SCULPTURE IN HOSPITALITY DESIGN: MAKING A STATEMENT WITH ART By Ar. Khozema Chitalwala, Principal Architect and Designer
The famous Virginian Sculptor Hap Hagood once said “Within every block of wood and stone, there dwells a spirit, waiting to be released.” This statement has served as an inspiration to many sculptors new and old. Sculptures are often thought of as works of art that are meant to be admired from a distance. But what if sculptures are also meant to be interacted with and experienced up close? Their addition to the hospitality interiors was mainly intended to add value to the overall aesthetic of the space. But now with the changing trends in hospitality interiors, the sculptures are being used as interactive elements in the interiors of hotels, restaurants, spas, etc. This is mainly because they can create visual interest, set a theme, and make a space stand out, whether used as focal masterpieces or as mere accents to highlight and accentuate an existing space. Designer Group’s Pilibhit House, located in Haridwar, is a unique project that features a stunning sculpture of Nandi, the sacred bull of Lord Shiva. This striking installation in the lounge not only creates a spiritual aura but also serves as a conversation starter inviting guests to appreciate and explore the culture of Haridwar.
Crafting a space that is enticing is often achieved by the incorporation of sculptures within the design. A sculpture is a three-dimensional work of art moulded out of materials such as metal, wood, stone, and plastic. The materials used in creating sculptures for hospitality interiors include marble, granite, metal, and ceramic. The foreign objects are skillfully worked with and embedded within the interior or exterior fabric of the design to create a stunning, eye-catching, and alluring dimension. These are often introduced into the interiors to alleviate boredom and monotony, act as a focal point of attention, enhance the look and feel of spaces, and bring in a more organic and Zen presence.
Sculptures in hospitality interiors are usually positioned in areas where guests can appreciate and experience them, such as lobbies, restaurants, bars, and foyers. There are artwork sculptures that feature geometric forms, human portraits, and fantastic creatures, as well as both abstract and figurative designs. Sculptures can also be integrated into features such as a balcony handrail, or a water feature. Their incorporation in hospitality designs resonates on many levels with guests, offering a sense of place, a connection to nature, and a soothing respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Every sculpt exhibits subtle details, illustrating the artist’s individual style. Often so palpable, these artful elements encourage guest interaction, invoke a sense of curiosity, and offer a touch of whimsy to interiors.
By exposing a work of art in hospitality interiors the brand identity is communicated to its guests. These artworks serve as open windows to the soul of a hospitality design revealing it’s core values and beliefs. The local artwork infused into the interiors strikes a balance between the emotional and functional needs of the occupants, creating a sense of well-being and belonging. This adds to the experiential aspect of the hospitality design and creates a unique identity for it.
A sculpture is more than what meets the eye. When skillfully crafted and thoughtfully integrated within a space, it can evoke an emotional and spiritual response. The aesthetics of sculpture are boundless and are not limited by the materials used in its creation, but rather by the expertise of the artist. Much like music, they can be created in a variety of ways, ranging from realism to abstraction, and can be, in part, determined by what materials are used, the artist’s process, and the viewer’s interpretation.