It’s no surprise that the paintings, objects and sculptures inside The Ritz-Carlton, Melbourne were carefully considered. The city is known for its visual arts scene, and it was important to Chapman and the whole team that the pieces in the public areas and private spaces reflect the creativity of Melbourne. The hotel houses over 1,000 pieces of artwork from 12 different artists. Except for a painting by renowned modernist Roger Kemp, everything is an original commission. The goal was to curate a collection that would help guests connect to the city on a deeper level.
“Often when you stay in international hotels, the artwork is generic. But if the pieces inside the property have a relationship to the place that you're visiting, it gives you an introduction to the energy of the city, the people and the culture. It creates a unique experience and that's what you’re looking for when you travel,” says Chapman.
To source the artwork, he sought the input of local artists and made sure to include several pieces that represented the First Nation community. A selection of these items are displayed on the ground floor, such as Clark’s bronze door handles, vivid paintings and sculptures by Aboriginal graffiti artist Reko Rennie and a beautiful set of tall, black and white painted ceremonial poles by Djirrirra Wununmurra. Their placement on level one is deliberate. “The ride up to the 80th floor represents the journey from the earth up into the heavens. We wanted those burial poles to evoke that feeling,” says Chapman.
The rest of the collection is as eclectic as Melbourne–it’s full of memorable and unexpected pieces. Guests can take in an intriguing wall sculpture by contemporary artist Hannah Quinlivan, iconic black and white prints by photographer Fabrice Bigot, or an 1880s-inspired large-scale drawing by Robert Scholten, an illustrator and muralist. “Throughout the hotel, we’ve created a collection that really engages with the culture of Melbourne. Whether they stop to ponder it or they just catch a glimpse through the corner of their eye, each piece has something to offer everyone moving through the hotel,” says Chapman. Just like Melbourne.