that they are leading the way in international hotel design from the shores of Britain.

Here are the top five stories of the week:

1) Winners of The Brit List crowned

Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, Gleneagles’ Conor O’Leary and Bespoke Hotels among those who swooped trophies at The Brit List 2018.

Britain’s top interior designers, hoteliers, architects and key-industry suppliers gathered last night for The Brit List 2018 at BEAT London, where the profiles of the top 75 influencers in British hotel design, as well as crowning the winners of the six newly launched awards.

2) IN CONVERSATION WITH: Patrick McCrae, Co-founder and CEO of art consultancy ARTIQ

Earlier this month, ARTIQ inspired me – as a young design enthusiast – to think outside the box when critiquing art in hotels around the world. The term ‘talent searching’ has never been so clear as it was at the final of the Graduate Art Prize. The room was full of ideas, some yet to be sketched. ARTIQ, which launched the awards in 2012, is led by the dynamic and charismatic Patrick McCrae. Considering his team’s work that hangs on the stunning walls of prestigious hotels such as Gleneagles and Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik, I had the pleasure of catching up with McCrae to find out more.

3) B3 Designers breathes new American life into Marriott Hotel’s champions bar in Frankfurt

B3 Designers, which has gone from strength to strength since launching in 2002, has unveiled its latest project, which captures a little bit of America into the F&B areas of Frankfurt’s Marriott hotel…

Restaurant and hotel interior design specialist, B3 Designers has recently unveiled its latest interior design and branding project. Champions Bar & Restaurant, located within Frankfurt’s Marriott hotel, is a European sports bar and restaurant serving classic bar dishes and drinks in the German city’s central district of Innenstadt.

4) Inside The Brit List 2018 

The Brit List 2018 took place last night at BEAT London, welcoming the top interior designers, hoteliers, architects and key-industry suppliers to network and mingle to celebrate Britain’s position in international hotel design. Here are the official images of the evening.

Hotel Designs‘ nationwide search to find Britain’s top interior designers, hoteliers and architects came to a close last night as the leaders of our industry gathered for the awards ceremony. The winners of The Brit List 2018 awards were crowned and the top 75 influencers in British hotel design were announced.

5) InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland has opened as the brand’s 200th hotel

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), as one of the world’s leading hotel companies, has opened InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland, which has been under construction for the past 10 year. Developed by Shimao Group and managed by IHG, InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland has been masterfully built into the side wall of a formerly abandoned quarry in Southwestern Shanghai. Stretching 88 metres underground, the hotel was nominated as one of the architectural wonders of the world by the National Geographic Channel’s MegaStructures series due to its pioneering architectural design.

IN CONVERSATION WITH: Patrick McCrae, Co-founder and CEO of art consultancy ARTIQ

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As our ‘Spotlight On’ feature on Art and Photography becomes even more colourful, editor of Hotel Designs Hamish Kilburn caught up with the charming, and equally talented, visionary who is ARTIQ‘s co-founder and CEO Patrick McCrae. Together the pair discuss talent searching and how the art consultancy firm is leading art in hotels into uncharted waters…

Earlier this month, ARTIQ inspired me – as a young design enthusiast – to think outside the box when critiquing art in hotels around the world. The term ‘talent searching’ has never been so clear as it was at the final of the Graduate Art Prize. The room was full of ideas, some yet to be sketched. ARTIQ, which launched the awards in 2012, is led by the dynamic and charismatic Patrick McCrae. Considering his team’s work that hangs on the stunning walls of prestigious hotels such as Gleneagles and Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik, I had the pleasure of catching up with McCrae to find out more.

Hamish Kilburn: What do you look for when searching for new art talent?

Patrick McCrae: Innovation, creativity and sustainability. ARTIQ is interested in representing a diverse group of artists, but with the same level of ambition as our own and an exceptionally high level of quality. We work across many different media, from painting and sculpture to photography, prints and illustration, and we’re always on the lookout for artists making waves in their communities in the territories in which we’re active. We like efficient people and good communicators too! As we’re so hands-on with our artists, it’s really important to foster a close working relationship. Our clients see us as their conduit to the artworld, so it’s important too that we can reflect the calibre and standards of our clients in the artwork we put forward.

ARTIQ were commissioned to curate an art collection for The Marriott Heathrow Conference, Banqueting & Event Space, redesigned by EPR Architects alongside works for the bedrooms, designed by Anita Rosato Interior Design.

Image caption: ARTIQ were commissioned to curate an art collection for The Marriott Heathrow Conference, Banqueting & Event Space, redesigned by EPR Architects alongside works for the bedrooms, designed by Anita Rosato Interior Design.

HK: Which hotel has recently stopped you in your tracks because of its art – and can you describe it?

PM: In February, I stayed in a tiny boutique hotel on Waheike Island, New Zealand.  I was there for the Auckland Arts Festival before touring around a bit and this was the last night in the country before coming home, so I really wanted to escape.  The hotel was run by a husband-and-wife team and set atop a huge vineyard in an olive grove (it was all a bit extra).  The plan was really to submerge in natural beauty before heading back to London.  The place was incredible: a spacious suite with floor to ceiling windows opening completely on two sides to a terrace with sun chairs and a table and the most absurdly picturesque view ever.  However, what really stuck me was the art collection, almost a lesson in modern art!  Miro, Picasso, Kandinsky nestled amongst local artists inspired by the views.  Every piece had a story and had been purchased over years by the owners.  It was the aesthetic so many of our clients are inspired by – the idea of a collector’s collection, each piece relevant, each modern work by an artist known to the family, collected and transported by hand back to the hotel.

HK: British artists seem to be so attractive to hotel clients from around the world. But what is it that Britain has that other countries may lack?

PM: There are indeed many fantastic British artists and I think this stems from the strength of the UK’s art market, which allows a certain freedom and flexibility when it comes to creating and collaborating. At ARTIQ we adopt a fair pay policy and in turn have found that our artists are more open to working on commissions in a much less restrictive way. However, we do think it is extremely important that when working on an international project to support local artists and not just to promote a British-is-best mentality. For example, with Mode ApartHotel Arc de Triomphe, our team of art researchers sourced work by Parisian artists Christian Gastaldi and Matheiu Bernard to reflect the culture and innovation of the city and offer a powerful place-making tool for the hotelier, as well as a unique opportunity for guests to experience local arts and culture as soon as they reach their accommodation.

The London Marriott Regents Park ARTIQ worked closely with Anita Rosato Interior Design on the curation of a fun and location-specific art collection for London Marriott Hotel Regents Park

Image caption: The London Marriott Regents Park
ARTIQ worked closely with Anita Rosato Interior Design on the curation of a fun and location-specific art collection for London Marriott Hotel Regents Park

HK: What advice would you give to young artists aspire to branch out into the commercial market?

PM: Here are my seven top tips:

  • Find your voice: in terms of subject and style, don’t be swayed by trends as these change and you’ll be left behind.
  • Know your business: from your prices to your intellectual property –  spend a bit of time working out your pricing, do a bit of research on industry practice, a-n, The Artists Information Company has a lot of great resources.
  • Think about how can you help clients ‘get’ your work? Maybe it’s the story, maybe’s it’s how many hours you spend on a piece or maybe it’s the materials? Think about what makes your process a ‘practice’.
  • Draw the line (early): Do you want to only sell originals? Do you want to do editions? Decide what you want now – it can always shift but makes you less likely to make uncomfortable compromises later in your career. The commercial art world can get hectic in terms of pace, and you want to lay a solid foundation early on.
  • Support others and they’ll return the favour: Whether it’s a gallerist, curator, or fellow artist – opportunities can come from the unlikeliest places. Find peers and mentors who truly want the best for you and can be trusted to advise on prices/opportunities/where your work is going.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want: if the client is really interested in the work, they’ll bite – it’s a negotiation, so play your part!
  • Grow your network! Go to shows, go to openings, network, be nice, ask for business cards and follow-up.

Image caption: The guestrooms at The London Marriott Regents Park were designed by Anita Rosato Interior Design, the art is all by Claire Brewster (ARTIQ)

HK: For designers working within tight budgets, how can they use art to help completely transform a hotel?

PM: When working within a tight budget, there are several ways to maximise the potential of your art. Firstly, consider renting a collection rather than buying. A rental collection can not only offer an affordable alternative to purchase, but in fact can attract more guests with a 3-6 monthly change that the marketing team can regularly talk about! In the same way, be open and clear about budget constraints from the get-go and your consultant can therefore tailor ideas that are specific to your project, rather than selling you something you cannot afford.

Think about the volume of the art you’re specifcying.  Think about areas of high traffic or strong perspective.  The ends of corridors, lift lobbies or walk-ways wherever everyone will travel to their rooms.  With a focus on key traffic areas and a reduction in volume, art can be carefully curated to impress continually.

A salon hang is another very cost-effective idea, whereby relatively inexpensive art, when grouped together, can create a bespoke and high-visual impact, as the viewer’s eye tends to focus on the whole rather than the individual.

Finally, you should be working with a consultant for whom budget restraints can also lead to creative, even transformative, outcomes. For example, approaching the end of The Principal Edinburgh, our team had a tight budget for the public areas. Thinking outside of the box, ARTIQ used vintage frames for the new, commissioned pieces, which not only looked fantastic but brought a whole other dimension to the project.

FIRST LOOK: London’s Belmond Cadogan Hotel to open in February 2019

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The luxury hotel, which is ideally located in the heart of London, will open its decadent doors in February 2019… 

With luxury brands and high-end retailers of Knightsbridge just off the main entrance and the artistic heart of Chelsea just off the side entrance, the 54-key Belmond Cadogan Hotel, which will open in February 2019, is ideally located in the heart of London in between the two fashionable districts, somewhat capturing the best of both worlds.

Belmond, with architecture leadership by Blair Associates, have carefully preserved the London legacy of the property by sensitively restoring five 1800s Queen Anne-Style buildings that are unique to both aptly leafy neighborhoods.

What is described on its website as being ‘truly a welcome home’, the hotel has been renovated to balance – like its location – a distinct feeling of comfort and style. Inside the property, the interior design will reflect modern British style with a distinctive contemporary feel. Much of the inspiration draws inspiration from the hotel’s original features. Steeped in colourful history, the hotel’s many walls tell many fascinating tales from Oscar Wilde to Lillie Langtry, both of whom were regular residents at the hotel. The restaurant and bar are in the hotel have been designed by Russell Sage Studio, while the guestrooms and suites have been carefully imagined and created by GA Design International. The firm’s global executive design director (London), Terry Mcginnty, has been shortlisted for The Brit List 2018 for his work on previous iconic hotels as well as the work his team are completing for Belmond Cadogan Hotel.

Considering art is a major feature of this month, more than 400 pieces of original artwork will be found throughout the hotel, from more than 20 artists, many of whom are UK-based.

Guests checking in will have access to the private Cadogan Place gardens (one of Chelsea’s largest garden squares and once site of the 18thcentury London Botanic Gardens) and for complete privacy, a residential entrance is accessible via Pony Street.


Conrad Washington, DC will shelter a unique art story

Hamish Kilburn

The new hotel, located in the city centre, will open in February 2019 and is expected to bring a new standard of modern luxury in Washington DC…

Conrad Washington, DC has announced that it will open its doors in February 2019. The 360-key hotel, situated at the corner of New York Avenue and 10th Street NW, is the first for Conrad Hotels & Resorts in the nation’s capital. The property is designed to bring Washington hospitality into a new era of modern luxury with its unique architecture, sleek interior design, inspired art collection and culinary offerings led by world-renowned chefs.

The hotel anchors the second phase of CityCenterDC, a high-end, mixed-use development in downtown Washington, DC known for its collection of upscale retail stores and eateries, and developed by the international real estate firm Hines and investor Qatari Diar.

“Conrad Washington, DC will usher in a new era of hospitality for our domestic and international travelers seeking modern luxury in the nation’s capital,” said Christopher J. Nassetta, president and CEO, Hilton. “With Hilton’s global headquarters in nearby McLean, Virginia, we are excited to introduce the Conrad brand to our hometown.”

“The hotel’s concept was envisioned by renowned Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron.”

Conrad Washington, DC features a sleek all-glass exterior that wraps around its 10 floors, 360 rooms and 30,000 square feet of high-end retail space below the hotel on the ground floor. The hotel’s concept was envisioned by renowned Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron, best known for landmark projects like the Olympic Stadium in Beijing and The Tate Modern in London. Architect of Record, HKS Inc., served as the Production Architect on the project. Consultant Rottet Studio designed the interiors as a restrained, minimalist expression of purity of thought and design, to complement the carefully conceived building.

Following the Hotel Designs’ focus this month on art and photography, the hotel also features a contemporary art story that is weaved throughout a unique collection inspired by the Washington Color School movement, curated by consulting firm Tatar Art Projects.

“We are incredibly excited that Conrad Washington, DC will showcase what makes the Conrad brand so unique: contemporary design, curated art and leading innovation that inspires the entrepreneurial spirit of the globally connected traveler,” said Martin Rinck, executive vice president and global head, Luxury & Lifestyle Group, Hilton. “It will not only be a hallmark property for the brand, but a standout hotel for the Washington, DC area.”

“In every piece of its immaculate design, Conrad Washington, DC is breaking the mold of traditional DC luxury,” said Laura Schofield, General Manager, Conrad Washington, DC. “From its preeminent architecture to its spectacular art and elevated cuisine, the hotel’s debut is undeniably the most anticipated hotel opening of the year.”

The hotel is adjacent to CityCenterDC’s high-end retail stores and upscale eateries. “As the capstone to CityCenterDC, Conrad Washington, DC will play an integral part in the development’s continued growth by drawing additional visitors to downtown DC,” said Howard Riker, Hines Managing Director. “At each turn, guests will encounter innovative features and state-of-the-art technology to provide intuitive service to the ever-changing needs of today’s modern traveler.”

Conrad Hotels & Resorts is a portfolio of 34 luxury properties spanning 21 countries, all of which offer guests a seamless connection between design, innovation and culture. The luxury hotel brand was established in 1982 and has properties in the world’s most desirable locations, including metropolitan cities such as New York, Hong Kong and London and leisure destinations such as the Maldives, Bora Bora and Koh Samui.

As part of Hilton, Conrad Washington, DC will participate in Hilton Honors, the award-winning guest-loyalty program for Hilton’s 15 distinct hotel brands. Members who book directly have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose nearly any combination of Points and money to book a stay at an exclusive member discount.

Conrad Washington, DC will be managed by Hilton Management Services.


Top five stories of the week: New artistic heights, when two industries collide and The Brit List 2018 approaches

Hamish Kilburn

Feeling inspired from recent conversations and exclusives, editor of Hotel Designs Hamish Kilburn, lists this week’s top stories… 

The most common answer I hear when I ask designers, architects and hoteliers where they source their inspiration from is ‘everywhere’. The more I hear this answer, the more I sit and wonder how far-reaching everywhere can be, and can anything really spark the concept of a great idea?

If you’re looking for a company that is pushing the boundaries in where inspiration can be found, look no further. The creative genius’ at Zaha Hadid Design demonstrated to the world late last month that design has no ceiling. The design firm unveiled a new collection of fitness clothing, believe it or not, having turned to the arena of performance sportswear to find new ideas and (that key word) inspiration. Since this product dropped, the thought that inspiration can lead to innovation has been a theme that has seamlessly weaved itself into the majority of this week’s headlines. This comes as the team at Hotel Designs prepare to unveil The Brit List 2018, which will name the top 75 inspirational individuals (designers, hoteliers and architects) who are keeping Britain at the centre of the design world. Prepare to be inspired, ladies and gentlemen, as we break down this week’s top five stories.

1) SPOTLIGHT ON: Reaching new creative heights with artist Beth Nicholas

Known artist Beth Nicholas is used to seeing her masterpieces on the walls of some of the world’s finest examples of hotel design. Among working with clients such as Christian Louboutin, Langham Hotels and Waldorf Astoria, one of the most challenging briefs came recently when she was asked to create a large art installation for The Address Downtown Dubai‘s lobby area. I was fortunate enough to catch up with Nicholas after the hotel had reopened and she could finally take a sigh of relief now that her art is the first impression for guests checking in.

2) Architecture meets fashion: Zaha Hadid Design’s latest collaboration weaves a new direction in sportswear technology

Design giant Zaha Hadid Design unveils collaboration with a Swiss performance sportswear brand, suggesting that inspiration for designers and architects is not limited to one – or even two – industries. Hamish Kilburn investigates.

3) The Brit List 2018: Less than two weeks to go


There are still limited tickets available to attend The Brit List 2018 on November 2018 at BEAT London. The evening will welcome Britain’s leading interior designers, hoteliers, architects and suppliers to celebrate Britain as an international design hub in hotel design. As well as unveiling the 75 most influential designers, hoteliers and architects who deserve their place in The Brit List 2018Hotel Designs will also announce the winners of the six newly launched awards. These include:

  • Inspiration in Design – Innovative use of Technology (Sponsored by DLAppTap)
  • Inspiration in Design – Hotelier of the Year
  • Inspiration in Design – Interior Designer of the Year (Sponsored by Tarkett)
  • Inspiration in Design – Architect of the Year
  • The Eco Award
  • Outstanding Contribution to the Hotel Industry

4) Amsterdam named top city for hotel investment for third year in a row


Investors have named Amsterdam as the most attractive European city for hotel investment for the third year in a row, according to the 2018 European Hotel Investment Survey from Deloitte. The findings, based on responses from 122 senior hospitality figures from across the world, are revealed ahead of the 30th annual European Hotel Investment Conference taking place in London this week.

5) DLAppTap confirmed as sponsor of The Brit List 2018 Innovation In Technology Award

Following its official launch at the Independent Hotel Show last monthDLAppTap has been confirmed as the official Sponsor of the Innovation In Technology Award at the The Brit List 2018.


SPOTLIGHT ON: Reaching new creative heights with artist Beth Nicholas

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Having created striking artwork for some of the world’s most stylish interiors, was The Address Downtown artist Beth Nicholas’ most challenging project to date? Editor of Hotel Designs Hamish Kilburn sits down with the artist to find out more…

Known artist Beth Nicholas is used to seeing her masterpieces on the walls of some of the world’s finest examples of hotel design. Among working with clients such as Christian Louboutin, Langham Hotels and Waldorf Astoria, one of the most challenging briefs came recently when she was asked to create a large art installation for The Address Downtown Dubai‘s lobby area. I was fortunate enough to catch up with Nicholas after the hotel had reopened and she could finally take a sigh of relief now that her art is the first impression for guests checking in.

Hamish Kilburn: What was the design brief?

Beth Nicholas: Essentially, I was just asked to paint big, really big. I have never had a commission that was 8.5 metres before – and it was gob-smacking figuring out how to do that. I don’t tend to get design briefs from clients that often. What I get instead is people asking me about specific colours. With The Address Downtown we developed a colourway that had both silver and gold in it, as well as my iconic blue.

Soho Myriad, who were the art consultants for that, really like to challenge their artists. Quite often, they ask you to produce something larger than what you would usually go, but this particular project took that to new heights, literally. I don’t think they have ever commissioned anything quite that large.

“Honestly, I have never seen marble like it; it’s utterly beautiful!”


HK: In regards to this particular project, what inspired you? 

BN: Honestly, I have never seen marble like it; it’s utterly beautiful! There is some marble in that entrance lobby that is purple and they have split the marble down the middle and turned it. The result is like a mirror image, a bit like when you were a child and folded paper over paint. My work resembles that material in a lot of ways with a lot of natural formations that are very similar to some of the lines and shapes within marble. I had been given a lot of information about the space and the rest of the colours that were used in the hotel. That inspired the work.

“To be honest, everything that could go wrong did go wrong.”

HK: How long did it take?

The brief came about a year and half before I produced the work. The production of the pieces took three months, and my normal technique did not work. To be honest, everything that could go wrong did go wrong. I had to hire a warehouse outside Newport. It was an old, former carpet warehouse and there were holes in the ceiling. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was Autumn, so the rain had started. I would come into the space in the morning to find raindrops on my work. On top of this, I had to essentially create a new technique because my usual technique did not work at that scale. That was terrifying.

On top of all of that, my work takes a while to dry. As the weather was getting worse, my pieces would take longer to dry and I was running out of time. As a solution, I hired massive turbo air dryers – it looked like a scene out of Singing In The Rain – and eventually I figured it out, but it was certainly a challenge.

“I often think of my work in relation to that beautiful Japanese pottery, where they fill the gaps with gold.”

HK: Tell me more about how Wabi-Sabi has influenced your technique

BN: I have been in love with the aesthetic of Wabi-Sabi for a long time. Every time I describe what it means, it’s different. Wabi-Sabi is a Japanese concept that is very difficult to translate into English. Part of Wabi-Sabi is to appreciate the concept of transients that move and shape over time. I often think of my work in relation to that beautiful Japanese pottery, where they fill the gaps with gold. If you look at my work, you see similar cracks as you do in ceramics. I can’t produce a painting that is exactly the same as the last one, and so my work is very detailed. So Wabi-Sabi, for me, is the exploration of how things have changed and developed, which is why there is so my synergy between my work and the environment.

Nicholas’ work is evocative of oceans and the minerals beneath the earth as well as aerial photographs. The paintings are rendered in ink and applied to sheets of paper which are illuminated from behind, further enhancing their impact.

Since launching her eponymously-named company, Beth Nicholas Studios, in 2009, Nicholas’s paintings have won plaudits for their beauty and originality, are created through a unique method which she constantly evolves through trial and experimentation.

Image Credits: Portrait of Beth Nicholas © Mae Maciver; Beth Nicholas art commission at Address Downtown, Dubai, June 2018 © Nicolas Dumont, courtesy of Address Downtown ”



Top 5 stories of the week: Artistic graduates, wall-mural opportunities and the Brit List clock is ticking

Hamish Kilburn
With just three weeks to go until The Brit List 2018 is revealed, Hamish Kilburn breaks down the major headlines from the past five days…

After much anticipation, I’m excited to announce our ‘Spotlight On’ feature this month focusing on art and photography is well and truly underway. The topic, as well as releasing some serious creativity on the editorial desk, is a significant one for Hotel Designs. It arrives as rumours emerge that too many hotel owners around the world are cutting art budgets and are, therefore, refusing to see the value in art in international hotel design. Starting with a whistle-stop tour around seven of the world’s finest art hotels, we would like to share our admiration for those who do see the value, and I promise to, over the next 28 days, recognise and amplify those hotels from around the globe that are using art and photography to stand out from the crowd.

Here are the top five stories of the week:

1) SPOTLIGHT ON: 7 inspiring art and photography hotels from around the world 

Image credit: 21C Museum Hotel Nashville

To kickstart this month’s spotlight focus on Art and Photography, Hotel Designs has scoured the globe – from Africa to London – for interior design made inspirational by the use of thoughtful art and photography…

2) THE BRIT LIST 2018: Just three weeks to go

With just three weeks to go until The Brit List 2018, time is running out to book your tickets to Britain’s leading networking evening for interior designers, hoteliers, architects and key-industry suppliers.

The latest leading names and firms to be added onto the guest list include Minotti LondonThe NedMartin Brudnizki Design StudioProject OrangeWyndham Hotels & ResortsTara Bernerd & Partners and Yasmine Mahmoudieh.

3) Wall murals in hotel design; the possibilities are endless

As Hotel Designs continues to shine the spotlight on art and photography, we caught up with wall murals artist and interior designer Lawrence Hosannah Myse to discuss how personality and character can literally be written on the walls…#

4) First look at Liverpool’s latest design hotel 

New design renders have been released showcasing Liverpool’s latest design hotel, Seel Street Hotel by EPIC, which is scheduled to open to the public in early December 2018.

The exclusive visuals of the 128-key hotel, developed by Elliot Group and designed by Liverpool-based Falconer Chester Hall, throw the spotlight on the property’s flagship ‘WOW! Suite’ – a striking corner suite with external space providing sensational city views and set to raise the bar in the city’s expanding hotel sector. With scaled-back interiors, completed with industrial-like exposed wardrobes and a palette of warm blues and browns, the rooms are cosy, inviting and modern.

Also revealed is the hotel’s spacious Super Luxe suites with outside terraces and skyline vistas, and the ultra-contemporary Cinema Room, offering what is said to be the ultimate guest experience without having to leave the room.

5) Winner and runner-up of Graduate Art Prize 2018 are crowned

As Hotel Designs continues to focus this month’s spotlight on art and photography, Hotel Deisgns joined the 23 talented shortlisted BA & MA students of  The Graduate Art Prize 2018, who gathered at the London offices of Herbert Smith Freehills on November 1, to find out which one of them would take the crown of being the winner of…

Concluding this year’s nationwide search to find Britain’s top young artists, 23 shortlisted students -from Brighton to Newcastle – were invited to last night’s final of the Graduate Art Prize 2018. Launched in 2012 by art consultants ARTIQ, the awards ceremony, which this year was sponsored by Herbert Smith Freehills and Atlantis Art Supplies, is recognised as a major platform for young artists to amplify their work to leading designers and hoteliers in Britain and beyond.



Wall murals in hotel design; the possibilities are endless

Hamish Kilburn
As Hotel Designs continues to shine the spotlight on art and photography, editor Hamish Kilburn caught up with wall murals artist and interior designer Lawrence Hosannah Myse to discuss how personality and character can literally be written on the walls…

It was at a restaurant launch in Kent, England, where I first met the talented Lawrence Hosannah Myse, a New York-based artist who specialises in large, statement-like wall murals. His work, which was unveiled on the facade and interiors of the property, echoed the good vibes of that authentic Caribbean restaurant creates and pictured a rural Jamaican scene perfectly. Following this was the realisation of how this warmth and character that had been sprayed onto the walls of Jerk Shack could very well help to define a hotel’s sense of place within a city or town and general theme. As mentioned in a recent popular Hotel Designs article, art is not limited to frame. Soon – in between the artist jet-setting from London to LA – Hosannah and I were sitting down for coffee to explore the endless possibilities of wall murals in hotel interior and exterior design.

“Our aim is to bring nature into urban environments – or areas that are typically more architectural and man-made,” said Hosannah. “My brother and I like to create experiences where consumers get sucked in.” A pair of true creatives, I get the feeling that the Hosannah brothers see beyond a hotel or a restaurant and look into the narrative of a theme that will help the owner of the property put it on the map. “It’s almost like a dance,” he said when describing how he and his brother work with his clients. “We start by first understanding the vibe, the essence of the place and the people using it. We will then draw up some sketches before solidify them into developed drawings. For Jerk Shack, for example, we had some images of Jamaican rainforests, animals and flowers and with those clear visuals, we were able to almost freestyle the walls.” The result was a scene of the real Jamaica, from the outside in. The exterior, a deep-green jungle creates a statement among the other buildings. Upon entering, the interiors of the restaurant open up to reveal pristine-white beaches fused with deep-blue ocean coasts and tropical plants.

The benefits of blending nature with architecture, art and interior spaces goes further than the general pleasing aesthetics. For the Hosannah brothers, this is a way of creating a place that is the antenna to amplify wellbeing and wellness in urban areas. “With a lack of the connection to nature, people get stressed and detached and more robotic,” Hosannah explained. “Look at the major cities. New York has central pack, London has Hyde Park. For the inner-city busy-body to enter a natural space kind of grounds them and allows them to relax – and also enhances creativity and inspiration.”

For the artist who uses vibrant colours to promote a healthier, happier environment, I was intrigued to understand whether or not Hosannah reacted to – or was inspired by – the various colour trends that are being magnified at the moment. “Of course, I look at trends but we are open to all colours and inspirations,” he said. “I actually believe that, through great work, you can actually push a trend and put it in front of the curve. I tend to find more inspiration from travelling though. When you travel to different places, the colour of the environment changes. That allows me not to get lost in robotic thinking.”

“Art, and being an artist, is a world for the for the brave and courageous where you create and you go, which can be scary but it can also be invigorating.”

In regards to how art can help to eliminate the boundary between indoor-outdoor, Hosannah believes he may have an answer. “Interiors are usually divided by clean-cut lines that are perhaps divided by plants,” he explained. “These places can work really well, but large murals that pull the eye along a wall space can completely erase that border between indoor-outdoor. Going even further, you can even include music to compliment the art and further capture the consumers’ imagination.”


Hamish Kilburn: What’s your favourite colour at the moment?
Lawrence Hosannah Myse: Green.
HK: Where’s next on your travel bucket list?
LH: Space.
HK: What’s your number-one tool for success?
LH: Intelligent artwork.
HK: What’s your biggest bugbear when it comes to your industry?
LH: The amount of people that do not understand the true vale of art and it’s importance.
HK: Who has inspired your dreams as an artist?
LH: So many people, from a variety of art teachers to graffiti artists, such as Andy Trate, Seen, Murakami and Diego Rivera… There are too many to list.

“Art is weird,” concluded Hosannah. “It’s not like being a doctor or a lawyer where you have a clear career path. Art, and being an artist, is a world for the for the brave and courageous where you create and you go, which can be scary but it can also be invigorating.” My time with Hosannah ends with mixed emotions. It seems as if there is not currently enough awareness – within our industry and beyond – on the possibilities of art. To counter-balance this, I feel as if many hotels around the globe, regardless of the theme, could benefit from the life and soul that wall murals can give to a property.

Winner and runner-up of Graduate Art Prize 2018 are crowned

Hamish Kilburn
As Hotel Designs continues to focus this month’s spotlight on art and photography, editor Hamish Kilburn joined the 23 talented shortlisted BA & MA students of  The Graduate Art Prize 2018, who gathered at the London offices of Herbert Smith Freehills on November 1, to find out which one of them would take the crown of being the winner of…

Concluding this year’s nationwide search to find Britain’s top young artists, 23 shortlisted students -from Brighton to Newcastle – were invited to last night’s final of the Graduate Art Prize 2018. Launched in 2012 by art consultants ARTIQ, the awards ceremony, which this year was sponsored by Herbert Smith Freehills and Atlantis Art Supplies, is recognised as a major platform for young artists to amplify their work to leading designers and hoteliers in Britain and beyond.

The evening showcased the variety of different art styles, motifs and concepts from each of the 23 finalists before the crowd gathered to hear the announcement to reveal who this year’s publicly voted for runner-up and cash-prize winner was.

Runner-up, and claiming a £500 voucher for supplies from Atlantis Art Supplies, was Felicity Meachem from University of Brighton for her oil on canvas piece entitled ‘Im alright, hiding tonight’. “I’m delighted and overwhelmed to be the first person to receive the runners up prize,” said Meachem on the night. “As well as the voucher, the chance to sign with ARTIQ will be an invaluable experience. These kind of opportunities such as The Graduate Art Prize are so important in order for artists to have viable careers. I feel that this is such a crucial time for artists, where I am right now, still fresh out of Art School. Therefore, I have no doubt that this platform will help elevate me into the art world.”

The winner of The Graduate Art Prize 2018, who wins £2,000 and a £500 voucher for supplies from Atlantis Art Supplies, was Theo Bargiotas from University of Oxford who flew in from New Orleans for the event. His oil on canvas entitled ‘Untitled’ was inspired by an abstract dream. Speaking ahead of the evening , Bargiotas said: “I try to capture that dream moment that most people suspect exists, but are not sure how to immortalize and portray. This is a crucial mission for the painter today; trying to detect the sublime and spiritual in everyday gestures and circumstances, probing the dark side of the moon, and showing it to humanity in the form of a picture, a painting.”

Commenting on his win, Bargiotas said: “It is truly a pleasure to be a part of the Artiq Graduate Art Prize. Winning the prize has functioned as a vehicle to communicate my cosmology to an audience outside of the strictly academic world, which is a necessary process for artist and audience. Organisations like Artiq provide this bridge between the introverted word of image-making and the hungry eyes of image appreciators and for this I am grateful.

“There is an extra degree of satisfaction for me, when I think about my work being showcased in corporate environments, providing a much needed optical refreshment for many pairs of eyes every day.

“All in all, winning a prize is of course enjoyable but the most significant aspect is that the work gets seen. The bigger the prize, the greater the audience, and this is what pleases me.”

Image caption: Theo Bargiotas' Untitled

Image caption: Theo Bargiotas’ Untitled

Among the artists Hotel Designs recognised as relevant for the contract market was Demi Bromfield from Lancaster University. Her piece entitled ‘Handmade Persi’. Describing her work, Bromfield said: “Manipulating the notion of haptic criticism, the paintings create an ambivalent illusion of texture and façade, sometimes harnessing elements of raised surfaces whilst in others remaining entirely flat.”

Image caption: Demi Bromfield entitled Handmade Persi

Image caption: Demi Bromfield entitled Handmade Persi

The shortlisted finalists, who each have been invited as ARTIQ artists, were:

Ahae Kim (Slade School of Fine Art)
Alexander Fox-Robinson (Carmarthen School of Art)
Amir Behbahani (University of West London)
Andrei Costahe (Slade School of Fine Art)
Andrew Loggie (City of Guilds of London Art School)
Camila Quintero (Camerwell College of Arts)
Demi Bromfield (Lancaster University)
Felicity MeachEm (University of Brighton)
Hannah Regal (Slade School of Fine Art)
Isabel Mills (Newcastle University)
Jiarui Li (Royal College of Art)
Judy McKenzie (Royal College of Art)
Kaethe Butcher (Camberwell College of Arts)
Liqing Tan (Slade School of Fine Art)
Maximilian Wasinski (Slade School of Fine Art)
Min Zhao (Slade School of Fine Art)
Oliver Hoffmeister (Newcastle University)
Phillip Reeves (Goldsmiths)
Qiujun Chen (Camberwell College of Arts)
Radek Husak (Royal College of Arts)
Samson Edward Tudor (Loughborough University)
Sooyoung Chung (Royal College of Art)
Theadoros Barigiotas (University of Oxford)
William Stockwell (Newcastle University)

Hotel Designs is proud to support ARTIQ as it continues to recognise and celebrate fresh artistic talent. The Graduate Art Prize comes ahead of this year’s highly anticipated Brit List 2018, taking place on November 22 at BEAT London, which will name the top 75 most influential designers, hoteliers and architects in Britain.

Main image credit: Felicity Meachem, I’m alright, hiding tonight. 

Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour prepares for Asia Week

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As Hotel Designs continues to focus the Spotlight On Art and Photography, Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour launches exhibition from November 5 – 9, celebrating the influence, culture and creativity of Asia…

East meets west as Asia Week arrives at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour. The exhibition, in association with Asian Art in London, is a multi-dimensional exhibition that will run from 5 until 9 November 2018. Attracting top designers, architects, international collectors, art-lovers and style-seekers, it will celebrate the influence of Asian art, culture and creativity from across the region.

Featuring seven galleries showcasing the work of artists from China, Korea, Japan, The Philippines and Nepal, Asia Week at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour will explore the enduring appeal of the Asian aesthetic and why it resonates today. Artistic interpretations of the history, philosophy and culture of individual countries will offer a unique perspective to the work on show.

Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour’s famous architecture will provide a dazzling space for an impressive rollcall of emerging and established names. Work by Japanese artists will be represented by Kamal Bakhshi. These include those by the grande dame of Japanese printmaking Toko Shinoda; painter, printmaker and multi-media artist Daniel Kelly (his work can be found in permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the British Museum) and renowned printmakers Morimura Rei and Yoshitoshi Mori who specialized in ‘kappazuri’ stencil prints.

ArtChina, which represents Chinese printmakers and contemporary artists, will show a selection of artworks, prints and ceramics that combine traditional techniques with a modern aesthetic. They include woodblock prints by Wang Chao, screenprints by emerging artist, actor and producer Kelly Mi and lithographic prints by Wei Jia, a representative of artists born in the 1970s. From Korea will be ceramic pieces from The Han Collection including those by pottery painter Oh Man-Chu.

The selling exhibition will include work by South East Asian artists, represented by Singapore Art Garret Gallery (SAGG), such as those by Singaporean watercolourists Ng Woon Lam and Don Low, renowned glass sculptor Ramon Orlina from The Philippines and Indonesian painters Indra Dodi and Hari Gita. The October Gallery will showcase contemporary work by Nepalese artist Govinda Sah, Chinese artist Tian Wei and celebrated Japanese artist Kenji Yoshida. Genrokuart will explore female beauty and the history of pre-modern Japan.

Previously unseen in the UK, visitors can also view the Hugentobler Collection of Modern Vietnamese Art, featuring paintings and drawings by two Vietnamese modernist masters, Bùi Xuân Phái and Nguyễn Tư Nghiêm. It belongs to a private collector who discovered Hanoi’s hidden art scene when he travelled to Vietnam in the early 1990s as the country was opening up. The work is not for sale but has come from its current home in Switzerland, especially for the exhibition.

The inclusion of the NIO EP9 supercar will quicken the pulse of design lovers and automotive collectors alike. The fastest electric car in the world, carbon fibre is coupled with advanced technology in the design of this high-performance vehicle from China-founded EV company NIO. With its futuristic aesthetic, the EP9 has the looks to match its performance.

Generating a deeper understanding of design from both cultures is at the heart of the events programme, bringing a connection in an increasingly cosmopolitan world. From talks, workshops ad masterclasses and discovery tours, they will explore the crossover between East and West.



SPOTLIGHT ON: 7 inspiring art and photography hotels from around the world

1024 577 Hamish Kilburn
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.

1) Matetsi Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

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.

2) The Silo Hotel, Cape Town 

Image credit: The Silo Hotel, Cape Town

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…”

3) The New Majestic, Singapore

Image credit: New Majestic Hotel

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.

4) Henry Jones Art Hotel, Australia

Image credit: Henry Jones Art Hotel, Australia

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.

5) Dolce Hotels & Resorts, The Alexander, Indianapolis 

Image credit: Dolce Hotels & Resorts, The Alexander, Indianapolis

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.

6) 21C Museum Hotel Nashville

Image credit: 21C Museum Hotel Nashville

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.

7) The Langham, London 

Image credit: The Langham, London

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




SPOTLIGHT ON: Photography/Artwork & Show Season Recap

1024 658 Hamish Kilburn
Throughout November, Hotel Designs will be shining the spotlight on the importance of photography and artwork while also reflected on what was a busy and successful show season, which is not quite over yet…

Next month, Hotel Designs will investigate how photography and artwork is used within international hotel design in order to create personality and a strong sense of place. In addition, it will reflect on Show Season’s London Design Festival and Independent Hotel Show and will highlight what the industry can expect ahead of this year’s highly anticipated SLEEP + EAT.

Photography, artwork and wallcoverings

This month, ARTIQ will conclude its nationwide search to find the best young artists trying to make a name for themselves. Now in its sixth year, The Graduate Art Prize 2018, established by ARTIQ and global law firm Herbert Smith Freehills in 2012, is open to all final year students on BA and MA degree courses at British art colleges or universities. In addition, the Hotel Designs editorial team will catch up with the artist behind the sensational newly designed lobby at Address Downtown, Dubai in order to understand the challenges of creating the 8.5-metre-high paintings that now frame the luxurious first impressions upon arrival.

Show Season Recap 

Image caption (left to right): Hamish Kilburn (Editor, Hotel Designs), Emma King (Head of Interior Design, Europe), Chris Hill (Director of Operations, Daniel Thwaites) and Anant Sharma (CEO, Matters of Form)

As we hit the halfway point in regards to Show Season as the industry prepares for SLEEP + EAT, Hotel Designs will reflect on the highlights from both London Design Festival and Independent Hotel Show in order to pinpoint the main events and what the trends look like for 2019 and beyond.

If you’re a supplier in either of these categories and want your products to reach more than 41,000 hoteliers, interior designers and architects per month, there are plenty of ways you can get involved with these features next month, from supplying an opinion piece to working with us on a targeted mini-series.

If you wish to find out more, please contact Zoe Guerrier on 01992 374059 or z.guerrier@forumevents.co.uk

Image credit: ©-Nicolas-Dumont-courtesy-of-Address-Downtown




Shortlist for Graduate Art Prize 2018 announced

Hamish Kilburn

Art consultancy company ARTIQ has announced this year’s shortlist for Graduate Art Prize, announcing the largest ever prize for the winner…

The shortlist for The Graduate Art Prize 2018 has just been announced and public voting is now open. ARTIQ is delighted to announce that this year The Graduate Art Prize features its largest-ever prize for the winner, thanks to the generosity of both new and existing sponsors, with a £2000 cash prize offered by global law firm and long-term sponsor Herbert Smith Freehills and an additional art materials voucher to the value of £500 offered for the first time this year by new sponsor Atlantis Art Supplies, with the £500 voucher also offered – and also for the first time – to a runner-up. Art consultancy ARTIQ, whose brainchild the event is, will also sign both the winner and runner-up to its roster of new and established artists, with possible representation also available for the other shortlisted artists. The increasingly influential award, now in its sixth year, is open to all final-year students on BA and MA degree courses at British art colleges or universities.

“Voting on the shortlist is now open to the public, with the final prize-winner selected exclusively from the 23 finalists as a result of this vote.”

The shortlisted entries were selected by ARTIQ, together with Herbert Smith Freehills and the winner and runner-up will be announced this year at a Private View on November 1st at the London offices of Herbert Smith Freehills by John Corrie, Partner at Herbert Smith Freehills, together with ARTIQ CEO Patrick McCrae. Voting on the shortlist is now open to the public, with the final prize-winner selected exclusively from the 23 finalists as a result of this vote.

People are encouraged to vote for as many artists and works as they wish via clicking here.

‘We received submissions this year from 35 different colleges and universities, including Leeds, Lancaster and London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Ulster, Falmouth and Newcastle, so we are delighted with the geographical spread of entries,” said ARTIQ’s Arts Manager Helen Buckley. “Newcastle was one of the most successful universities in the final selection, with three students making the shortlist, the same as for Camberwell, only beaten by the Royal College of Art, which has four 2018 finalists and the Slade, with the highest number of all, with six graduating artists represented.’

Art consultancy ARTIQ works with interior designers and architects, as well as directly with corporate, hospitality and developer clients to promote the use of art in the workplace and in hospitality and residential environments, through carefully-curated art collections on a sale, rental, exhibition or bespoke commission basis. The consultancy and its young, connected team, believes passionately in investing in and supporting new talent and in helping young artists get a foothold in the industry and being able to make a living from their work.

Patrick McCrae, CEO of ARTIQ, commented on this year’s shortlisted works: “It’s great this year to see such a variety of artworks making the shortlist. There are paintings, illustrated works, sculptures, collages and textile art, presented on or in canvas, wood, paper, aluminium and porcelain. It never gets any less exciting to view the submissions and the range and quality seem to be consistently getting better, with a great number of colleges getting involved and helping their graduates get the possibility of a real head start in their careers. We’re very proud to be able to offer that.”

The winner of The Graduate Art Prize 2017 was Charlotte Aiken for her work ‘Untitled Triptych’. Charlotte, who had then just completed her BA at The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design at London Metropolitan University, was shortlisted for a large-scale, three-part abstract painting, created using acrylic paints on canvas, with each one of the three paintings measuring 2.22m x 1.4m. Charlotte commented on what the prize meant to her: “The Graduate Art Prize gave me a really positive introduction into the world of art after finishing university and the confidence to move forward as an artist.  Since the prize I have had lots of exciting projects opportunities and, with the support of the team at ARTIQ, my work is getting out there quicker than I could possibly have imagined a year ago!”

Image caption: Charlotte Aiken claiming last year’s top prize with United Triptych

The Graduate Art Prize was first set up by ARTIQ together with Herbert Smith Freehills in 2013 and grew out of a pre-existing working relationship, after ARTIQ was commissioned to build an arts strategy for the law firm’s London office. John Corrie of Herbert Smith Freehills commented: “Always a highlight of our year at HSF, it is a real privilege to shortlist the submissions for the Graduate Art Prize. Every summer we are bowled over by the incredible variety and standard of the students’ work. This year has been no exception, in particular with so many pieces that challenge convention and are truly thought-provoking.  I feel sure that you will enjoy viewing this exhibition as much as we did.”

Hotel Designs will be following all the action from the awards closely, and Art and Photography will become a major theme that will run throughout the month of November.

Main image credit: ARTIQ

New Amy Winehouse artwork revealed at Hard Rock Hotel London

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Hard Rock Hotel London, which is slated to open in Spring 2019, partners with photographer to the stars Terry O’Neill and commissions Amy Winehouse art…

Despite its opening not being unveiled until Spring next year, Hard Rock Hotel London is fast becoming London’s most anticipated opening in 2019 as it has now revealed a sneak peek of the specially commissioned that will be put on display in the hotel’s 1,000 guestrooms and suites.

Partnering with internationally renowned photographer, Terry O’Neill and legendary photography archive, Iconic Images, the series of artwork will bring to life the site’s rich musical history and immortalise the world’s biggest music and culture icons.

Cult photographer O’Neill has shot countless global music and screen icons, with his work hanging in national art galleries and private collections worldwide. The collaboration will see Hard Rock Hotel London guests discover unique images of iconic musicians including Amy Winehouse and David Bowie, embellished with bold brushstrokes of colour by the artists at Iconic Images.

“The inspiration for the Hard Rock Hotel collaboration really comes from the music, and the rich musical history the site of the new hotel holds,” said O’Neill. “It seems like anyone who was anyone went through the lobby, stood outside the doors, or played gigs across the road in Hyde Park. Some of my fondest memories are of taking the shots that will be showcased, and they have found a fantastic home at the new Hard Rock Hotel London.”

Exhibited across all of the hotel’s suites and bedrooms, the artwork will be a visual homage to the biggest names in the industry, many of whom have previously stayed at the property in years gone by. Joining Winehouse, Hendrix and Bowie on the hotel walls will be Elton John, Diana Ross, Madonna and Mick Jagger.

“Terry O’Neill is one of the world’s most iconic music photographers, so there was no other choice for us when we were selecting a partner to curate the art at the new Hard Rock Hotel London,” added Oliver Kahf, General Manager of Hard Rock Hotel London. “Music is at the heart of everything we do at the hotel and these immortalised legends will be celebrated by each guest who passes through our doors”

“Hard Rock Hotel’s arrival in London will further help define the hotel group as one of the most iconic and most recognisable companies in the world.”

Internationally recognised as a world-class entertainment and lifestyle brand, Hard Rock Hotels offer stylish, contemporary, design and unparalleled service with the continual thread of music running throughout. Hard Rock Hotels’ current portfolio is located in the world’s most enviable resort destinations, as well as urban gateways. Hard Rock Hotels cater to the evolving and distinctive needs of today’s cosmopolitan travellers who seek a reprieve from traditional, predictable experiences, whether for business or leisure travel.

Through music appreciation and an imaginative environment, Hard Rock Hotels deliver products for the varied aspects of life – work, play and personal sanctuary.

Hard Rock Hotel’s arrival in London will further help define the hotel group as one of the most iconic and most recognisable companies in the world, with venues in 74 countries, including 185 cafes, 25 hotels and 12 casinos. Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns the world’s greatest collection of music memorabilia, which is displayed at its locations around the globe. Watch out London, Hard Rock has announced its grand, solo entrance.

Art outside the frame in the hotel lobby

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As Hotel Designs continues to focus the lens in and around the hotel lobby, editor Hamish Kilburn investigates the importance of art outside the frame in the public areas…

Earlier this month we discussed how the hotel lobby’s purpose in international hotel design has changed in recent years to cater to the increasing demands of modern travellers. What once was a place to sit and wait when checking in and out has now opened new possibilities to provide meeting areas, lounges, bars and even – in some extreme circumstances – nightclubs. At the forefront of this shift is the overall attention to detail when designing the lobby to create a lasting strong first impression – and much of this detail is focused on the walls.

As manufacturing technology improves, the gap between what is art and what is a wallcovering narrows. To challenge pre-existing design conventions, artists have begun painting outside the lines to reflect their inspiration onto the walls, and what a difference it makes.

Bespoke wallcoverings

As we prepare for London Design Festival, there seems to be a strong focus on bespoke structured – and colourful – wallcoverings. One company that seems to be owning this space is Colourgen, which will launch what it calls a ‘unique 3D technology for the production of bespoke, structured wallpaper’ at 100% Design.

Until now, designers needed to source specialist, pre-textured media to create 3D style effects on wallpaper or go through a complex printing process to create the effect using standard printers. These methods add cost and time to a project and limit the designer in terms of what they can do creatively. The Dimense printer from Colourgen simultaneously prints and creates the structure of the wallpaper in one pass and is ready to hang immediately, technology that simply hasn’t existed until now. With Dimense, the designer has 100 per cent flexibility to create the bespoke wall covering effects they desire.

Dimense offers output that won’t fade in direct light, can be cleaned without scratching or damage and is C1 fire rated, making it perfect for high traffic areas such as hotels, retail and corporate environments.  It can print at speeds of up to 20sqm/hour with a print width of 1.6m.  Dimense is an environmentally friendly technology based on latex eco-friendly inks and PVC-free structure-forming Ecodeco media.

Go big or go home

Artists are, too, seeing the walls of the public areas as a blank canvas for creativity. In addition to curating powerful art, the experts at Kalisher, led by David Winton and Helen Kalisher, use in-house state-of-the-art technology to create and print exceptionally designed wallcoverings, suited to each client and each hotel. The talented team and experience is unmatched in the industry and is the key to both creating and curating a comprehensive art collection that will inspire guests while working seamlessly with the interior design and architecture. Kalisher’s EMEA team create, curate, and commission meaningful art packages for international properties.  Recently completed and in progress projects include: Hotel Scribe Paris Opera by Sofitel, InterCon Sofia, Hard Rock Davos, Address Fashion Avenue Dubai, Sheraton Miramar Resort El Gouna and a 5* resort in Qatar. As quoted on the company’s website, “the end result is a stunning visual enhancement of the properties, encompassing work from our own Kalisher studio artists, along with commissioned pieces from locally-recognised artists around the globe.” Example work in its portfolio, such as the walls at the W Las Vegas, strongly suggest that Kalisher believes that art as we know and love it today does not have to be restricted to a frame.

W Las Vegas, Kalisher

Image credit: W Las Vegas, Kalisher

Creating a sense of place

With creating a sense of place being one of the most – if not the most – important roles of a hotel lobby, the appropriate use of art is synonymous in the overall design of the hotel lobby. One British artist, Beth Nicholas, was commissioned by the Address Downtime hotel in Dubai with the brief to revitalise the hotel lobby. Nicholas answer was a series of 8.5-metre which are now the centrepiece of the newly-refurbished 63-storey Address Downtown hotel in Dubai. “I’ve never had a commission that was 8.5 metres,” said Nicholas in a recent interview with myself. “Soho Myriad, the art consultants for the project, like to challenge their artists, but I don’t think they have ever commissioned anything on this scale before.” Beth, who believes that her work is best suited in public spaces like the hotel lobby, agrees that she has seen a big shift in the aesthetic of the hotel lobby. “They have changed massively. Hotel lobbies were always places people moved through and left, whereas now what we have is a multi-usable space,” she said. “And that is really fascinating as it’s obvious that hotel designers have realised that people need places to congregate.

art commission at Address Downtown

Image caption: Beth Nicholas art commission at Address Downtown, Dubai, June 2018 © Nicolas Dumont, courtesy of Address Downtown

As the two markets – art and wallcoverings – tie closer together, it seems as if the possibilities for hotel design in the lobby are written on the walls – and if the above image is anything to go by, those walls are almost endless.

Hotel Designs will be live from London next week at London Design Festival to further investigate key trends and discussions circling international hotel design today. 

Main image credit: Colourgen


The Mandrake welcomes Hollywood charm, but not as you know it

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The Legendary Mark Mahoney Takes Centre Stage at The Mandrake Artist-in-Residence between September 20 – 30…

Known for its wildly mysterious bohemiam-gothic design, The Mandrake in London’s Fitzrovia district has announced that the high priest of Hollywood tattoo artists, Mark Mahoney, will be the artist-in-residence between September 20 – 30.

From September 20, Mahoney – whose roster boasts A-listers including David Beckham, Lady Gaga, Adele and Johnny Depp – will bring his Shamrock Social Club tattoo parlour to The Mandrake for ten days only, where he will live-ink his VIP guests. In-house guests at The Mandrake can skip the 18-month waiting list and request to be inked by the legend himself. In addition to the West Hollywood Shamrock Social Club inspired pop-up, The Mandrake will offer 15 lucky fans an opportunity to have an immersive private charity dinner with Mahoney.

During Mark’s residency, his main activities will include:

  • Shamrock tattoo parlour pop-up, 20th – 30th September: Guests can see Mahoney in action from the hotel lobby and courtyard in a space inspired by his West Hollywood studio. In-house guests of The Mandrake will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be tattooed by Mark himself, jumping the epic 18-month-long waiting list. To be in with a chance of this, guests of The Mandrake should request a tattoo by emailing tattoo@themandrake.com.
  • Wine and dine with the legend himself, Wednesday 26th September: The Mandrake is offering 15 lucky guests the rare opportunity to meet Mahoney at an exclusive charity dinner where the strong-browed, pompadoured Mahoney will share his celebrity tales of the last 40 years and possibly inspire guests to immortalise the night in ink on their next trip to Hollywood. Tickets will be priced at £500 with some of the proceeds going to a cancer charity. Contact tattoo@themandrake.com to be in with the chance of attending this five course dining experience, equipped with Mahoney-inspired cocktails and goodie bags.

Johnny Depp calls him brother. Lana Del Rey cast him as her muse. Beckham is head to toe in his work. Mark Mahoney is revered by fellow tattoo artists, and the younger generation look to him as an inspiration and mentor in the craft of tattooing. His work has revolutionised tattoo inking globally and The Mandrake will once again welcome the legend as part of the hotel’s Artist-in-Residence series for September.

Designing Instagrammable: Does my art look big on this?

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In the third instalment of Designing Instagrammable, Valé Architects explores how public art can be used as a not-so-secret weapon to create an authentic sense of place…

Pablo Picasso once said that art’s purpose is to wash daily life’s dust off our souls. If that’s true, then we owe a great debt to the many public and street artists for keeping our spirits clean and the art authentic.

Public art has been around since we were still hanging out in caves painting mammoths. When done well it can make us think, act and feel in ways we didn’t do before. Done badly and it’ll be laughed at or worse – ignored entirely.

As part of Valé’s ongoing investigation into what makes hospitality design remarkable, we’ll focus on the role of public art in putting otherwise unremarkable places on the map. We’ll also look at why this is relevant to your own business.

Art versus design

As designers we’re usually more than happy to be called artists. Yet, many artists would shudder at the idea of being called designers. So what’s the deal here?

Artists and designers both create visual compositions, but their motives are different. The artist wants to create an emotional bond with their audience, while the designer wants to motivate that audience towards taking a particular action – like buying a product.

Looking at it differently, artists are often the experimenters, while designers are the implementers whose role it is to merge creativity with wider commercial goals.

But more interesting than the definition of art is the general public’s response to it. Public art always intends to connect with a far larger audience than fine art. Historically that audience was mostly limited to locals and visitors, along with perhaps a small circle of unfortunate souls back home sitting through the holiday snaps.

But with a high-quality camera in everybody’s pocket, 2.2bn active Facebook users and more than 1 billion active Instagrammers each month, the potential audience for a public art or design piece is now limitless.

Over the past ten years, literally everybody has become a photographer, art critic and influencer all at once. They’ll share what they feel is remarkable with their tribe, regardless of whether it constitutes art or not.

Regenerating small communities

A great example of how public art and social media go hand in hand can be found in the small outback town of Coonaplyn in South Australia.

Once a bustling rural town, Coonaplyn had been down the dumps following the centralisation of its local businesses to other nearby towns. The local Coorong District Council felt something big needed to happen to put the town back on the map. It commissioned Brisbane based artist Guido Van Helten to turn five large grain silos in the centre of town into one large piece of public art.

Famous for his large-scale portraits, Van Helten created a series of murals each immortalising a particular local resident. The response from the town was overwhelmingly positive. As local business owner Debbie Thompson put it: “you can’t make people stop, but you can create a reason for them to stop”.

Coorong District Council’s bet paid off because the art led to a significant increase in the number of cars stopping on their way through town. Local officials estimated that the stopping rate went up by around 40 cars per hour, which eventually led to the opening of a new cafe and grocery store.

That may not sound like a lot, but in a town where the main street was littered with boarded up shops, every little bit counts – not to mention the less tangible social benefits such a huge shift in local civic pride.

Public art in urban spaces

It’s not just struggling small towns who benefit from a cleverly injected shot of well executed public art.

We spoke to David Don, a visual artist and the organiser of the Brisbane Street Arts Festival, who’s been at the forefront of the explosion in mural art internationally for many years. Don has produced street art for a number of projects commissioned by Brisbane City Council, as well as major property developers in the area.

Their strategy is to turn public spaces into a type of ‘experiential immersion’ for local people and visitors.

According to Don a growing number of developers now see quality street art as a must-have in both new and existing projects. “Art brings an authenticity to a location. It creates moments of surprise, narrative and activity. But equally, it has the potential to bring serious economic benefits.” he adds.

Brisbane gallerist and curator John Stafford agrees. He feels the city is an example of how local councils increasingly see public art not only as a tool for creating safer communities but also for producing a sense of reassurance that a public space and the people in it are being cared for. According to Safford and as far as the city is concerned: “This approach not only benefits local community members but has the effect to boost tourism and the city’s brand and identity as a New World City”.

Aware of how social media can make art a much more sustainable career choice, younger artists are increasingly blurring the lines between art and design.

Local Brisbane property developers like Aria have been integrating public art into their projects for a very long time. Their strategy is to turn public spaces into a type of ‘experiential immersion’ for local people and visitors.

It benefits the community, the local economy, and of course the developers themselves. After all, greater footfall and community affinity is more than likely to be reflected in higher property values.

Art and design come together

Aware of how social media can make art a much more sustainable career choice, younger artists are increasingly blurring the lines between art and design.

Take Red Hong Yi for example, internationally renowned artists famous for creating portraits using everyday materials.

Known as Red, her work is particularly interesting because it seeks a strong emotional connection, while also encouraging the viewer to take a particular course of action. She therefore effortlessly brings art and design together, with some of her art pieces lending themselves particularly well for commercial brands.

She created an art piece for the Facebook Singapore office which was made entirely out of chopsticks. Her purpose was to inject some fun and creativity into the building. “The engineers housed in the building are coding all day so it balances the right brain thinking”.

According to Red, most of the companies she works for see ‘public’ art inside their buildings as critical not only for conveying their brand, but on a more subconscious level also for encouraging their staff’s own creative process.

In the future, she sees many more artists collaborating with big brands. It’s a win-win situation for both, with artists able to support themselves better financially, while helping big brands show off in a creative way.

What does this have to do with you?

So what does all this have to do with your hospitality business? Everything.

If a town of two hundred people in the Australian outback can put itself on the map to the point that you are reading about it right now, then think of the value which a beautifully designed space or carefully curated art piece can bring to your own business.

It’s a mantra we’ve repeated many times as part of this series – remarkability is key.

Provide your guests with a sense of amazement, creativity and fun the moment they step into your space

Inside the hotel, understanding the customer and client’s needs is paramount. If travellers have made the effort to travel to a destination because of its certain vibe, then reflecting and balancing this in the interiors, and in the artwork inside the hotel, is paramount, as the creatives at British design firm Goddard Littlefair know all too well. We spoke to them to get their insight as industry leaders. “Interpreting our client’s brief correctly and effectively is paramount and we conduct in-depth research into market and lifestyle trends to pinpoint exactly what a target market demands,” said Richard McCready-Hughes, the creative director. “We also find that some of our best work is delivered when there is a clear resonance between the aspirations and wants of our client’s target customer and the design team themselves. This is something we consider very carefully when assembling project teams.

“Working on the Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square, we were briefed to focus on a traveller tribe that wanted all the reassurance of luxury service, but was also looking for as sense of authenticity, belonging and assimilation with the city they were visiting. We wanted the hotel to speak immediately to these guests and evoke the sense that they were instinctively ‘understood’ and being welcomed into the home of a much loved, slightly eccentric, family member. Carefully-selected artwork and vintage pieces provide a sense of place, familiarity and nostalgia, but the overall effect is one of warmth and modernity.”

So, get clear on what your brand stands for and who your future guests are. Then dazzle with quality design and art. Provide your guests with a sense of amazement, creativity and fun the moment they step into your space.

But whatever art or design you choose, make sure it reflects your brand, and make sure it creates the right emotional response among your future guests. Most importantly, be original. Doing an exact copy of someone else’s great design is neither creative nor fun. A poorly executed version will only be remarkable on Instagram for the wrong reasons.

Then sit back and watch your guests do your PR for you on social media. And just like Coonaplyn, maybe your business will make into one of our future articles.

Learn more about designing for niche guests in the Niche Hotel Design Guide by Valé.

Missed the last two articles on Designing Instagrammable? It’s okay, catch up on part one here and part two here.

Designer André Fu explores ‘modern reflections’ concept in four new projects

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AFSO explores designer concept ‘modern reflections’ in four new projects around the globe…

Following the recent completion of the Pavilion Suites at the Berkeley London, designer André Fu continues the notion of ‘’Modern Reflections’ with four key openings which will be unveiled later this year.

AFSO is an internationally acclaimed design studio in Hong Kong, founded by the architect André Fu.

With an extensive portfolio of projects throughout Asia and Europe, the studio has been pivotal in revolutionsing the concept of modern luxury with a series of projects that reflect Fu’s signature artistic perspective and timeless sensibility.

“We are living in an increasingly digitalised world with constant social media distractions, unlike the generations before us,” explains Fu. It is important to be able to step back and have timeto reflect on our personal upbringing and heritage. This echoes my strong belief that we need to learn from the past in order to foster creativity. To me, true luxury is in the experience and not just the aesthetics.”

His latest projects reflect just that.

The spa at Chateau La Coste, Provence

Image Credit: AFSO

Situated halfway between the historic town of Aix en Provence, home of Cezanne, and the famous Luberon Nature Park, Villa La Coste is set in the midst of the Provencal landscape, in the heart of the biodynamic vineyard Château La Coste, an international destination for art, architecture and natural beauty.

Inspired by the spirit of the vineyard and breath-taking artistic vision of the chateau, Fu designed key destinations within the hotel, including the restaurant Salon, the Bar and the Library. This summer sees the opening of the much anticipated spa.

To create the spa, Andre used rustic Cipria marble, brushed silver oak and plastering finished in the local Provencal manner, layered with Fu’s signature style of contemporary, elegant luxury. Conceived as an emotional journey, guests are transported into a distinctly rustic yet contemporary world.

Ribbon Dance Chair for Louis Vuitton Objets Nomades

Image credit: AFSO

For Louis Vuitton Objets Nomades exhibition during Salone del Mobile, Andre Fu presented Ribbon Dance, a two-person “conversation” chair which is a graceful echo of the movements of traditional Asian ribbon dances. The pair of seats are balanced between the elegant curves of the wooden arms which are covered in Louis Vuitton leather while the fluid shape of the chair evokes ideas of infinity. Ribbon Dance was first shown in Hong Kong in March this year, in a stunning exhibition space designed by Fu, which featured other Objets Nomades. Created in 2012, the Objets Nomades collection keeps alive Louis Vuitton’s long tradition of beautifully crafted travel objects.

Hotel Vic, Hong Kong

Image credit: Hotel Vic

Hong Kong’s waterfront and stunning harbour have always served a key inspiration for many of Fu’s creations.

Following his timeless design for Upperhouse hotel that ushered in a new era of hospitality, and the Kerry Hotel that follows an urban resort concept, Fu has created two signature restaurants at the Hotel VIC, offering a duo of dining experiences on the city’s distinctive harbour front.

Inspired to capture the spirit of an authentic farmhouse, the Farmhouse is an all-day international dining venue, located atop the podium to offer delicious buffets and international cuisine. The dining room features a dramatic open kitchen, while a lush outdoor garden creates a very special backdrop for al fresco dining.

Adjoining the restaurant is The Farmhouse Deli, a 4m high delicatessen decked in interlocking walnut and highlighted with a grid of brass fins to evoke an urban vibe. A bespoke island communal glass table and a range of lounge seating have also been introduced to embrace a co-working environment.

The Waldorf Astoria, Bangkok

Image credit: AFSO

Set within the modern Magnolias Ratchadamri Development in the upscale Phatum Wan district, the Waldorf Astoria’s contemporary interior has been designed by Fu, evoking the Waldorf’s rich Art Nouveau heritage, but overlaid with his own contemporary design ethos, presenting extravagant ceiling heights, traditional Thai elements, bronze accents and other inspired touches.

For Fu, The Waldorf Astoria Bangkok exemplifies his concept of ‘modern reflections’, stating “it is very much a reflection of my personal memories of visiting the legendary Waldorf Astoria New York as a child and my vision to translate the essence of the experience into the context of modern Bangkok today”.

Fu has also created three unique dining venues, including The Front Room, providing a menu of Nordic/Thai cuisine, the hotel’s signature Peacock Alley lounge and the Brasserie. A four-tiered tower dedicated to banquet facilities has also been introduced.

Meanwhile, the guestrooms boast floor-to-ceiling windows, hand tufted rugs covering hardwood floors, and Thai-inspired details.

Perrotin Shanghai 

Image credit: AFSO

Fu has a long-standing collaboration with renowned gallerist Emmaneul Perrotin for his artspaces.

Following the success of Fu’s collaboration with Perrotin for two key spaces in Hong Kong and Tokyo, AFSO has been commissioned to create the new gallery for Perrotin in Shanghai due to unveil late 2018.

Located in the heart of Shanghai’s Bund quarter, this will be the 18th gallery space that its owner Emmanuel Perrotin has opened worldwide in 28 years, Perrotin Shanghai will occupy the top floor of a historic three-storey brick building (27 Huqiu Road) known as “Amber Building”. Built in 1937, it is a former warehouse used by the Central Bank of China during the Republican period. From 1886 to 1943 Huqiu Road was named “Museum Road”. It continues till this day to have a prominent place in Shanghai’s art landscape with its close proximity to the city’s major museums and auction houses including Rockbund Art Museum, Fosun Foundation and Christie’s.

The 1,200 square meter gallery space will include a mezzanine and several exhibition rooms. In keeping with the building’s modernist elegance.

Main image credit: Pavilion Suites at the Berkeley London

Rolling Stones Wallpaper

Camden-based Rock Roll launches new collection of bespoke wallcoverings celebrating iconic music artwork

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Bringing the full emotional impact of iconic cover art vividly to life in the home is a new bespoke collection of luxury wall aesthetics from Camden-based company Rock Roll…

Camden-based wallcoverings company Rock Roll has launches the world’s first officially licensed repeat wallpaper and large-scale murals of album artwork from seminal recording artists. Delivering superior quality bespoke wallcoverings of legendary bands Rock Roll will transform rooms into statement spaces that speak to aficionados of quality and music.

Rock Roll felt the creative power of album cover art and its resonance with fans meant the designs deserved a larger canvas, deciding to showcase it in a totally new format – as large-scale wall murals and repeat wallpaper.

Rock Roll’s official music wallpaper and wall murals have been designed in collaboration with some of the world’s biggest bands. The company has partnered with musicians from Black Sabbath, The Who, and Guns ‘n’ Roses to The Rolling Stones, Bring Me the Horizon and The Sex Pistols to create high-quality music wallpapers featuring some of rock’s most memorable artwork.

Working closely with band management, record labels and the artists personally, Rock Roll has obtained the official rights to reproduce cover art on high-quality, digitally printed bespoke wallpaper and murals. A passionate group of music enthusiasts, Rock Roll has worked with artists and record labels for years. For that reason, it does things properly – every design is officially licensed and fully approved by the artists and their management.

Large and quirky public area

Award-winning Naumi Auckland unveils exclusive art collection

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In the lobby, a 24-carat gold textured wall represents the feathered nape of the native Tui bird…

Art and design play a central role at Naumi Auckland Airport, which opened in February. Already heralded as the world’s coolest airport hotel, making it into Forbes’ list of “The Best Airport Hotels In The World 2018”, Naumi Auckland Airport is a living gallery as well as a hotel. Its impressive work embellishes the property from the entrance through to each and every guestroom. From up-and-coming artists in New Zealand as well as established names internationally, the multi-sensory pieces reference the native Tui bird, on which the hotel’s design is centred, as well as the beautiful landscapes of the country.

Large lobby area with gold wall

One of the most striking works at Naumi Auckland is found in the lobby. Greeting guests as they arrive is a 24-carat gold textured wall which represents the feathered nape of the Tui bird. Commissioned to the NY Art Department (New Zealand), the 95 gold discs are hand painted with a feather pattern. Next to the wall sits a customized two and half metre bird cage as well as paintings from Australian artist Belynda Henry. Winner of the SNW Wynne prize, Belynda was specially commissioned to capture the natural Auckland landscape and started the process by sitting on the rooftop of the hotel to sketch the view. Her original pieces have been transformed onto rugs in the guest rooms as a playful interpretation of the Tui bird’s native surroundings. The rugs allow guests to engage with the natural landscape through a walkable piece of art.

Close up of the tactile wall in the lobby

Among the eclectic mix of handpicked furnishings from the likes of Jonathan Adler and Kartell are works by New Zealand based designer Judi Bagust. Commissioned to work on original pieces for the hotel, the artist chose to capture the lyrical notes of the singing Tui bird. The largest work is found in the Paksa Restaurant as well as prints hanging in the guestrooms, complete with customized brass frames. Seemingly floating in space, Bagust’s brushed ink marks stretch, loop and fold across the paper in one elegant, oscillating movement. Each mark twists and turns to give the effect of a delicate dance of a geological form or musical score.

Modern dark-lit guestroom

In keeping with the hotel’s art theme, Naumi Auckland is home to two design suites including the Dotty Suite, inspired by the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, known for her brightly coloured conceptual pieces. Each piece of furniture, wall and soft furnishing will be inspired by Kusama’s signature dots, making it a one of a kind experience for guests. Naumi was the sponsor for Auckland Art Gallery’s Obliteration Room by Yayoi Kusama Project, that ran earlier this year.

ARTIQ and Anita Rosato Interior Design curate zoological collection for London Marriott Hotel Regents Park

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Project is the third ARTIQ has completed with Anita Rosato Interior Design and Marriott.

Art consultants ARTIQ have worked with Anita Rosato Interior Design on the curation of a location-specific art collection for London Marriott Hotel Regents Park, based on a zoological theme.

The project is part of the hotel’s multi-million pound renovation scheme and represents the third ARTIQ has completed with Anita Rosato Interior Design and Marriott, following previous collaborations on both London Heathrow Marriott hotel and London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale.

For the Regents Park, ARTIQ worked with the overall project team, which also included Tower Eight, Benjamin West and the hotel operating team, to develop a new and bespoke art collection that would complement the hotel’s high-end redesign, as well as reflecting the hotel’s proximity to Regent’s Park, ZSL London Zoo and to the former villages that make up the wider area.

The full redesign remit covered the lobby, executive lounge, meetings and events spaces, as well as new and existing bedrooms, with ARTIQ’s area of work concentrated on the guestrooms, linking corridors and lift lobbies.

For the latter, ARTIQ, under the direction of Head of Operations Katie Terres, says it drew inspiration from the natural surroundings of Regent’s Park and nearby Primrose Hill, procuring a series of botanical photographs that include reflections of the ‘Primrose Flower’.

ARTIQ also procured a series of original prints by local artists with zoological themes for the guestrooms, including work by local artists Nadia Taylor and Joanna Ham, both of whom had been initially selected for the project by Anita Rosato Interior Design.

“On Anita’s recommendation, we commissioned Nadia to create new interpretations of her iconic bird collages, working with the artist to develop the pieces of art using bespoke colour schemes to complement the interiors,” said Terres.

Work by artist and illustrator Joanna Ham is focused around animal motifs, with the character ‘Rabbit’ taking centre stage in her minimalist aesthetic. Joanna is the founder of London design house HAM and is a significant figure in the local contemporary art and design scene, having collaborated with brands including Liberty, Designjunction, Mother, Billy Name, Topshop and Colette.

“Joanna’s work tallies with the hotel’s commitment to local artists and adds a contemporary splash of monochrome to the bedroom design,” Terres explained.

Additionally, ARTIQ directly commissioned Tropicana, by London-based painter and illustrator Margaux Carpentier, whose previous works include murals for ZSL London Zoo. The piece is a vibrant, playful depiction of tropical animals, with Margaux’s use of vivid orange in Tropicana complimenting the palette and orange detailing of the scheme’s interior by Anita Rosato Interior Design.

Anita Rosato Interior Design also created a sculpture for the guestroom art collection: a bespoke wire elephant sculpture, which ARTIQ then templated and commissioned for manufacture. The sculptures are intended to create a sense of fun and provide a playful focal point for guests.

General Manager, Tony Owen, said: “We recognise that modern traveller needs are constantly changing and the new refurbishment ensures that our offering falls in line with these demands.”

Why art is essential in creating a hotel’s visual identity

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Some of the world’s best hotels double as art galleries. Mapplethorpes, Dalis and Warhols are peering down at guests as they check in. In some cases, owning major artworks is a status symbol: a sign of wealth. But hotels increasingly have a interest in visual art because it suggests a much-craved link with the local community, and exhibits a keenness for culture.

Guests are increasingly craving personalised travel experiences. So incorporating visual art into a hotel’s interior design has become an obvious route to market. The new unstoppable trend. 

Art splurges personality, but the first step is never to rush into anything, says Fresssh Image architect and interior designer Giada Schioppa.I always prefer to be surprised by an original by an unknown artist than see a print of Manet’s Déjeuner sur L’Herbe, or the Mona Lisa!,” she confesses.

It’s true that an influx of hotels using art as a commodity has led to decrease in quality. “In the last 10 years art as a trend has become quite common,” adds Giada. “From boutique hotels to bigger international chains, every brand is trying to differentiate their style to ensure their guests feel as though they’re in a truly unique place”.

But when done well, art has no better home. “Visual art in hotels and public spaces influences visitor’s first impressions, and sets the tone,” comments Hallam Smith of  innovative light specialists, Pulsar Light.

The trend for personalisation, authenticity and ‘unique’ travel experiences has been helmed by boutique giants Airbnb. Now that staying in a stranger’s house and routing through their possessions has become the new travel must-have experience, hotels must follow suit.

Demands for rich, authentic experiences are felt not only by hotel guests but by hotel suppliers. “Sensitive deployment of artwork pieces within a hotel environment enriches the guest’s experience by providing emotional resonance, a sense of individualism and personality,” chimes Richard McCready-Hughes, creative director of the Goddard Littlefair interior design group.

Patrick McCrae, CEO of ARTIQ agrees. “Travelers today are looking to immerse themselves in local culture, meet people and learn about the societies they’re visiting. People are increasingly seeking an authentic connection to the places they visit. By having an art collection and an engagement programme, a lot of our hotel clients are helping facilitate that through art”.

Patrick McCrae, CEO of ARTIQ

Patrick surmises that art is only one part of a wide push for authenticity. “This long-term trend sits alongside the desire for people to shop with local small businesses, drink local wine and eat local food. It’s about real, individual and meaningful interactions,” he suggests.

For the hotels themselves, hanging visual art, and incorporating it into a hotel’s interior design, is a tremendously validating experience, and adds a generous dollop of clout. “Hotels understand that what graces their walls is something that can stand them apart from their competitors,” says Lydia Cowpertwait, curator at Dais Contemporary art consultancy.

“Originally hotels would purchase artworks from manufacturing companies who would produce artwork en masse. Now, hotel owners are being more discerning about what goes onto their walls”.

“A particularly effective idea is to refresh artwork every couple of months and ask local artists to exhibit their work,” muses Giada Schioppa.Of course, there are some risks in doing that, as the brand could lose its consistency of style, but most of the time it satisfies the most curious of guests”.

Simon Willis, brand director of Principal

“If ever a hotel showed how to use art to create a point of view it was the original Morgans Hotel in New York,” says Simon Willis, brand director of Principal hotels. “As you walked into one of Andree Putman’s pristine rooms you heart would leap to see an original Mapplethorpe on the wall – it got me every time, the hotel’s closure last year made my heart weep”.

“Closer to home and personal experience, at the Great Eastern Hotel in London we partnered with the Whitechapel Art Gallery to curate the art that hung in the lobby, while Franko B’s three and a half metre long neon sign above the front desk, ‘You make my heart go boom boom’, would lift the spirits of the weariest traveller”.  

Lydia, of Dais Contemporary who procure, commission and curate contemporary art for corporate, private and public spaces, including hotels, concludes: “Hotel owners are now realising that the artwork they purchase for their properties is as big a statement about their brand as any other interior choice for their properties”.

Debbie Smyth's work at the Great Northern Hotel

Debbie Smyth art installation live at Great Northern Hotel

1000 667 Daniel Fountain

‘A Tying of Knots’, a stunning new bespoke art installation by artist Debbie Smyth, which wraps around the staircase walls leading up to the restaurant, Plum and Spilt Milk, at The Great Northern Hotel in King’s Cross – the world’s first great railway hotel and now one of the finest luxury boutique hotels in London – is now complete.

The piece uses hammered nails and embroidery pins connected by threads to portray real places as strings of memory; a cartography of string that is both real and imagined, guiding hotel guests as they ascend the staircase. Debbie describes the piece as ‘a string of thoughts, a flight of stairs, a pencil of lines, a morning of hammers, a river of stories, a cluster of diamonds, a grid of maps, a twinkling of todays, an engagement of eyes, a journey of discoveries…’

Debbie Smyth's work at the Great Northern Hotel

The installation is the latest success in the close relationship between art consultants ARTIQ and the hotel’s Owner-Operator Jeremy Robson, involving the orchestration of spectacular and integrated art installations for the ground and first floor public spaces, as well as key stairwells, corridors and lift lobbies. The relationship has ensured that the hotel and its profound commitment to art has become a stand-out example of intelligent and inspired vision and curation.

‘A Tying of Knots’ is a site-specific sewn piece that portrays a city in transition; referencing everything from Ordnance Survey maps from bygone years and heat maps charting interaction in the age of the internet to the unspoken conversations and bumping bodies of strangers along the local waterways and winding streets, plus the hustle of intersections and stations.

Debbie Smyth's artwork at Great Northern Hotel

As a textile artist, Debbie Smyth is most identifiable by her statement thread drawings: playful yet sophisticated contemporary artworks created by stretching a network of threads between accurately plotted pins. Her work beautifully blurs the boundaries between fine art drawings and textile art, flat and 3D work, illustration and embroidery, literally lifting the drawn line off the page in a series of “pin and thread” drawings.

As a fittingly poetic end to the project, the artist celebrated her own engagement whilst staying at The Great Northern Hotel – the transition to ‘tying the knot’ in her own life.

Gallery 1957 at Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast

Celebration of artistic flair at Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City, Accra

1000 679 Daniel Fountain

Located in the heart of Ghana’s thriving cultural scene is a brand new five star luxury hotel, Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City, Accra. The vibrant property features 269 rooms, including 22 suites and 2 stunning presidential suites.

Art is a key focus for the property and this is reflected in the unique pieces located throughout the hotel and in the independent contemporary art gallery located inside the hotel known as Gallery 1957. Taking its name from the year Ghana gained independence; the gallery represents artists such as Jeremiah Quarshie, Yaw Owusu, Serge Attukwei Clottey and Zohra Opoku.

Featured in the hotel’s collection are also outstanding pieces by Agosor, Ni Mills, Krotei Tetteh, Gideon Appah and Ablade Glover.

Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City Accra encourages both local audiences and international visitors to discover new artists and to gain a deeper understanding of the breadth of their practices through the hotel installations and exhibitions at the gallery. With a range of exquisite dining options and a new spa to open in November, the property lives up to its name as the only true 5* hotel in Accra.

Marwan Zakhem commented, “The gallery evolved from my experience as a collector of contemporary African art. I began building relationships with artists and understanding their creative process better. I decided to found Gallery 1957 to support, complement and highlight the art scene that is already started to grow here in Accra. It wanted to establish the gallery to provide increased opportunities for artists based in Ghana and the hotel provided the ideal location. The work being created here is very exciting, emotive and often experimental and I hope visitors will enjoy the experience of discovering art at the Kempinski.”

Ellerman House, Cape Town

Ellerman House, Cape Town launches art space ‘The Collection’

1000 479 Daniel Fountain

As a private & exclusive luxury hotel in Bantry Bay, Ellerman House is one of Cape Town’s finest accommodations for the discerning traveller.

With Cape Town being one of the world’s top destinations and known for fast growing design and art, the development of The Studio was a natural progression for Ellerman House. The aim was to create a space on the property where guests will be able to purchase high-end products that are unique to South Africa.

Guests will have access to a uniquely curated collection of creative products and art such as diamonds by Benguela, bags by Missibaba, jewellery by Pichulik and many more loved local designers, manufacturers and artists.

The products that form part of The Collection are seasonally refreshed and will ensure that only the best and most up to date products are available to the luxury travel market at Ellerman House. Some of the designers and brands the hotel has partnered with include De Wieff, Mungo and Julie de Pao.