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The Peninsula Hotel Kicks Off Art Basel Hong Kong With a New Traveling Art Program

The luxury hotel group will host a program called Art in Resonance, inviting artists to create interactive art installations inside its properties.

Peninsula Hong Kong Photo: Courtesy of Peninsula Hong Kong

It’s no great secret that The Peninsula Hotels across the globe have made luxury accommodations into a fine art. Now, the hotel group is aiming to make that premise more than a metaphor.

On Tuesday, the Peninsula is launching Art in Resonance, a new program that will feature commissioned immersive works from a roster of mid-career contemporary artists. The hotel, which is an official partner to Art Basel Hong Kong, is making the savvy decision to open its doors to the world of visual art by commissioning  the artists to create works that will play out in its tony lobbies and hallways—all for the benefit of guests.

The Peninsula tapped three artists and an architectural collective to launch the program: American Janet Echelman focuses on larger-than-life “experiential sculpture,” which often responds to the elements such as wind and light; Chilean Iván Navarro creates sculptures using neon and incandescent lights; Australian Timothy Paul Myers works with found objects (often textiles from thrift stores and flea markets) to produce “upcycled” pieces; and the Chinese collective MINAX works with architecture. They’ve all been invited to participate in the inaugural edition of this multi-year-long project, which debuted on Tuesday—just preceding Art Basel Hong Kong‘s opening day—and will travel among the hotel group’s different properties. The works are meant to be “rooted in the physical world” according to its curators, but also contain more ephemeral considerations, such as linking guests and visitors across the globe by “physical experiences that amplify the senses and foster collective participation.”

Timothy Paul Myers, Janet Echelman, Zhi Gang Lu, Ivan Navarro

Timothy Paul Myers, Janet Echelman, Zhi Gang Lu, Ivan Navarro  Photo: Weston Wells; Ungano Agriodimas; MINAX Architects; Weston Wells

“As a global luxury hotel brand with a 90-year legacy, we understand the important place that art holds for humanity,” says Peter Borer, CEO of The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited, which owns and operates The Peninsula Hotels. “It’s an inclusive, universal language that crosses borders and builds connections.”

To that end, the hotels will also be scheduling IRL interactive events like artist talks, studio visits, and panel discussions to help fill out this program. “We not only want to provide artists with a platform to exhibit, but we want to commission original pieces to support working artists and ensure the health of the cultural ecosystem within each of the hotel’s local communities,” Borer said.

As Airbnb gains popularity, it’s wise for hotels to create ways to engage with the communities they’re placed within and position themselves more than just a place to park your belongings and catch some Zs. Art, of course, seems a natural way for The Peninsula to do just that. And allowing artists to create situations that are likely to inspire some Instagram selfies and sharing is not only a great way for visitors to feel like the hotel is creating a special experience for them, it’s also free marketing. Savvy and artsy? Count us in.

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