When hospitality meets art9 November 2021
/ Art in hotels: a growing trend /
An abandoned boat on a sea shore. A dusty bunch of flowers. A picture of the nearest famous landmark. A ship’s wheel and anchor, if you were near the sea. A low-quality copy of a famous painting, when you were in luck. Wall art in hotel rooms used to be drab, anonymous, lifeless.
Not anymore. In the age of Instagram and Facebook, in the age of visuals and selfies, hotels have realized the importance of art as part of their visual identity, that collection of colors, motifs and fonts that brands use to stand out from the competition, make themselves memorable and create an emotional impression on viewers. Hotels are increasingly becoming art galleries in their own right.
Take the Canopy by Hilton London City hotel that is opening this month in East London: the chain commissioned a curated artwork collection to international art consultancy Dais. The result will include commissioned works by local artists Tom Gidley, Janne Malmros and Steven Quinn exhibited in bespoke cabinets in each of the bedrooms, as well as large scale printed portraits by visual artist Mia Bergeron in the corridors of the property. More examples come from New York City, where hotels have been using art and hosting their own galleries for quite some time, possibly longer than anywhere else. “If ever a hotel showed how to use art to create a point of view it was the original Morgans Hotel in New York,” says Simon Willis, brand director of Principal hotels. “As you walked into one of Andree Putman’s pristine rooms you heart would leap to see an original Mapplethorpe on the wall – it got me every time.”
However, art is not just for the top-tier locations – it’s a trend that is gaining traction across the board. “In the last 10 years art as a trend has become quite common,” says Giada Schioppa, an Italian architect and interior designer with extensive experience in hospitality, leisure and retail. “From boutique hotels to bigger international chains, every brand is trying to differentiate their style to ensure their guests feel as though they’re in a truly unique place”.
For an example that is more on the boutique hotel side of the spectrum, try the Romantik Hotel Turm in the Italian Alps. Its rooms host a unique collection of over 2,000 art pieces, from oil paintings to watercolors and lithographies, by artists such as Joseph Beuys, Oskar Kokoschka, Otto Dix, Paul Klee, Giorgio de Chirico, Renato Guttuso and, last but definitely not least, two paintings by Pablo Picasso, one of which is visible inside the hotel’s bar. (The works were collected by Karl Pramstrahler, father of current owner Stephan Pramstrahler.)
And of course art is not only about the visual identity, it can also be a way to add another layer to the hotel experience. Travelers used to choose their hotel just as a place to crash at night, but these days they look for a fuller experience – be it spas, games, of the thrill of an unusual space like the Ice Hotel. And art, if done well, can be a great addition in this sense. Many travelers will appreciate the chance to get to see local art directly inside their hotel, instead of trying to fit one more museum into their busy schedule. Moreover, “if you create a particularly impressive art display, your guests may choose to spend time at the hotel exploring it,” wrote Jeremy Wells, partner at design studio Longitude and author of a book focused on how branding can create more impactful guest experiences. “This keeps your guests on your property, which means they are more likely to eat at your restaurant, visit your coffee shop, or otherwise spend additional money on your property.”
A good example of “particularly impressive art” that doubles as an experience for guests is the Wall that gives the name to the new BnA_WALL hotel in Tokyo: a large, two-story open canvas wall created specifically for murals and muralists. Designed to be painted and repainted by new artists, it’s an ever evolving scenery that…
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