AN INSIGHT INTO DECORATIVE ART WITH PATRICK MCCRAE, CEO OF ARTIQ
What changes in trends have you seen in the way art is used, displayed and emphasised in hotel design?
Hotels are always on the look-out for new ways to differentiate themselves from competitors and an outstanding art collection is a key way to engage with guests and stand out from the pack.
In recent years, we’ve seen a real desire to experiment with how art is displayed in hotels, with a shift towards unique and interactive works. From the ‘salon hang’ trend to bespoke installations, our clients are passionate about exploring art options ‘outside of the frame’ and which can create a talking point for guests. For example, our recent large-scale wall installation at the Great Northern Hotel receives over a third of the hotel’s social media traffic, capturing the imagination of guests, as well as standing out as a special feature of the interior.
Is ARTIQ looking to change these trends?
We believe guests want more than just a room and a picture on the wall and we encourage clients to demand more of art to further this trend. All our collections can be rotated every six months, providing clients with flexibility and the opportunity to engage continuously.
At the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh recently, we also launched our ‘Exhibitions’ service: a series of exhibitions designed to reflect the heritage and locality of the hotel. This rotates every quarter and is complimented by a series of events such as exclusive private views and talks. The first in the series, ‘The Man & The Monarch’ showcased work by ‘Monarch of the Glen’ artist Sir Edwin Henry Landseer, alongside work from local artists responding to his work. The exhibition opened with a champagne reception for guests including exclusively-designed cocktails inspired by the art.
What role does art play when it comes to the overall design story of a hotel and the guest experience? What other benefits are there to art, besides being decorative?
Placemaking and storytelling are becoming crucial parts of hotel design and we are proud to be at the forefront of this change. Art has the power to enhance the research and narrative embedded in the design and communicate this in an immediately visual way to guests.
Our collections reflect the history, locality and brand values of each hotel. Our recent collection for the luxury Scottish hotel Gleneagles, for example, featured works depicting scenes of outdoor pursuits, architectural heritage and iconic Scotsmen and-women.
How do you determine what art to use in a hotel? Who decides; is it you, the designer or the hotel? Also, is the artwork commissioned, bespoke-made or taken from a collection?
Every hotel is different and art for hospitality should always be curated with that in mind, so that the collection reflects the true individual character of the space. It’s all about teamwork and establishing the correct strategy and brief at the outset. For each individual project, we respond with art that will embed within the narrative and do more than the aesthetic. For example, procuring work by local artists to create a sense of place for the hotel while also contributing to the local economy and art industry.
We currently work with more than 150 emerging and established artists as well as having access to some of the world’s most exciting archives and collections such as the National Portrait Gallery, British Library and the British Museum.
Is ARTIQ exploring an experimental-based approach and if so, what does that mean in terms of art?
ARTIQ was one of the first art consultancies to embrace the art rental model, enabling our clients to rotate their collections every six months. Not only does art rental give the customer the power to refresh and update the design aesthetic, the model also provides our clients with regular touch points to connect with new or returning guests and update them on the new collections.
Art rotation also enables us to continuously expand the diversity of the artists that we feature in each collection. This is not only a fantastic design tool but also provides income and exposure for many artists throughout the year.
What do you think is in the future for decorative art in hotels?
From retail and hospitality, to theatre and the traditional gallery setting, visitors want experience to be the focus of their interactions and so we believe that art and design are going to have to continue to work harder to give guests more than aesthetic and service.