Photo credit: Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore
Art has transcended the walls of the museum. Increasingly more hotels today proudly display exquisite works of art within their walls to offer their guests a more immersive experience into their destinations. After all, culture can be found not only in the places you visit but also the places you stay – and this rings true to every corner of the world.
In particular, many Asian hotels have on display some of the most breath-taking artworks you might encounter. If you’re seeking stunning art installations or incredible Insta-worthy interiors – read on.
1. Shangri-la Hotel, Singapore
Step into the grand lobby of Shangri-la’s Tower Wing and encounter a tropical paradise. Photo credit: Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore
Look up. Watch in wonder as a myriad dazzling leaves sparkle above you. This is the Tree Canopy, a ceiling art centrepiece by Japanese designer Hirotoshi Sawada. Featuring thousands of metallic leaves, poised as though being blown by a rain shower, the Tree Canopy is an alluring interpretation of wind and Singapore’s tropical landscape.
Nature’s five elements – stone, wood, water, trees and wind – inform the hotel’s overall interior design. Photo credit: Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore
Now, look straight ahead. A nine metre-high landscaped wall made of basalt rock and lush ferns and mosses greets you. Creating a verdant tropical environment for guests to enjoy in the comfort of the hotel, this dense green wall took more than 700 hours to install. You can’t get any more tropical than this!
Look down. Down, in the water…
No, this image is not wrongly compressed. Photo credit: Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore
These “compressed” sculptures of Children Dabbling in the Water were created to represent Singaporean children of different nationalities. Lovingly sculpted by Korean artist Yi Hwan Kwon, these curious sculptures celebrate Singapore’s multi-cultural society in play and unity.
2. Mandarin Oriental, Guangzhou China
The black-and-white patterned floor of the Grand Hall adds depth to the architectural space. Photo credit: Mandarin Oriental, Guangzhou
What would the home of an art collector look like? From finishes to furniture, Guangzhou’s Mandarin Oriental plays up this concept by featuring artworks from different cultures and locations across time and space.
Take the marble floor, for example. Its bold black-and-white lines curve and cut through the space, bringing to mind the Pearl River flowing through the city of Guangzhou.
Follow the lines to…
Look closely; what do you see? Photo credit: Mandarin Oriental, Guangzhou
… the Melon, a sculpture resembling – you guessed it – a mandarin orange. Take a closer look. It is actually created from the playful integration of Mandarin Oriental’s renowned fan logo.
3. Benesse House, Naoshima Island, Japan
Imagine a hotel, surrounded by mountains and the sea. Imagine a museum, also surrounded by mountains and the sea. Now imagine them both, together as one – a museum-in-a-hotel.
With close to 80 paintings, sculptures and installations, Benesse House, also known as Benesse Art Site Naoshima, was carefully planned to give hotel guests an all-round immersive art experience amidst Naoshima Island’s beautiful seaside landscape.
In Benesse House, art is around every corner. Some artworks you may find are Anthony Gormley’s Sublimate IV (2004), made from independent blocks intimating the chemical state of sublimation.
Its always incredible walking into a space that makes you stop, look and play with things that you would otherwise normally forget about. How sound travels (some spaces made the faintest whisper sound like you were shouting, others were so echoey and loud you didn’t want to linger), how you travel (this ramp that wrapped around the cylindrical space had a very luxurious incline and you were drawn up towards the skylight), how your line of sight travels (vectors revealing the incredible views Naoshima has to offer) #BenesseHouse #TadaoAndo #NaoshimaIsland #concrete #light #shadows
Perhaps the greatest artwork of all is the house itself. The hotel’s architecture, comprising mainly concrete, glass and wood, is minimalistic and inspired by geometric shapes. Designed by Pritzker Prize architect Tadao Ando, this architectural beauty can’t be missed.
4. Rosewood Hotel, Beijing
Furnishings and art pieces within the hotel draw inspiration from Chinese culture. Photo credit: Rosewood Beijing
It’s one thing to look at art. It’s a whole other experience to step into a hotel lobby and feel like you’re part of the art. In Rosewood Hotel, Beijing, art is integrated seamlessly into its décor to inspire a depth of respect for both traditional and contemporary art forms.
Stand in awe beneath this towering masterpiece – don’t you feel small? Photo credit: Rosewood Beijing
Step into the arrival atrium and be immediately transported into China’s mountainous landscape. Inspired by traditional shan shui (“mountain” and “water” in Mandarin) landscape paintings, this magnificent floor-to-ceiling painting features a touch of traditional calligraphy.
Eclectic, delightful and unique, the artwork in Rosewood Hotel is borne from a mix of traditional techniques and contemporary aesthetics. Created by Beijing-based artists, these pieces include ink-brush paintings, mixed media pieces and many more.
Travelling is an eye-opening experience, but this doesn’t have to be confined to the experiences outside your hotel. Art within a hotel can speak volumes of the local culture and art scene. The next time you visit any one of these Asian countries, keep these hotels in mind – every morning, you could begin your culture fix the moment you open your eyes.