2014.04.17 Thu, by Translated by: 路弯弯
Hotel Eclat—An Art Hotel in Beijing

Features Strong Work but Details a Bit Sloppy

The newly opened Hotel Eclat occupies the 16th to the 21st floors of the beautiful Parkview Green—a pyramid of glass and steel that rises out of Beijing’s Chaoyang District. Walking into the lobby, guests are bombarded by a tidal wave of blue chip art—pieces by Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, Zeng Fanzhi and Chen Wenling. Initially, the hotel’s eclectic sense of curation and placement are overwhelming, but nonetheless the effort to make art a crucial part of the design is a welcome one.

With floors dedicated to Chinese and Western art, the hotel aims to promote both local and international names. “The Gallery,”—the lobby lounge of the hotel—is the most impressive room by far. While nearly each piece that constitutes the interior is unique, from the chairs to the lighting to the actual artwork, Eclat is still able to highlight each artwork individually without resorting to the sparse, white-cube approach.

At the entrance of “The Gallery,” right next to cheeky pair of Chen Wenling’s iconic “red boy” sculptures is “The Giant Panda,”—one of a series of ten prints created by Andy Warhol about endangered species in 1983. Environmental sustainability is a theme in this building, as the Parkview Green holds a LEED certificate, and uses innovative environmental technologies resulting in energy conversion.

Dali Chairs

The centerpiece of “The Gallery” is a major work by Zeng Fanzhi, “Untitled,” but a dynamic ceiling installation designed by Jitka Kamencova Skuhava made of hand-blown Lasvit red and blue glass is just as imposing. Other works include doors from Battersea Power Station, Water in Dripping No. 4” by Zheng Lu, and a glittering gold “Trojan on Horseback,” just one of the 36 Dali bronzes which can be found in and around the hotel.

Chairs include designs from Maarten Baas, Bertjan Pot and Arne Jacobson. While Mendini’s Proust lounge chair covered with colorful Neo-Impressionist Pointillist-inspired textiles is a standout piece and Philippe Starck’s “Mi Ming” chairs and Tom Dixon’s vintage red EPS chairs also compete for the attention of guests.

View of Beijing Hotel Eclat

As the ceiling is taken up by Skuhava’s installation, lighting is accomplished by an eclectic mix of contemporary and retro lamps. A magnificent red lamp by Otto Canaldo and Ramón Ubeda towers at the entrance, but it is “The Zeppelin’ FLOS” lamp designed by Marcel Wanders and Gina Sarfatti’s 1958 candelabrum-shaped chandelier which dominate the room.

While it is certainly impressive that Eclat Beijing houses the largest private collection of Salvador Dali artworks outside of Europe, it is equally as confusing, then, why the owner of the hotel would actually attempt to change these highly coveted pieces. For example, the centerpiece in the lobby has actually been repainted in gold and displayed with a red LED heart.

View of Beijing Hotel Eclat

“The Cocoon,” Eclat’s function room on their very top floor, overlooks the Embassy area, which is uniquely lit up at night. The hotel is also surrounded by an immaculately groomed tropical garden, which adds a pleasantly otherworldly touch in the midst of the chilly Beijing winter.

While it may be heralded as one of the leading art hotels of the world, I cannot say the same for certain design elements. Despite the piles of money spent on certain accents, the is scant attention paid to the overall concept. For instance the luxurious “Lagoon Suites,” which each feature a private pool balcony, are organized around a hackneyed group of themes such as “Midnight in Paris,” “Harry Potter” (was this licensed? One wonders) and “Miami Beach.” While they do feature some rather remarkable artworks in these individuals rooms, the rest of the decoration is clumsily assembled. The “Harry Potter” bookcase is piled with blatantly fake vintage books, the counter tops in “Midnight in Paris” are decorated with cheap cut-out silhouettes in rococo frames.

Ironically though, the deluxe (standard size) rooms did not have such any inconsistencies. Instead, their details, such as the ILLY espresso machines, Miller Harris toiletries, 3D TV and massage chair go above and beyond the standard at other luxury hotels in Beijing.

That said, unless you’re a worshipper at the cult of Dali or an OCD interior decorator, such transgressions are easily forgivable, as Eclat really does give an incomparable art hotel experience one rare to be found in a city like Beijing.

View of “Midnight in Paris”