Yesterday, I attended an Art Walk at the Haymarket Hotel, hosted by the Firmdale Group to discover how Kit Kemp curated a contemporary art collection harmoniously alongside interior design. If you have not heard of Kit Kemp, I would strongly advise browsing some of her designs either on Google, Pinterest or her Instagram (@kitkempdesignthread) since she effortlessly blends art, pattern, texture and colour (a lot of it!) in both residential and commercial spaces. She is a design icon, and never fails to impress!
The talk itself was led by curator Olivia Paterson, who did a superb job at guiding us through the hotel’s public spaces where the art is literally ‘in conversation’ with design elements such as textiles and furniture, making each space fun and interesting! Here are some of my personal favourites from the Art Walk!
We started in the foyer of the hotel where a fluid stainless steel sculpture by Sir Tony Cragg greets visitors coming and going. Its dynamism and movement reflects the notion that people constantly come and go, especially in a hotel setting. Placing this sculpture in the middle of the foyer is an appropriate location since it is visually striking and engages with the viewers.
Next to Tony Cragg’s sculpture is a 22-foot long installation, consisting of tiny thousands of stones, by British artist Sue Lawty. The installation has been stuck onto the wall, making it an interesting and visually stimulating piece! But she more importantly, challenges the concept of authorship with this piece as all the pebbles were collected by ordinary people on the beach, suggesting that anyone can be an artist. With both artworks, viewers can engage with the pieces as they are three-dimensional and made from material as opposed to a two-dimensional painting.
Next, we entered the conservatory, which is a bright and cheerful space, many thanks to the extensive but attractive use of textiles throughout on the furniture, walls and ceiling! In this space, the outdoors are brought in due to the glass ceiling where we can peer into a garden above, the leafy textiles, but also the work by Paul Winstanley provides a window into nature. And quite literally a window! Soft, semi-transparent curtains leave the viewer engaging with the scenery where we can just about make out a solitary fir tree in the distance. Since there are no windows on the walls in this space, Winstanley’s artwork is placed cleverly almost as a window!
It goes without saying that the rest of the hotel is gorgeous! Each room is a surprise, and I found myself excited to see what patterns, textures, colours, light fixtures and paintings Kit would employ to create a real joy de vivre in each space! Other hotels within the Firmdale Group include the Ham Yard Hotel and the Charlotte Street Hotel, two other firm favourites of mine!