Gina Deary – Art Installations, The Key to Transforming a Hotel Design Into an Experience
Art Business News
December 13, 2022
For more than two decades, our interior design teams at KTGY-SDDG have amplified the deep intraconnection of each of our hotel and hospitality projects through design narratives that shape and articulate the guest experience. The layered process of bringing together craft, discipline and perspective allows for a dynamic spatial dialogue that inspires a brand story and defines a unique sense of place. Art plays a key role in creating this dialogue and the creative collaboration between designer and artist ultimately allows the story to unfold in rich and distinctive ways.
From clever mixed-media busts at the Hotel Kansas City to the stunning installation of nearly 360 Edison bulbs at the Detroit Foundation Hotel — and dozens of other projects on our resume — our collaborations with artists and the built environment inform and inspire the guest experience.
We wholeheartedly believe interactive hospitality spaces — ones that support and exhibit the magical relationship between art and architecture — are what make our environments unlike any other. Only by creating a symbiotic relationship with art, the artist, and the space itself can we deliver sensory experiences that delight and engage.
We begin with a concept, and the process of finding that big idea involves much plotting and planning around how art can help define our design narrative and elevate our aesthetic. The idea is the starting point; then we begin engaging with individual artists and the artist community. Whether we’re supporting emerging talent or a well-known name, we make sure each artist shares our vision of creating distinct focal points that tell a memorable story and engage the community.
As designers and artists, it’s nearly impossible to explain how the creative process manifests itself; it’s an individual journey. In the relationship between designer and artist, it’s the designer’s role to clearly communicate the concept, the possibilities, the brand story and, sometimes, the limitations of space and time — and then step back, wait, and watch as each artist brings their creativity to full realization.
We’re constantly amazed by the energy, both tangible and intangible, that artists bring to our projects. Between context and the freedom to work, the artist inevitably conjures up exactly what the space needs, sometimes through what feels like an otherworldly process.
While we’re used to collaborating, most of our clients haven’t typically engaged with artists. But by the end of our design journey, we’re thrilled to see those relationships deepen. Often, following completion of our work, the client plays an integral role in continuing the relationship with the local art community. After our design team has moved on, the project’s story lives on and the art installation becomes a unique, living piece of the property; a voice, whether it’s small and subdued or big and roaring, that belongs only to its environment.
Throughout our design history, we’ve learned that striking a careful balance between art — whether it’s an installation, a sculpture, a painting, or a light fixture — and interiors is an art unto itself. We’ve been lucky enough to have had many powerful moments when the stars aligned, and magic was made.
Our project at the Hotel Kansas City is a favorite illustration of how art can breathe life into a property’s history. The Gothic Revival building, which sits on the National Register of Historic Places, was originally one of the oldest gentlemen’s clubs in Missouri. We wanted to give a nod to its historical reference with a dose of humor and irreverence. To accomplish this, we commissioned a series of modern busts of the six original key club members, including Teddy Roosevelt, who now greet guests in the lobby. It’s an unexpected moment of playfulness that adds intrigue to an already important property.
As a rule, location and history always inform our artistic choices. When we began our work at the Detroit Foundation Hotel, I immediately flashed back to one of my earliest memories of the city: an abundance of broken-bulbed streetlights that marked the then-decaying downtown. How could we incorporate that visceral memory and a piece of the city’s history into a project that spoke to its rebirth? A collaboration between artist Alex Porbe, Incite Design, and our design team unearthed the answer. The result is a luminous installation of 357 custom Edison-style vintage bulbs and 50 hand-blown glass globes now hanging over the hotel bar, elevating a simple memory into a sublime work of art.