Art is becoming an essential part of a hotel’s essence and décor with many hotels hiring curators to help them tell their story through art.
Experience the significant role art plays in the hospitality industry at Katara Towers. Symbolically intertwined with Qatar’s heritage, the iconic towers in Lusail City are an architectural translation of Qatar’s national seal, representing the traditional scimitar swords. The towers are home to Qatar’s newest and most luxurious hotels, Fairmont Doha and Raffles Doha, each arching skyward with dramatic poise, creating a sense of wonder with curated beauty that unfolds in every space with abundant masterful artistry.
As one of their many ways to give guests next-level hotel experiences, the hotels have invested greatly in art by being one of the few hotels in Qatar with an art curator, also known as a hotel curator, creating aesthetic spaces and forming lasting connections with guests.
The role of an art curator
Tal Danai is the art curator at Katara Towers. ‘The role of an art curator, being a relatively new discipline in hotel design, is still somewhat fluid. Some see that role as an offspring of interior design, with the responsibility of the art curator to decorate the space created by the designer,’ he said.
Danai is the founder and CEO of ArtLink, which he founded in 1996 to develop a pioneering global market segment for young and emerging art and make the art of our time available, accessible and affordable to the world. ‘For us, the art and craft selected for a project is a separate layer from those developed by architecture, interior design and the other disciplines contributing to a hotel’s environment,’ he said.
‘We challenge ourselves in researching each location with the aim of extracting its inherent natural stories. We form narratives based on the history and culture of a place or concoct original ones to stimulate and enhance a guest’s experience,’ he said.
ArtLink offers professional art curation and provision expertise in the hospitality sector. It is now the leader in its market and has completed over 140 hotel and cruise ship projects worldwide. ‘We promote cultures and learn to speak specific brand language for each project. We team up with academic institutions for research of emotional and cognitive triggers and tap into the creativity of artists in a journey to layer more brushstrokes on our storied canvases. We challenge fabricators and technology providers to help us materialise our own imagination and that of the artists we engage. We conduct a symphony that comes to life when guests encounter the art and craft collections and are touched by them. We have the best job in the world,’ he said.
Art at Katara Towers
Katara Towers have abundant masterful Qatari artistry. ‘During our research for the Katara Towers project, a fascinating cultural phenomenon kept surfacing from the materials. The Qatari people have for centuries been “Trades of Cultures”,’ said Danai, adding that the over-arching curatorial framework rests on the idea of ‘Trades of Cultures’ or ‘Trading Cultures’. From that narrative, they have branched out into related narratives and have focused elements of the collection on specific areas that feature their own stories.
‘The unique position on the Silk Route and the reliance on pearling and the pearl trade have brought many a people from many cultures to Qatar. The locals have embraced the objects and stories brought over by foreigners, reworked them into their culture, their arts and their crafts and in turn, released the outcome back to the world,’ said Danai.
‘That fascinating phenomenon of an almost secluded culture that hosts and accepts others, that is curious to encounter other cultures, and which feels comfortable reprocessing what comes its way, was the pillar to the curatorial narrative we have developed for the project,’ he said.
Art at Katara Towers features a rich and versatile art collection with artwork in a variety of media, including paintings, ceramics, sculptures, glass and more by more than 120 local and international artists. From Qatar, you will see the work of well-known local artists Aziza Iqbal, Shua’a Ali and Noor Abuissa. International artists include Natalie Blake, Kati Junger, Marie Andree Cote, Mattia Bosco, Jesus Perea, Ali Almasri, Omar Safa, Chris Wood and more.
As guests visit Fairmont Doha and Raffles Doha at Katara Towers, make sure to take in the art around you. ‘I would love guests to pay attention, appreciate, have an alternative look at the rich culture they are visiting and walk away with memories they can re-visit of a unique cultural experience,’ said Danai. To achieve that coherent narrative sharing, the front of house staff is trained to talk about the art and engage with guests.
The Managing Director of Raffles and Fairmont Doha at Katara Towers, Christian Hirt, said, ‘Art is an integral part of the essence and décor of the two hotels, allowing them to tell their story and create memorable experiences for guests. At Katara Towers, the architectural translation of Qatar’s national seal symbolically intertwines with the country’s heritage. With the expertise of a hotel curator, the hotels have invested greatly in art, creating aesthetic spaces and forming lasting connections with guests. The art collection at Katara Towers features a diverse range of media by local and international artists, showcasing Qatar’s rich culture. Through engaging with the art, guests can have a unique cultural experience and create lasting memories.’
In collaboration with Katara Towers, ArtLink will produce a film and book about the art collection at Fairmont Doha and Raffles Doha, featuring some of the artists, their artwork and stories.
The role of art in the hospitality industry
A great first impression is key, and art can play a significant role in doing just that. Today, many hotels are understanding that art can play an important role in leaving guests with a lasting impression. ‘Far are the days since hotels may have seen themselves as places to sleep and maybe eat. Hotels today are experiential, they compete with one another to better understand and anticipate guests’ needs, whims and wishes and provide beyond what those may be,’ said Danai. ‘Guests have become accustomed to expecting more of their hotel experiences. As guests, we became more sensitive, more demanding and harder to please. Comparing experiences has become the norm. Personal research has become easier and much more accurate.’
According to Danai, art curators at hotels are tasked with adding local cultural layers, supporting brand values, providing moments of inner reflections, and creating memory anchors guests will take away with them to revisit their experiences.
In addition to Raffles Doha and Fairmont Doha at Katara Towers, there are many other hotels and resorts in Qatar that create aesthetic spaces with art to enhance the guest experience, including Abesq Doha Hotel and Residences; Fuwairit Kite Beach (FKB); InterContinental Doha The City; Le Méridien City Center Doha; Marsa Malaz Kempinski, The Pearl – Doha; Mondrian Doha; Pullman Doha West Bay; The Ned Doha; Waldorf Astoria Lusail Doha; W Doha Hotel & Residences; and more.
Author: Ola Diab
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