ART STARTER: Curating art at Aloft Perth with Design Theory's Lisa Reeves
Originally published on Design Travel written by Stephanie Williams
Art and hotels, it’s a match made in heaven right? At Perth’s brand new Aloft Hotel, the art collection has taken centre stage with the help of Lisa Reeves of local design firm, Design Theory. We spoke to Lisa recently to get her insider’s opinion on why art plays a critical role in a satisfying hotel stay.
What role did you play in creating the interior space of Aloft Perth?
Design Theory was invited to design the interior spaces of the ground floor - reception, W XYZ Bar, Backyard, Splash (Pool), Refuel and Springs Kitchen (the signature restaurant). As the project evolved, I was also appointed as Art Consultant, curating a collection of local artworks - several of which have been commissioned specifically for the hotel. It has been an incredible opportunity to be involved in both the interior design and art, and to integrate the two throughout.
How does choosing art for a hotel differ from forming a private collection in a corporate environment or client's home?
There is a confidence Aloft Hotels’ embody, and an energy that is similar to an optimism that can be found in Western Australia's landscape, people and way of life. Each work selected has this common thread - energy and a vibrant use of colour. Hotel artworks can be bolder, larger, brighter than we might otherwise choose for our own home. They can speak of adventure, dreams and a sense of place unique to your destination. When collecting for home I'm all about buying what you love. Corporate collections vary widely and are becoming increasingly important supporters of practising contemporary artists.
What are some of the art and design highlights in the hotel?
Art highlights include Stephen Baker's huge 17m wide mural over the pool, the striking colours by day and then animation bringing the work to life at night. Elle Campbell's painting 'Southern Cross' is another favourite - her expressive brush strokes capture the colours she sees when under starlight on the farm where she grew up. And of course there is Mike Gray's striking photographic series featured throughout the guest rooms; an astronaut, moon buggy and jet packs all captured amongst Perth laneways. Design highlights include the Springs Kitchen counter covered in vibrant encaustic tiles, the iconic B&B Italia Up chair in the lobby and W XYZ Bar's New York loft vibe.
Millennial travellers are an increasingly important segment of the market - were they considered part of the mix when you were developing the strategy and collection for Aloft Perth?
Absolutely. Through their intuitive use of technology, this generation has the highest level of connectivity and aesthetic awareness ever seen. We wanted to engage millennials by bringing our unique art scene to them inside Aloft Perth, and create spaces with plenty of personality where both design and a good time can be experienced.
What trends are you seeing in the hotel space right now?
Hotels have undergone a shift in recent years, with the conservative ‘one fits all’ approach no longer satisfying many travellers. The new wave of hotels we're seeing are locally aware, custom designed, relaxed in their quality and independently minded. For our studio, one of the most exciting trends is the design focus on common spaces - hotels are becoming more than guest rooms, rather spaces you want to stay longer in, relax over brunch or meet friends for a drink.