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
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.
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-artconsultants.com