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Outdoor Spaces

Inside out – are your outdoor spaces ready for the post-pandemic world?

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Inside out – are your outdoor spaces ready for the post-pandemic world?

When you consider art for bars or art for restaurants, the first thing that springs to many people’s mind is the interior spaces, but with the demand for outdoor spaces following the pandemic set to rise what are the possibilities of outdoor art? Elegant Clutter’s in house art consultancy Art Story discuss how art can still tell a story when the party moves outside…

Until recently the outdoor spaces in the UK have been reserved for smokers and the sparse days of good British weather.  As experts in art for bars and restaurants, Elegant Clutter have been occasionally asked to install mirrors into the outdoor spaces to aid the inside outside feel but largely the outdoor spaces have not been an art playground, until now. With lockdown easing and outdoor hospitality spaces being the first to open. Art Story suggest that there is now a wonderful opportunity to capture the imagination of guests and tell the hotel’s story through clever and impactful art choices. These previously neglected spaces are long overdue a makeover and we are excited to see how these spaces transform over the coming years.

In Hard Rock Hotel Budapest, the Art Story team installed their largest artwork ever. ‘Liquid Music’ is 20m high, unashamedly loud, and runs the height of the internal atrium of the hotel. It was so large that it had to be expertly installed by abseil. Designed by in house digital artist Tegan, the statement artwork was inspired by Budapest’s local street art scene where whole building facades are painted with murals. Street artists offer an abundance of inspiration when is comes to considering art outside. They demonstrate the limitless possibilities of eye-catching artwork that durable enough to withstand the great British weather. ‘Liquid Music’ flows through the decades of popular music, from the 1950s on the 7th floor down through to the experimental digital music of today.

Since you’re here, why not read our exclusive interview with Harry Pass, Creative Direction, Elegant Clutter/Art Story?

Working with experienced and prominent artists on site adds massive value to a project and often gains valuable press coverage. Art Story boasts a global network of artist collaborators that can be commissioned to freehand an original design on site. Martina Nehrling’s colourful mural Emily’s Bees was installed in Kingston New York as part of the O+ festival and instantly caught the attention of the passing crowds. Similarly, Katy Binks is a confident mural artist and has completely many notable public murals including Box park in Shoreditch which featured a bold hand-painted monochrome design. As most outdoor spaces are visible to the public it is a terrific way of boosting kerb side appeal and getting people excited about frequenting their new and improved terraces and beer gardens. To this effect, the Art Story team also installed a giant suspending sculpture of stars that flowed down towards the street in a colour gradient into Hard Rock Hotel Budapest. A real head-turner and a beacon to drive people to find the fun filled hotel.

Image credit: Hard Rock Hotel Budapest, Stars

Image caption: Hard Rock Hotel Budapest, Stars

Having artists work on site isn’t always an option and for those on a tighter budget, pre-approved artwork can be printed on weatherproof vinyl and expertly installed onto external walls to give the same visual impact in a lot less time. Using this method opens a whole host of opportunities to tell the story of the venue or create a striking focal point. This also allows the hotel to benefit from artists whose original work might be too delicate to be installed outdoors. An added benefit to vinyl is that it can also be installed on glass so if wall space is non-existent, the windows and glass doors can offer a great opportunity to make a visual impact.

Image caption: Ettienne Bing Bang sculpture.

Image caption: Ettienne Bing Bang sculpture

The obvious solution to art outdoors is sculpture.  Art Story have collaborated with some incredible sculptors like Etienne Krahenbuhl in The Circle in Zurich. The Bing Bang sculpture was installed inside for that project but has been installed outside previously to profound effect. The team are also proud to represent Michael Speller who is well known in the gallery artworld for his distinctive figurative work and public sculptures. They also champion the work of steel artist Rick Kirby who has worked on countless public commissions. The beauty of working in steel allows Rick to create large scale installation pieces at a fraction of the cost of more traditional bronze. Steel can also be polished to a high shine or left unfinished to create a sculpture that will change over time. Art Story is actively growing their portfolio and specialise in sourcing the right talent for every project and working collaboratively to ensure the entire process is as stress free as possible.

Image caption: Rick Kirby Brave New World

Spring is in nearly in full bloom, after a year inside we predict there will be a greater desire to be outside even when indoor meetings are possible. As an industry we now need to consider these spaces not just from a functional standpoint but how can art help add value to the guest experience. Biophilic design often talks about bringing the outdoors inside to amplify a sense of nature within the walls of hospitality but now is it time that we also consider bringing the inside out?

Image caption: Martina Nehrling, Emily’s Bees mural

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Image credit: Elegant Clutter