• Covid-19 – click here for the latest updates from Forum Events & Media Group Ltd

Posts Tagged :


INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Photographing a hotel for design press

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Photographing a hotel for design press

Following on from the popular feature that explained how to style a hotel’s narrative for design press, Hotel Designs asks photographer Brenden Cox of The Towner  what to consider when framing and capturing a hotel’s interior design scheme…

One of the first questions I always ask a client when I’m photographing is: ‘what are you trying to say’ and ‘who is your target audience’. These questions play a vital role in dictating what these images will look like.

If your hotel has a strong and consistent message, why not express this with your photography?

Image caption: A luxury villa in Ibiza | Image credit: Image credit: Brendan Cox/The Tower

Image caption: A luxury villa in Ibiza | Image credit: Image credit: Brendan Cox/The Towner

People will choose a hotel as they want to be part of the story that the hotel has created. Joseph Campbell wrote that all good stories start with a ‘Call To Adventure’ which is exactly what these photos need to be. Unique angles of rooms or communal spaces makes you want to explore what is around the next corner. Framing an image through a doorway or partly into a room draws the viewer in and excites their imagination. This can also help hide some unflattering but necessary utilities, make these angles work for you! Draw your viewer in and capture their attention with what they find.

Showing what a space looks like is a very important part of advertising your hotel, but as with any great story it comes down to the details. Showing off interesting and unique textures, fabrics and finishes in a hotel gives a taste of what the customer can experience. The great thing is these images can be shot all year round. When booking photoshoots, walking the line of wanting to have beautiful weather but not wanting to disrupt your clientele can be extremely difficult. That is why focusing on detail shots can help increase your content and will compliment beautifully those ‘Hero Shots’ you capture when you have nice weather.

Image caption: Luxury villa in Ibiza: Image credit: Brendan Cox/The Tower

Image caption: Luxury villa in Ibiza: Image credit: Brendan Cox/The Towner

Customers are also usually looking for a certain type of atmosphere when choosing a hotel. Is your hotel in a busy area, surrounded by the lights of the city and the noise and romance of late night dinner spots? Then a dark and moody photograph, showing off the rich textures and colours of your hotel’s interiors, suggests the perfect intimate hideaway. Fitting perfectly with the holiday experience your customer is piecing together in their mind. This is all about playing a role in the story that they are trying to create.

Image caption: The Giri, Ibiza | Image credit: Brendan Cox/The Tower

Image caption: The Giri, Ibiza | Image credit: Brendan Cox/The Towner

Conversely, are you trying to appeal to young families, big groups or people just travelling for business. Having your images wide and bright gives comfort to parents that they will be able to see where their children are playing. Groups know there is space for everyone and there will be no shock about what it looks like when arriving. A photograph is there to put the viewers mind at ease, that the hotel will deliver on what their message says. A dark and rich photograph of a hotel restaurant has the same importance as a wide and well-lit image of that hotels conference room. It is all about what you are trying to say!

Image caption: Inside Eilean Shona Hotel, Vanessa Branson's island, Scotland | Image credit: Brendan Cox/The Tower

Image caption: Inside Eilean Shona Hotel, Vanessa Branson’s island, Scotland | Image credit: Brendan Cox/The Towner

Colour plays a very significant role in expressing what a space has to offer. A photographer will usually take the lead of the interior designer or stylist who has decorated a room by trying to reiterate what it is they are trying to say. Dark woods and rich upholstery will compliment beautifully with a warm light and deep saturation. Reds and oranges are associated with hunger and desire, drawing the viewer in and leaving them wanting more.

When showcasing a rooftop pool or beautiful garden and outdoor area, blues and greens express relaxation, nature and freshness. Using these colours has the added benefit of really making an image stand out. Colours are incredibly versatile and are there to be used to your advantage. Try and keep your branding in mind when discussing with your photographer as well. Most companies have a style guide which all their promotional materials reside within, so why wouldn’t your photos?

Image caption: Luxury villa in Ibiza | Image credit: Brendan Cox/The Tower

Image caption: Luxury villa in Ibiza | Image credit: Brendan Cox/The Towner

One of the best ways to tell a story with photographs, is juxtaposing them in a way that celebrates not only your beautiful hotel but also the area in which it is located. This again will be closely tied to the interior designers approach and how they have tied the styling into the look and history of the surrounding area. Images of white towels and large glass windows, complimented next to rolling surf and white sandy beaches, tell your potential customers all they need to know to convince them to stay!

This is also a great opportunity to really make you hotel stand out from the crowd. How is your space interesting and unique to the area it inhabits. Images of a busy London street next to a photo of a chic Japanese inspired interior excites the imagination and curiosity. As well as images of an open African savannah adjacent to a secluded glass room overhanging it, tells such a vivid story with only two images.

With all this in mind, the most important thing is to really try and explore what you can achieve with your imagery. Due to the rise of social media people are always on the lookout for what is new and exciting. Staying in a hotel can be luxurious and full of adventure, and that should be taken advantage of when planning a photoshoot.

Main image credit: The Towner/Brendan Cox

4 reasons why hotels should consider 3D photography

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
4 reasons why hotels should consider 3D photography

In a response to the industry insight on styling a hotel for design press article, Hotel Designs’ official hotel review photographer, ACT Studios, argues that 3D photography is where the future of hotel marketing is heading…

Predictions for trends over the next couple of years in the hotel and hospitality sector abound. But there is general consensus that technology will continue to play a greater role in both the stay of a guest as well as the booking process itself.

Virtual tour photography has an essential part to play here, enhancing the anticipatory experience of the traveller in advance of their stay, as well quickly and easily answering guest’s questions and concerns about location, layout and facilities.

So just how exactly can virtual tour photography enhance the guest experience? And what value can it add to your website?

What is virtual tour photography?

Virtual tour photography is essentially an immersive, three dimensional digital means of bringing a room to life for the viewer. 3d tours are created using a special type of Matterport camera, which produces a 360 degree image of a room, which users can then browse online at their leisure.

Users simply click on the image itself to then ‘step in’ to the picture, with the option to turn in any direction to explore a feature in more detail. Want to view the room from the other side of the bed? It’s Easy. Using your mouse (or a touch screen) you can simply click (or tap) on the picture and spin the view in a direction to suit you. Fancy a peek in the bathroom? Maybe to check if it has a walk in shower? Again, just click or tap on the direction you would like to take.

3D photography even lets you leave the room to explore different rooms on another floor. And essentially look round the whole property, which can be really helpful if you need to check if the bedroom is on the ground floor. Or see if the bathroom has a shower over it. Or where your nearest fire exit is.

The real beauty of 3D virtual tours is that they are incredibly simple to use. And extremely intuitive.

4 ways in which 3D photography can help your hotel business

1) 3D photography can improve your guest experience and ratings

Image credit: Hotel Designs’ interactive hotel review of Oddfellows On The Park. Read full review here.

Positive feedback and ratings count and anything that helps improve the customer journey for a guest deserves serious thought. And when it comes to the hotel guest’s customer journey, 3D photography can play a pivotal role in the consideration phase.

Once a customer is aware that you exist – perhaps via a touch point such as a post on social media or an article in a third party publication – the next phase in the customer journey is consideration. This is when they arrive at your website and look through it in detail before deciding to make a purchase.

It is well known how financially competitive the hospitality industry is and not every accommodation provider wishes to differentiate on price. Therefore, having the ability to see a building in all its dimensions – from a floor plan, to a dollhouse view to stepping into any of the key rooms – can positively influence their decision to buy in your favour. And most importantly, take them away from your competitors.

2) 360 photography can refresh your brand image

Image credit: Hotel Designs’ interactive hotel review of University Arms, Cambridge. Read full review here.

“The quality of the imagery is second to none.” – Mario Ovsenjak, General Manager, Hotel Gotham.

Guests have long come to expect well composed, professionally taken, high resolution photography when it comes to browsing both on and offline.

Which is why the supply of high quality hospitality photography remains a core service for ACT Studios, taking us throughout the UK and Europe to photograph some of the most incredible accommodation providers.

But brands that already have great photography are rightly asking “what’s next?” when it comes to updating their brand image, differentiating their offering and setting themselves apart from the competition.

The answer is 3d photography. Offering guests the ability to virtually ‘step into’ a hotel bedroom, dining room or lounge. To explore an area in minute detail. Or just get an overall feel for what they are about to book.

“Adding a fully immersive experience by adding virtual tour photography can increase occupancy by 14 per cent.”

3) 360 virtual tour photography can help improve your occupancy rates

Image credit: Hotel Designs’ interactive hotel review of Hotel Gotham. Read the full review here.

Recent research by TripAdviser shows that having at least one photo of your property on a property page actually increases the likelihood of a booking enquiry by 225 per cent. And that for properties with at least 100 photos, engagement levels rise to 151 per cent and likelihood of a booking inquiry rises to 238 per cent compared to properties with no photos

In addition, a study by Matterport concluded that adding a fully immersive experience by adding virtual tour photography can increase occupancy by 14 per cent and yield a 15 per cent increase in online engagement.

4) Virtual tours are an honest complement to photography that encourages trust

By offering guests the option of seeing and freely exploring a given room or area in its entirety before they buy, guests can more easily and more quickly judge for themselves how suitable (or not) a hotel is for them. There is therefore genuine honestly in a 3d virtual tour. And as marketers know, honesty breeds trust, which then sees guests returning time after time.

If you would like to find out more about how 3D photography can work alongside your existing photography – or perhaps how you can refresh both your still photography and your virtual tours, to produce a more consistent brand image – then contact ACT Studios here.

Main image credit: ACT Studios

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


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

768 512 Hamish Kilburn

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.)

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

800 534 Hamish Kilburn

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.

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




Artwork in hotels

Artwork Focus: Renowned ‘art’ hotels

876 563 Daniel Fountain

No more bland landscape paintings for hotel rooms – artwork is a serious aspect of interior design. We look at some of the hotels around the world renowned for their artwork…

Hotel Arts, Barcelona
“Designed by the distinguished architect Bruce Graham of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the Hotel Arts is part of Barcelona’s recent cultural renaissance, and as modern as the city itself. Built to coincide with the Olympic Games in 1992, this Barcelona luxury hotel is a landmark on the Barceloneta boardwalk: 44 storeys of blue glass and exposed steel soaring high above the seafront. Inside, hard edges and materials give way to an environment of elegance and refinement, filled with luxurious spaces to explore and discover at your leisure.”

45 Park Lane, London
“With its landmark architecture, dynamic interiors, contemporary art collection and with contemporary boutique hotel interiors designed by New York-based designer Thierry Despont, each of the spacious guest rooms and suites enjoys captivating views of leafy Hyde Park. The Penthouse Suite is the ultimate experience with its Art Deco design and wrap-around balcony featuring panoramic London cityscape views.”

Le Royal Monceau Raffles, Paris
“The in-house Art Gallery is the hub of the artistic and cultural life of the hotel. A new venture into the world of contemporary art in Paris, Art District welcomes artists, art connoisseurs and collectors, patrons and art professionals.”

Artwork in hotelsBlumen Haus Lech, Austria
“This hotel in Austria leans heavily on traditional Alpine architecture for its style, albeit with a modern take. Vienna’s Contemporary Art Advisors have chosen works by the likes of Roy Lichtenstein to adorn the hotel’s walls, alongside emerging artists, which will change with the seasons.”

Blumenhaus Lech lounge21c Museum Hotels, Louisville, USA
“Founded by Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson, contemporary art collectors and preservationists who believe in the power of contemporary art, each of their hotels exhibits its own collections of 21st century art works by up-and-coming and well-established talents. The line-up in Louisville, for example, includes Yinka Shonibare, Andres Serrano, Kara Walker and Bill Viola. Each hotel additionally puts on a feast of cultural events, from films and music to artist talks and poetry readings.”

Artwork in hotels