On the Rise
Located in Seoul’s buzzy Hongdae district, RYSE Hotel has firmly positioned itself — both literally, in a Ginza-esque area populated with art students and seedy underground hip-hop clubs, and figuratively — in the space where art, street culture and design meet.
Designed by Soho House’s original designer Michaelis Boyd, RYSE is a design-focused hotel, but it’s by no means your run-of-themill design hotel, instead opting for an active role in the creative community. According to the hotel’s brand director Jason Schlabach, showcasing creativity within local and global communities and fostering a new culture in hospitality through its art partnerships form part of its remit.
This is echoed in the physical structure; rooms include the Creator Room, Editor Room, Artist Suite and Producer Suite, while a topfloor penthouse-cum-events space is dubbed the Executive Producer Suite, planned as an apartment transformable for everything from private dinners to trunk shows, runways, popup presentations and even concerts. These labels create the sense that the rooms, outfitted with artworks by Hong Kong- and Paris-based Laurent Segretier and Tokyo-based Charles Munka, and with titles by Wolfgang Tillmans sitting on bespoke Dichroic prismatic glass tables, are meant to inspire creativity. And inspire they do: most recently Berlin graffiti crew 1UP left behind a mural on one of the hotel’s surfaces, adding another site-specific work to the public and private spaces. The process was unplanned, serendipitous and welcome.
RYSE also runs cultural events each month that are open to guests and other communities. An intimate workshop with Vans had guests creating zines, while a VIP party for a major fashion house made use of the hotel’s vintage vinyl lathe so 120 guests could take home records produced by the guest DJ. Most recently, Shade Seoul, a monthly urban party showcasing the best in drag and burlesque performances, celebrated its two-year anniversary in the Executive Producer Suite.
Schlabach and his in-house agency, the ‘culture team’, have made fielding collaborative proposals a priority. Each day the team assesses partnership requests by artists and creatives from around the world to gauge whether a collaboration would be the right fit for RYSE.
‘There’s no amount of money that one can pay to have authenticity created, if it ’s not coming from within the hotel’s own organisation,’ he says of the team and the global rise of artmeets-hotel projects and members’ hotels. ‘You can make a splash in the short term with an Instagram-ready artwork by Jeff Koons, but if it’s not deeper than that and the projects aren’t being updated, then people will realise it ’s a one-off and it ’ll eventually be irrelevant to their lives.’
Following the success of RYSE in Seoul, conversations for global expansion are currently underway; with luck, it can spread its model of community-centric programming and authenticity.