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Project: Great Northern Hotel
Sector: Hospitality

First opened in 1854 and now skillfully renovated, the Great Northern Hotel is one of the finest luxury boutique hotels in London. Since coming on board in 2015 as one of our most prestigious hospitality clients, we have been delighted to build a diverse collection of bespoke art throughout the hotel, working directly with the hotel owner and CEO to develop an evolving art strategy.

The collection is set across a number of different locations including the lift lobbies, corridors and staircases. As advocates of emerging talent, ARTIQ and the Great Northern Hotel have worked together to develop a strategy which passionately showcases the finest in emerging artists. Each lift lobby holds a mini exhibition of an emerging artist; as guests emerge on the landing of any specific floor, they see one of the next, potentially, great British artists. ARTIQ art consultants Katie Terres & Patrick McCrae have expertly curated a selection of exciting works by emerging artists including Gillian Swan, Natalia Toplass and Claire Brewster.

The works in the lift lobbies and corridors rotate every six months as part of ARTIQ’s art rental rotation offer, enabling the hotel and visitors to enjoy a consistently evolving collection of inspiring art.

Perhaps the most exciting part of this large collection is the bespoke installation by artist Debbie Smyth, commissioned by the Great Northern Hotel. ‘A Journey of Thoughts’ is a stunning focal point in the hotel’s central staircase and depicts a journey of discovery embracing some of London’s iconic landmarks, its connectivity and rich heritage through Debbie’s intricate thread art.

Throughout the corridors, Katie & Patrick have curated a selection of beautifully hung prints of Shakespearean scenes which rotate frequently to mirror the current exhibition at the British Library and reflect the provenance of the hotel. The staircase too, reflects the locality of the Great Northern Hotel to Kings Cross Station, featuring vintage film posters of railway based classics.

The latest addition to the collection is another feature for the main staircase, installed in 2018. Chosen to reflect themes of heritage and transport, ARTIQ procured a vintage photographic work from the National Railway Museum and Science & Society Picture Library that depicts the locomotive coaling plant at King’s Cross Depot, pictured in March 1935. Subtly nodding to the hotel’s locale, the work transports guests into a time of industrial revolution and connectivity, highlighting the Great Northern Hotel’s position as an internationally renowned hotel.

A landmark piece for both the Great Northern Hotel and ARTIQ, the work went through a variety of stages of development, with Katie Terres, Head of Operations at ARTIQ working closely with the owner to painstakingly edit the work to take on an awe-inspiring scale of 3m x 2m. Katie enlisted the services of East London based steel fabricators Can of Gas to build a bespoke metal frame for the piece, further bringing to life the industrial themes within the image through material.

This stunning addition to the collection was a testimony to the expertise of ARTIQ’s installation team, requiring four of our technicians to install the work within the staircase and to develop a bespoke backing structure to support the work and ensure this large-scale piece is perfectly situated so as to inspire guests time and time again.