The Art of Not Just Sleeping

Over here I asked, “If art is meant to imitate life, where does life happen?” I listed a bunch of places where art intersects with everyday life and have another place to add to the list . .


In Geist, one of my favourite literary magazines, there’s often an advertisement on the last page for The Listel Hotel, referred to as “Vancouver’s most art-full hotel.” I wondered what this was all about so I did a bit of googling. Taken from their website,

A hotel is not just a place to sleep or eat. The good ones offer sanctuary and a welcome respite. The hotels you never forget offer something unique to see, do or learn; they reflect what Alexander Pope called “the genius of the place”. The Listel Hotel is such a place.

not your typical hotel lobby art

Usually, when we hear the words “hotel” and “art” uttered in the same sentence, we do the sort of cringe that we do when we hear the words “airport” and “food” or “hospital” and “food.” In other words, hotel art doesn’t have the best reputation. Typical hotel art is, well, typical hotel art. Safe and stale images of pastoral landscapes, a bird perched at a window, or a bowl of fruit on an brown kitchen table.

Andrew McCredie in this Vancouver Sun article calls this type of art the cookie-cutter approach of “inexpensive large-scale paintings . . . [that] give guests no idea where they are in the world apart from being in a chain hotel.”

Rosewood Hotel Georgia’s lobby with three Alan Wood abstracts

It appears that some Vancouver hotels are changing this stereotype, transforming their lobbies into art galleries so that hotels aren’t just places for tourists to pop into and sleep, but places where locals and passersby also enter to view original, inspiring works of art.

The Fairmont Pacific Rim and Rosewood Hotel Georgia are two such hotels. The Fairmont features art not just inside but outside on its walls through the favourite one-line poem of Liam Gillick. The building itself blurs the line between architecture and art.

I will leave you to contemplate this rather odd hotel-related sculpture sitting outside the Queen Victoria Hotel and Suites in Victoria.

I’ve walked by this piece numerous times and never actually saw anyone ever sit on the “benches,” and can’t say I really blame them. Concrete mattresses don’t look too inviting


One thought on “The Art of Not Just Sleeping

  1. I was just by this sign on the weekend. I was with a native Victorian and he said this is the most hated sign in the city and i had to agree with him. It’s awful. The Listel, however looks gorgeous.

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