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Hotels Hip It Up with Projection Art

August 8, 2008 at 4:00 PM | by | ()

Look up there! It's a bird...it's a plane...it's graffiti on the side of a hotel!

Properties graced with chic, minimalist facades often rely on their recognizable modern architecture as a selling point. But recently, three hotels have taken the innovative step of making their concrete slabs interactive.

The nautically funky Maritime Hotel in New York was the first to get the virtual treatment several years back, when street art group Graffiti Research Lab brought their "Projection Bombing" to 9th Avenue. Using homemade projection technology, they converted the Maritime's be-portholed structure into a gigantic canvas for connect-the-dots and ambient imagery.

This stunt eventually got Graffiti Research Lab on the Museum of Modern Art's radar, who recently purchased one of their interactive projection machines for themselves (and subsequently used it to scrawl  "F*ck This Museum" on the wall).

Then in early 2006, James Hotels continued their mini-march onto the scene by incorporating a similar projection feature into the lobby courtyard of their James Chicago property. It's even been curated by Gene Pressman, the former Chief Executive Officer and creative director of Barneys New York! The Chicago projections are a step up from the smaller attempts of The James Scottsdale, where their attempt at cutting-edge art consists of images of James Dean and James Bond (get it? all Jameses).

From that first guerilla project at The Maritime to The James' more conservative attempts, the use of projection art in hotels seemed touch-and-go until the InterContinental Century City upped the ante last month. Bringing in artist Kime Buzzelli and Klip Collective, InterContinental absolutely embraced the concept of interactive architecture and transformed the front of their 17-story hotel into a 17-story video advertisement.

Shown every evening through July, the projection was basically a montage of the hotel's services, but it succeeded in drawing attention to the hotel property due to its novelty and shear size. We're sorry we missed it, but somehow we're sure the next step will be to project special nightly rates in drip-graffiti.

[Photo: Grafitti Research Lab]

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