Check in to a luxury suite designed and curated by a British artist

Luxury in the region often leaves us in awe. This summer, you can indulge in a fully immersive, sensory experience at a hotel and celebrate the joy of worldliness and the beauty of global travel


Purva Grover

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Published: Thu 14 Jul 2022, 7:09 PM

Imagine a chance to check in to a suite designed and curated by an acclaimed artist, for InterContinental Hotels & Resorts has collaborated with an acclaimed British artist to unveil a series of fully immersive experiences at InterContinental Dubai Festival City. Claire Luxton, a British contemporary multidisciplinary artist, works with photography, installation, poetry and painting to explore the delicate equilibrium between humans and nature.

Dubai’s Claire Luxton Experience heroes a limited-edition suite. Taking cues from her personal travels and inspirations, she brings the brand to life through the natural flora and fauna, signature of her artwork in combination with an array of sensory experiences, including a drawn bath and soundscape. Every detail and room accent across the suite has been transformed to reflect her style with features including bespoke artwork, lighting and soft furnishings. In addition, she has created similar experiences at InterContinental London Park Lane and InterContinental New York Barclay too.

Claire draws on both the modern anxiety of society and the environment, with each portrait, painting and accompanying poetry becoming an exploration of isolation, desire and uncertainty. In the past, she has collaborated with brands like Adobe, L’Occitane, and McQueens, and created bespoke public art for Westminster Council, JP Morgan, The Affordable Art Fair & The Birmingham Royal Ballet, etc.

Excerpts from an interview with the artist:

What is your view on working in Dubai as an artist?

Straight out of university one of the first-ever collections of paintings I sold was to a collector in Dubai, so it feels very powerful, a true full-circle moment if you will, to be working on such a prestigious project in Dubai at this point in my career.

You like to explore two extremely relevant themes, especially in the post-pandemic era, isolation and uncertainty. Tell us more.

My ‘best’ work is always the work that is the most vulnerable and honest. The work where I push my personal and physical boundaries. The ‘human’ state has always been at the heart of my work and during the pandemic, I felt more empowered than ever to explore and challenge what we were experiencing as a global body.

How do you blend arts and emotional health? There is a heavy reliance on even the usage of words like hope, sorry, et al.

I think so much of what we experience as humans is felt universally. I’m so happy that mental health is something that is acknowledged now and more widely spoken about, but I still feel it has a long way to go. Therefore, I find art a really powerful tool, to act as a vehicle to encourage conversation on the topic and a voice to let people know they aren’t alone.

Where would you say your early inspiration came from?

I have always been a ‘moody romantic’ and feel a lot of my early inspiration can be traced back to classic authors like Brontë and Austen, in addition to classical and historical music. My work has always been driven by experience, these certainly channelled some of my early experiences and inspiration.

What’s your view on NFTs?

Like with the advancement of photography and technology, it only makes sense that art would follow suit and adapt to the times. From the early days, I have seen NFTs as a possible extension of my practice, a way in which a different process and experience could be created. However, I’m very thoughtful and spend a great length of time researching my projects so until recently I hadn’t yet ventured into NFTs as I knew I wanted the concept, timing and process to be an organic evolution of my practice. However, I’m excited to share that I am currently working on my first NFT collection of 10 unique NFTs commissioned by InterContinental. This seemed the perfect development of the project, building on the elegance of global travel and a celebration of journeys both linear and physical.

It’s been tough for artists. What kept you going in the turbulent times?

Over the past two years, I have felt more inspired than ever to share my work, connect with people, inspire, spark conversation and communicate through the universal language of art. I think we learnt a lot from the pandemic, and I certainly agree we saw a greater cry out for art and the value of how art brings us all together. I actually wrote an essay on the topic for Harper’s Bazaar UK.

If not an artist, you would have been...

My childhood dream, excluding artist, was to be an archaeologist. I have such a passion for history and the ancient world. But in reality, I think I would have been an interior designer.

So, you studied arts as a subject, but did you know this is what you’d like to do for a living?

I think I have known since I was a young child that I wanted to be an artist. My mum has always said I was an artist in the womb.

Images, objects or colours — what plays a crucial role in your creative process?

All three without question! My work is often very physical and performative in the process, so objects play a pivotal role, but colour and image are at the heart of the feeling, texture and experience of my work.

You romance various forms of arts, from physical arts to visual. What is the one you enjoy the most and why?

So hard to pick, but I ultimately think when I can create something that is physically demanding but also visually stimulating I’m the happiest.

In the age of mobile cameras and IG filters, what do you think is the future of photography?

I think the future of photography is incredibly bright and exciting. There is now an opportunity more than ever for photography to be accessible, playful and diverse. The ‘materiality’ of photography is at its most flexible point in history, and this can only allow artists to push boundaries and ultimately bring forth the unexpected.

What is your thought process when it comes to empowering a subject on camera/canvas/ screen?

This comes back to honesty and vulnerability. The subject or I must let go fully to show what’s underneath. Working on set design, environment and character really help build this trust and vision that allows magic to happen.

Tell us about your upcoming projects.

So, of course, I currently have my global Claire Luxton Suites in London, New York and Dubai, which is the extension of our project to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the hotel brand. I’m also launching an exciting artwork at Les Halles with MTArt & Westfield in Paris.

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