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"Raffles Hotel, Singapore, Luggage Label"
"Raffles Hotel, Singapore, Luggage Label," 1940. Courtesy of Raffles Hotel Singapore.
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"Banff Springs Hotel"
Bruce Price, "Banff Springs Hotel," 1888. Photo by Canada/ MinistËre de l'IntÈrieur, c.1909. Dept. of Interior / Library and Archives Canada / PA-040647.
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"Kozy Koach, El Cosmico, Marfa"
"Kozy Koach, El Cosmico, Marfa," 2009. Photo: Eric Ryan Anderson.
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"Ace Hotel Portland Lobby"
"Ace Hotel Portland Lobby," 2007. Photo: Jeremy Pelley © Ace Hotel Group.
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"Therme Vals, Switzerland"
Peter Zumthor, "Therme Vals, Switzerland," 1996. Photo: Nico Schaerer © Therme Vals.
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Rachel Topham, Vancouver Art Gal
"Imperial Hotel, Japan, Luggage Label"
"Imperial Hotel, Japan, Luggage Label," c. 1935 Photo: Rachel Topham, Vancouver Art Gallery.
Grand Hotel: Redesigning Modern Life
To September 15, 2013
Vancouver Art Gallery
By Beverly Cramp
As a little girl, Los Angeles-based Jennifer Volland was elated when her family vacationed at motels. As a university student, she chose hotel design as her thesis topic. Now, she’s turned this lifelong passion into an exhibition, Grand Hotel, co-curated with Vancouver Art Gallery senior curator Bruce Grenville. “Grand Hotel charts the evolution of the hotel from an isolated and utilitarian structure to a cultural phenomenon that figures prominently within the global landscape,” says Volland. She goes further in her catalogue essay, asserting the hotel is “a metaphor for the self and, more generally, for life.” The show has been seven years in the making. For the last two, a blog was used to explore various aspects of hotels and gather comments. The exhibition has four main themes: Travel, design, culture and social aspects. The travel section, for instance, examines how hotels emerged out of notions of hospitality, while design considers how hotels have been influenced by changing style trends and vice versa. “Hotels are lavish laboratories into cultural production,” Volland says. “They contain great works of art such as music, fine art, culinary specialties and have impacted literature.” Featured are New York’s Chelsea and Algonquin hotels, the Beat Hotel in Paris, and Dutch designer Richard Hutten’s piece, the Llayers Llove Room, from Tokyo’s Llove Hotel, a temporary installation of 14 rooms available for overnight stays during one month in 2010.