How art is redefining our hotels and retails spaces

Luxury hotels and retail spaces are fast becoming fine art spaces, forging links with the local community and building on their brand DNA.

Take K11’s Art Malls in Hong Kong.

The world’s first museum-retail concept, the brainchild of art collector and business magnate Adrian Cheng, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.

A hybrid of art museum and shopping mall, Cheng’s chain of K11 shopping malls have been a platform to showcase pioneering work by Hong Kong’s emerging artists, alongside public works by the likes of Damien Hirst and other established artists.

The billionaire property and jewellery heir, is making great strides in disrupting the norm with his singleminded focus on building a contemporary art culture for Chinese Millenials and Generation Z.

To this end, influential Cheng’s K11 Art Foundation provides important opportunities for young Chinese artists, both in China and overseas, that they might otherwise not have access to.

Art is also being used in luxury hotels as a way of re-defining luxury. Not to mention successfully stealing a march on the competition.

Instead of simply leaving walls blank with spaces for art works to be added later, forward-thinking hotels are incorporating art into the very fabric of the building with specially commissioned pieces by up-and-coming artists, that are actually integrated into the design of the building.

It is a key selling point for consumers who have a fast growing appetite for fine art and culture.

The Emperor Qianmen hotel in Beijing, is one such example, where the collaboration between artists and hotels is particularly evident.

From the ‘rain’ that comes from an installation by Canadian artist Dan Euser into the main lobby, to ‘Cave in Heaven’ the substantial paper and ink mural covering 400 square metres of a large space by Chinese artist Bingyi.

“We’re really re-imagining what is luxury” says Bingyi.

For years hotels around the world have been hanging art without expecting it do anything more than decorate the walls.

They’re starting to realise that carefully considered art can work harder for them. It can create a new narrative that is distinct and more memorable for their consumers.

More than a sign of luxury, it suggests a much desired for connection with the local community, and showcases a keenness for culture.

Hotels are starting to be a bit braver in their artistic choices, with a move away from mass produced abstract art, traditionally seen as the safest choice, to more exciting, risk-taking works by both up-and-coming and established artists.

No longer the exclusive domain of the art gallery or museum, the luxury hotel is just as likely to show your favourite artists. Experience first hand a Picasso in La Colombe d’Or in St Paul de Vence in France, a Dalí in The Dolder Grand in Zurich, or a Warhol and Hirst in Gramercy Park Hotel, New York.

Hotels have realised that the art they purchase makes as big a statement about their brand and luxury credentials, as any other interior choice they make.