A Bold Move
Hear from a brand that’s tapping artists to bring unique art into their hotels. Read our interview with Thomas Cook representative David Child, Head of Communications Hotels & Resorts at Thomas Cook on their latest mural project. In partnership with Talenthouse.
What roles do creativity and artwork play in the for hotel space and the Cook’s Club brand and why is it so important?
Cook’s Club is our latest own-brand hotel at Thomas Cook. We have designed it to appeal to a new generation of travellers who look for hotels that mirror their lifestyles at home but on the beach. So, stripped-back, modern design with a great street-food style canteen and excellent bar all backed with a soundtrack that builds the atmosphere from day to night.
We wanted to open up some of the spaces in the hotel to emerging artistic talent and also give guests something fun and playful to enjoy while they chill out by the pool or sip a cocktail at the bar.
Why did Cook’s Club want to engage artists across Europe to create artwork for this hotel?
Thomas Cook sends more than 20 million customers from Europe on holiday every year. And we’ve been doing that for more than 175 years. It was important to us that we brought in talent from across the continent.
What does this type of creative work bring to the hotel?
Holidays are a time for meeting new people, having fun and taking a break. The artworks we now have at Cook’s Club provide the perfect conversation-starter or Insta-backdrop to our guests’ stay with us – and also provide a great showcase for the artists’ own talents to thousands of people every summer.
This open brief for the Cook’s Club, Crete hotel was focused around interpreting “holidays” in fun, eye-catching and “out-there” ways - did you find the submissions the brief received gave you insight into how creators interpreted this?
We had more than 600 submissions and it was really tough to choose the final three. The level of creativity; ingenuity around the story, and artistic talent was impressive. We could have easily picked 20 artists to work with if we had enough spare walls. Some people were quite literal while others did lots of research on local and relevant stories that they could bring to life. Others were more personal and plenty that were much more of an abstract interpretation of the brief. Plenty of difficult conversations between the judges to pick our final artists.
Did you find submissions the brief received brought a fresh and exciting level of creativity or perspective?
It’s hard to know what sort of response you’re going to get with this sort of collaboration. It was great to see how every artist interpreted it in their own way – it was clear from many that they’d taken a lot of time to research the hotel; the area, and our ambitions and create something that fitted into that.
There were so many unique, creative ideas submitted for this brief. How did you find the selection process?
The selection process was tough. Each of the judges reviewed every piece and selected their favourites. We then reviewed each others’ and agreed on out top ten – then we reviewed them a bit more critically in terms of the logistics of delivering it in a public space while the hotel was open and within a week. That got us down to five and then it was just a battle of wills!
What about the Selected Artwork made them stand out and be chosen for permanent display at the hotel?
We all loved Normski’s piece straight away: it stands out as a really modern piece of art that fits that holiday mood and we knew it would make a bold statement in the space. Mark’s was a really playful piece that we knew guests would enjoy interacting with and it created a bit of theatre in a quiet corner of the hotel. Miyuki’s worked really well with Normski’s and we liked the way she’d brought in the traditional dolphin fresco from the nearby Knossos Palace and played with the word dolphin to create a piece that matched her natural style but blended well into our hotel.
The three pieces of artwork are currently being installed in the hotel. What are your initial thoughts on the artists, the artwork and how it’s going?
It’s been a fascinating process. None of them has tackled something on this scale before which is daunting for everyone but their enthusiasm has been great to see.
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