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Industry Insight: How to Curate Art for Luxury Hotels

As hotel art consultants, Artelier specialises in curating art for luxury hospitality, residential, yacht and aviation projects. As well as sourcing contemporary art by leading global artists, we also collaborate with artists to create custom art commissions tailored to the project. In this article, we offer an insight into how expertly curated art responds to a new generation of luxury hotel interiors.

Expectations of the Elite Traveller

When travelling the world in pursuit of new experiences or as part of a sophisticated business trip, what does the high-end traveller look for in a luxury hotel? How could a hotel lobby or presidential suite be given an added edge, so that it exceeds the expectations of the discerning traveller who is accustomed to the highest standards of worldwide luxury?

Often, art for the hotel sector may veer into leaving an unremarkable impression – it can be tasteful, pleasing, but altogether unsurprising, as it blends into an invisible layer of the interior design scheme.

By contrast, hotel art collections that have been thoughtfully and intelligently researched, curated and commissioned are the ideal opportunity to offer guests something that rises to the calibre of the luxury connoisseur. Memorable hotel art which resonates with the context, whilst elegantly communicating the mood and design of a space, can set the tone for an experience that is not only first-class, but extraordinary.

Merging Worlds of Hospitality & Private Residential

Recently, the distinctions between hospitality and high-end residential have become increasingly blurred. London developments like the Mayfair Park Residences and 20 Grosvenor Square are examples of a new generation of super-prime private residences. They have not only been designed by the most revered interior designers with no expense spared on the finishes, furniture and collector's art, but also provide for a lifestyle where the property is fully managed and serviced by 5* hotels – complete with 24hr concierge and a chauffeur driven Rolls Royce. The two worlds have seamlessly merged, whereby the private overseas home transcends into a permanent and completely exclusive presidential suite – no sharing this space with world leaders.

Whilst the concierge and customer services of the hospitality industry have brought new standards to private residences, the opportunity for the private residential world to inform hotel design and artwork curation has remained ever-elusive and behind closed doors. The typical hotel art consultant has had limited or often no involvement with the residences, private yachts and aircraft of this clientele. However, with the two worlds closer than ever before, the need to understand the expectations of the elite hotel guest has therefore rarely been greater.

Offering a Rare Insight

As specialists in curating and commissioning art for a variety of luxury projects, Artelier has cross-sector expertise as art consultants. Initially established as an art advisory for private clients, over 70% of our projects involve consulting directly with discerning private clientele and their team to deliver bespoke art for residences, yachts, and private jets. Likewise, through our collaborations with luxury designers and developers, we have been privy to every stage of the design process behind the world’s most exclusive contexts.

Of these projects a large proportion have been super-yachts between 70-160m in length – with artwork collections delivered for 16 super yachts so far, many of which showcase at Monaco Yacht Show each year. The largest yacht to date has been M/Y Dilbar at an impressive 156m in length, and built by the renowned yard Lürssen. Of course, private aircraft art projects are few and far between, but over the years Artelier has had the privilege to develop bespoke artworks for a privately owned Boeing BBJ 737, Airbus A320 and most prestigious of all a Boeing BBJ 787 Dreamliner.

In order to protect the confidentiality and privacy of the high-end client, projects of this nature are always wrapped up with non-disclosure agreements; therefore, images and awareness of these elusive projects never surface, and remain tight-lipped amongst a closed community. Having established a trusted reputation within this sector and elite community, our professional experience of working directly on these projects gives us an exceedingly rare insight into the artistic standards and tastes of the high net worth client, and an intimate understanding of what it takes to bring the best to luxury travellers.

Dismantling the Typical Luxury Aesthetic

It goes without saying that anything that is easily found, ubiquitous and characteristically similar to its counterparts will fall not even close to the aesthetic criteria of a sophisticated and discerning client – this is true for all elements of interior design, but especially so for hotel art. The boom in internet art databases, online mood boards and interiors trends has provided a ready-made database where many art consultants simply browse for inspiration, often following trends and popular themes, which leads them into a generic pool of luxury aesthetic. For Artelier to meet the expectations of its clients, it is vital for us to avoid this type of research in order to create collections which present true originality of ideas, and innovative use of materials.

A guiding principle of our research methods is to discover artists organically, from the ground up – we seek to become embedded into international artist communities, and build a strong repertoire of associated artists through in-depth research and networking.

Our database of 10,000 artists is a culmination of 20 years of research and art market expertise, and is ever-expanding due to our team’s commitment to meeting artists at open-studios and spotting exciting emerging work at graduate shows. With a trained eye, it is possible to maintain the highest standards by looking for artistic integrity and quality of craftsmanship, rather than being driven by popular trends. Due to this organic research approach, the database is a reflection of the full spectrum of art practices in the world today.

Drawing on these artists, we can respond to any theme that the client is interested in with high-quality artworks created by professional artists, who are capable of meeting the standards our projects demand. Since we do not rely on generic online searches for our research, it is possible to bypass the trappings of the 'typical' luxury aesthetic, and present dynamic art collections that are ahead of the curve.

Nurturing Artistic Talent through Commissions

The most exclusive clientele seek something that is not available elsewhere. A sense of luxury often comes from ultimate customisation, as the client receives art that is unique to their context, interests, tastes and property location. A key part of our role is therefore collaborating with artists to explore concepts and to develop new artworks, which are wholly unique to the client and true to the vision of the project.

With 20 years' experience of working with artists, we have developed an instinct for which concepts will work, and which won't. Close liaison with client and artist ensures that the client's vision is fulfilled, making it advantageous to have the same team overseeing the commissioning process from concept to completion. It is fundamental to have a comprehensive understanding of the artistic processes, techniques and different mediums. This leads to a mutually beneficial collaboration with the artist, and helps bring their creative insight to the project. The result is a one-of-a-kind artwork that creates impact in a space, and brings together the collective ideas of the client, art consultant and artist.

Every project necessitates fresh art research that is focussed on the particular needs of the brief. Clients regularly want to incorporate artists, for example, who are linked to a specific region or heritage. Quality should not be compromised when working to such specific requirements; instead, it is crucial to filter for high-quality work and spot potential in emerging artists, and nurture their development to create ambitious new works. Supporting emerging artists from a local region in this way is a rewarding process for both client and artist; the client is acknowledged for supporting local grassroots arts practice, whilst the artist gains valuable professional experience and exposure.

The Four Pillars of Luxury Hotel Art

Curating art for hotels that truly creates impact comes down to our four critical standards

1. Quality Art Research Makes the Difference

Responding to a client’s brief in a surprising way requires thorough, in-depth research, which is amassed over time. Artworks which are obvious choices, or are easily found online, will fall short of the expectations of a discerning client. Interpreting a theme in a way that is visually interesting requires a breadth of knowledge and creative thinking, in order to form subtle connections that go beyond design trends. Rather than seeking inspiration from online mood board platforms and search engines, discovering high-quality artists and establishing direct links with them gives a spectrum of interesting work that can be drawn on in response to a brief.

2. Rarity is Key

The rarity of an artwork is a fundamental consideration for the luxury market – an artist's work should be sought after, yet have an element of exclusivity. Artists who produce a limited number of artworks for selected projects offer this kind of exclusivity, since they invest time and craftsmanship into their work. The client understands the value of high-quality pieces created specially for them, enjoying the knowledge that few others will have comparable artworks in their spaces. Commissioning your own bespoke artwork is an ultimate mark of rarity as it allows the client to own an artwork unique to them.

3. Integrating with Interiors

Art has a unique ability to elevate a space; rather than being an afterthought, it should therefore be considered at the conception of a development project. Specialist curatorial skill is required to read a space and identify opportunities for creating statement pieces which are also in harmony with their surroundings. Commissioning artworks allows a new level of customisation – it is possible to consult the artist and create art that enhances the design scheme, highlighting subtle colour palettes and metallic finishes by incorporating them in the artwork.

4. Presentation & Framing

An outstanding artwork can be let down by careless final presentation, yet it is still an often overlooked aspect of incorporating art in a space. Both high and low value works enormously benefit from well-thought out framing and finishes – artworks can be cleverly elevated simply through elegant framing solutions, considered curation within a space, and fine-tuning the installation. Final touches need not be expensive, as the economies of scale afforded by hotel projects often allow excellent relative costs in comparison to residential projects.

A Closer Look at our Services

Artelier provides a turnkey art consultancy service that offers expertise at each stage of curating art for luxury projects. Combining in-depth research, commissioning services, and project management through to final installation, we are able to create one-of-a-kind art collections tailored to the client's wishes.

For a closer look at how we approach our research and curate thematic responses, we have given an exclusive insight into our proposals for two recent luxury hotels. Each case study demonstrates the range of perceptive themes that are developed for a proposal, and how these themes can be subtly evoked in contemporary art.

Discover how we source truly original art for hotels: Art Consultancy: The Quest for Originality See select hotel case studies: including a 5* hotel in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, a project for a 5* hotel in Manama, Bahrain, and for a hotel and spa in London.

For more insight and projects, visit our dedicated Hotel Art Homepage.


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