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When you hear the term “hotel art” what image does your mind conjure? Are you immediately flooded with memories of significant works replete with emotional evocation? Do you think of provocative lines and subtle palate choices? Do you recall that feeling of a quickened heart rate as you take in the sheer daring of artistic approach?

Or maybe not….

All too often, the art we see in the spaces and places that serve as our homes away from home are so utterly forgettable—nothing described above rings true. Why? Why do we live in a world where the fear that our choices in bold, fantastic art will say something wrong shuttles us into the shoals of mediocre works in corporatism that say nothing at all?

Don’t we — travelers, adventurers, explorers, lovers of life, from the child on her first trip to the accomplished business man following his regular routine — don’t we deserve the invigorating splash of color, tasteful décor, and a dash of visual vibrancy?

A Traveler’s Haven/A Curator’s Heart

At Emillions, we believe every space, every wall, every destination, every heart, mind and soul deserves the chance to inspire and be inspired—to say something new and fresh about the world. This is why we love the new trends emerging that marry a traveler’s haven with a curator’s heart. Increasingly, hotels and vendors of travel leisure value the energy, cultural legitimacy, hipness factor, and purveyance of urbanity that well-curated art adds to their spaces.

Consumers’ attitudes and perspectives on fine art are shifting due in large part to increased ease of accessibility and availability. New opportunities for the average person are provided by online outlets such as Emillions and others.

We spoke with Micaela, an associate with the ultra-high end interior design consultancy firm, David Lyall, located just outside of Philadelphia. With a variety of clients, from affluent residential spaces to art galleries and hotels, David Lyall brings a designer’s perspective to the conversation about fine art in our abodes on the road.

“The internet and social media have connected sophisticated, world class art that was previously only available to a very small niche of internationals, with a very broad and varied art consumer,” says Micaela. “With the greater exposure to the European art market and all levels of international art and design, the client of today has greater knowledge and higher expectations of their work, play and home spaces.”

Chiluly ceiling, The Bellagio, Las Vegas

Indeed, the reality that art isn’t an afterthought but an expression of the boldness of a building or brand, has begun to permeate the design sensibilities of hotel giants. Alex Toledano, a Paris-based art consultant whose clients include Ritz-Carlton hotels, considers how hoteliers view art as part of hospitality. “Hotels, especially hotel owners, recognize that they have been spending a decent amount on art for many years without it doing anything special for their property.” This is largely due to the fact that very little effort has been given to the curation of special, one-of-a-kind pieces: works that speak to the emotional tone of the environment in which they’re placed. Toledano continues, “They’ve realized that the money could be used not only to tell an interesting narrative about their properties but also to make them more memorable.” In other words: buy better art.

Formerly, art was its own destination. In order to see collections of fine art, we would be obliged to find the nearest museum and make a special trip to let our mind and heart be enriched by these powerful mediums. But now, art is meeting us where we are already going.

Emillions’ own Lily Ng recalls when she experienced Hotel Nobu’s astutely curated art collection during her stay for the Miami Art Basel Art Fair last year. “Walking into the Hotel Nobu was a memorable experience made all the more so by a large-scale Julian Schnabel, and Kenny Scharf’s absurdist “Dawn in Paradise,” nestled behind the concierge desk. I was greeted by a mini exhibit right there in the lobby.” So, instead of just passing through, it might be necessary to buy a drink of some sort, sit in one of the many comfortable lounge chairs offered, and enjoy the view.

One from the Brant Collection, Nobu Eden Roc, Miami Beach

When art is used to tell the story of the space in which you find yourself, you’re compelled to stop and listen. This concept illustrates the growing momentum of the fine art community and brings to light the need for thoughtful consideration to be given to all of our spaces—not just galleries and museums. A former president and art lover, John F. Kennedy, saw art as vital to life. “If art is to nourish the roots of culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him.”

As our artists are increasingly sharing their process and the inspiration for their work, as freedom of expression in fine art is more enthusiastically embraced, shouldn’t all of our spaces become a refuge for that nourishment of culture — the freedom offered by truly great art?

We are curious how the Emillions community of curators, collectors, contributors and aficionados feel about art in spaces such as hotels. Leave a comment sharing your experiences with art in these places — where have you seen wonderful works?