Discover the value of a hotel’s art collection with The Londoner

We all have mediums where we tell the world who we are. A writer has his words. A painter has his canvas. A designer has his silhouettes. From the perspective of a viewer who has never read our words or seen our pictures, we still communicate our essence in many other mediums. The way we walk, the expressions on our faces, the shoes we wear, the things we wear. A building or a hotel behaves in a similar way.

The question is: How does a hotel communicate self-expression without the self? When a hotel adopts a persona, the way it tells the world who it is is tied to similar indicators. The food they like, the people they dress and, most importantly, the art that adorns their walls. Like the clothes we wear, the art in a hotel is an extension of a place’s personality. It shows us what they stand for, it is an expression of their soul.

As soon as I met The Londoner at Leicester Square I began to piece together his personality. The five stars told me it was fancy. The high-end tech told me it was modern. The little binoculars that were in my room told me it was cheeky. The crowd buzzing through the lobby told me it was popular. The bed was so comfortable I slept through, my alarm clock telling me it was nurturing. The eclectic art hanging everywhere told me she had style. I spoke to Krishma Singh Dear, Head of Design at The Londoner, to understand the importance of a hotel’s art collection, the value it brings to guests and of course how social media feeds into all of this.

NS: ​​How do you visualize a hotel’s art collection before it comes to life – where do you start?

KSD: Art is the primary medium for communicating a hotel’s personality to its guests and how it seeks to be portrayed in society. We wanted The Londoner’s art collection to refer to the past, yet be forward-looking like the city in which it is located. We wanted it to be glamorous yet inclusive, a nod to our London spirit.

NS: What story is the art trying to tell at The Londoner?

KSD: I want the collection to feel like it’s the private collection of a world traveler with roots in London’s West End. While the list of artists is international, most of the artists featured are British. We have works from a variety of renowned and emerging artists that showcase a wealth of creative talent. London is a highly inclusive city and we wanted to show that The Londoner is an integral part of the city fabric. The city’s rich history is referenced throughout the property’s art, but with a modern sensibility. For example, the sun and moon are recurring themes related to Wyld’s Great Globea major attraction of Leicester Square in the 19th century. The Trafalgar Suites feature bespoke pieces of the Battle of Trafalgar. Throughout the building are modern reinterpretations of historical British figures, from Horatio Nelson to the wives of Henry VIII, whose hacked portraits can be found in the residence’s powder rooms.

NS: Where did you get the artwork for The Londoner?

KSD: We worked closely with James Robertson who curated artworks from local artists and galleries for the collection. We’ve had the privilege of working directly with several London artists such as Marc Quinn and Edd Pearman. We have also sourced art from several London galleries including Cristea Roberts Gallery where we have sourced work from world renowned artists such as Antony Gormley, Julian Opie, Idris Khan and Michael Hoppen Gallery for the brilliant artwork of Tim Walker. International artists are also represented in the collection, such as Andrea Torres Balaguer from Spain, Stefan Gunnesch from Germany, Tina Lechner from Austria and Donovan Davis from Canada.

NS: How do you put yourself in the shoes of a guest when curating the collection?

KSD: We wanted to curate a collection that offers a unique and at times funny sense of history based on the location of the hotel. Leicester Square has always been a destination for entertainment and fashion. The artworks curated for The Londoner seek to unveil little mysteries and fables about the hotel’s originsdigging deep through the surface of today’s modern streets and squares, back to the origins and Roman roots of the place. We also wanted to involve the guests themselves in the artwork. Our framed mirrors are thoughtfully placed throughout the collection to catch the eye of guests. They become ever-changing and ephemeral portraits of those shaping tomorrow’s history now.

NS: How can an art collection enhance the guest experience of a hotel?

KSD: A quote from James Robertson sums it up: “A great hotel is a culture channel. The essence of culture is art. A great hotel is about taste and sophistication, transcending trends and fashion. It elevates and stimulates all of the senses, providing guests with a unique and unforgettable experience that can often be life-enriching in the most positive ways. The art collection for The Londoner blends with the design and architecture of the hotel, its location and history and its current place in the heart of London, one of the most beautiful and exciting cities in the world.”

NS: How do you measure this value?

KSD: The exact value is difficult to measure, but the impression and encouragement it brings to the guest experience is what gives a hotel its artistic value. I would like to think that the artworks in The Londoner make the stay memorable and become a topic of conversation, hence contributing to The Londoner’s brand equity.

NS: How do you differentiate between works of art in space and public spaces?

KSD: In my opinion, art in public spaces should either be immersive, grab the customer’s attention, or help tell the story of the space. The in-room experience should still be part of the narrative, but in a quieter way, I think. We have Edd Pearman prints in our bedrooms on a floating frame above the bed. These detailed line drawings are the artist’s idea of ​​what we uncovered during the excavation of the hotel’s basement.

NS: How, if at all, does social media play a part in your selection?

KSD: The pieces should resonate with our customers and make them want to photograph the art – be it because of the way they are mounted or because they are immersive. Interestingly, we are actually planning to move our Antony Gormley piece to be positioned in a more social media friendly place. We want our guests to be able to interact with the artworks in a way they couldn’t in a museum.

NS: What are some of your favorite pieces in the collection?

KSD: There are so many tracks that I love and they change all the time. I’m a fan of Carolina Mizrahi’s colorful set photography that we have in our penthouse suite. I also love the immersive artwork in The Residence, a hand-painted mural by En Viu that feels like escaping into a surreal magical garden on a midsummer night.


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