Stand­out art

Ho­tels and restau­rants across the globe are in­vest­ing mil­lions in art. Many be­lieve that in the cur­rent com­pet­i­tive cli­mate, such ini­tia­tives can make an im­por­tant dif­fer­ence to the guest’s ex­pe­ri­ence. Lind­sey Gildea, cre­ative di­rec­tor at Dubai-based 17A

Hospitality News Middle East - - CONTENTS -

While guests book­ing stays at UAE es­tab­lish­ments might not nec­es­sar­ily be choos­ing a ho­tel or restau­rant on the ba­sis of the paint­ings dis­played there, art can stop us in our tracks. If done well, it will be re­mem­bered and talked about. For ex­am­ple, the Raf­fles Ho­tel Le Royal Mon­ceau in Paris has over 300 re­volv­ing art­works. It also has an ‘Art Concierge’, as the prop­erty’s mis­sion in­cludes be­ing ded­i­cated to art and cul­ture.

While the UAE art mar­ket is strong, it is also still evolv­ing. We might not be quite in line yet with how in­ter­na­tional ho­tels are en­gag­ing with art, but growth un­der­stand­ably needs to be or­ganic. Ho­tels make the per­fect spa­ces to sup­port a lo­cal art scene and dis­tin­guish one fa­cil­ity from the com­pe­ti­tion.

Right from the start

In­te­grat­ing art early on into de­sign makes for the per­fect sce­nario, as it al­lows the art and in­te­rior to de­velop to­gether. There are many ques­tions that need to be asked when con­sid­er­ing art for a ho­tel, just as when ap­proach­ing any new de­sign. These in­clude: What is the con­text? What ex­pe­ri­ence do you want to give your guests? Do you plan to in­clude lo­cal, na­tional and/or in­ter­na­tional artists? Is the fo­cus on emerg­ing or es­tab­lished ca­reer artists or a mix? Through our re­la­tion­ships with re­gional artists and the lo­cal art scene, as well as in­ter­na­tional artists, we are able to cu­rate pieces that will cre­ate an im­pact in a ho­tel, in­tro­duc­ing works that in­ter­act with the in­te­rior de­sign and en­hance the story be­ing con­veyed.

As an ex­am­ple, when com­mis­sion­ing the mu­rals cre­ated for Dubai’s Bud­dha Bar, we en­sured that they were ex­actly what was re­quired for the in­te­rior. Steve Cham­bers, a Dubai-based artist, used a va­ri­ety of meth­ods to cre­ate the mu­rals. Ini­tial sketches and sam­ples were sub­mit­ted to en­sure that the col­ors, re­flec­tions and weights of line achieved the de­sired ef­fect in the light of the in­te­rior. La Villa Ho­tel’s art­work was com­mis­sioned to re­flect the con­tem­po­rary and chic sur­round­ings of City Walk’s ar­chi­tec­ture and re­tail en­vi­ron­ment. Dubai-based artists Melvin San Miguel and Kriti Dixit worked on de­vis­ing the mu­rals within each of the ho­tel guest rooms. His High­ness Sheikh Mo­hammed Bin Rashid Al Mak­toum’s quotes from ‘Flashes of Thought’ were made three di­men­sional in stain­less steel and in­stalled on each level of the ho­tel. The In­ter­con­ti­nen­tal Dubai Ma­rina’s art­work in­cludes the Gi­a­cometti-in­spired sculp­tures, named ‘The Trav­ellers’, two 7.5-me­ter-tall pink stain­less steel geo­met­ric sculp­tures, which dom­i­nate the lobby en­trance. The cal­lig­ra­phy mu­rals by well-known Omani artist Saleh Shukairi and other art in­stal­la­tions make this ho­tel an art gallery in its own right.

Pleas­ing guests

Ho­tels in­creas­ingly want art­work to re­spond to the needs of their guests. Vis­i­tors seek a ho­tel re­flect­ing their iden­tity or one, which projects an im­age of who they as­pire to be. This is why art needs to stand out and evolve in the same way that restau­rants in­tro­duce new fla­vors or food pre­sen­ta­tions, giv­ing the guest a new and in­ter­est­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Each piece is care­fully con­sid­ered for each space, not just in size and de­sign, but also with the guest’s ex­pe­ri­ence in mind, along with its re­la­tion­ship to the ad­join­ing space and art­work. Guests can have the in­for­ma­tion about the art­work and artist sent di­rectly to their mo­bile de­vices. In one of our re­cent ho­tel projects, we cu­rated the art­work so the guest could be taken on a jour­ney through the ho­tel and ac­tu­ally learn about the his­tory and her­itage of the coun­try through the aes­thetic of con­tem­po­rary art. 17a-art­con­sul­

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