The Strong Influence of Art and Design on Traveller’s Experience

(Left) Talenia Phua Gajardo, head art & design hunter and founder/CEO of The Artling | (right) Kim Tay, gallery director and co-founder

For centuries, the various forms of art have played a significant role in how people remember things, their experiences and enthusiasm. From the Renaissance era to modern and contemporary design, art has served as an inspiration for imagination. This being the case, art and design has great potential to enhance a traveller’s experience.

The Artling is an Art and Design consultancy and online gallery that offers creative and bespoke art and design solutions. Their hospitality art consultants understand the role art and design play in creating a unique ambience that guests will cherish and remember for years to come. The company recently partnered with Patina Maldives, Fari Islands to curate a collection of specially commissioned artworks.

Momento by FAHR 021.3 at Patina Maldives

Conceived by Talenia Phua Gajardo, head art & design hunter and founder/CEO of The Artling and Kim Tay, gallery director and co-founder; the artworks include a six-metre-wide tapestry by New York-based artist Hiroko Takeda, a series of eight mirrored columns by Netherlands based Chinese artist Hongjie Yang, a series of stone sculptures by self-taught Mexican sculptor Jose Dávila and a ‘Skyspace’ by US Artist James Turrell, which was commissioned directly by the client.

“There has been a rise in interest in using art for corporate and hospitality projects, as it has the unique ability to engage with visitors in an unconventional way,” said Kim Tay. “The Patina art collection is unrivalled in the Maldives, and we hope that guests will start to see it as a world-class art destination, not just as a vacation spot. Art can uplift and transform a space, and with the collection at Patina, travellers are able to immerse themselves in the pieces in a way that isn’t possible in one’s day-to-day life.”

Kim explained that the art consultancy process varies significantly depending on the client and site specifications. “For Patina Maldives, we worked very closely with the client, the interior designers and landscape architects to come up with an initial brief and themes that would tie the artwork collection together. From there, we started sourcing for the right artists, whose existing practices already met the brief, and that we could commission for site-specific pieces for the island. We worked with artists from all over the world to create new concepts and produce bespoke pieces for Patina.” The aim was to create a collection that both complemented and enhanced the beautiful architecture and natural environment of the Maldives.

Amarta, Skyspace by James Turrell at Patina Maldives

The artworks transport guests and create moments of surprise interaction in pockets of space throughout the island. For instance, the centrepiece of the island’s art collection, Amarta is the latest in the long-running series of ‘Skyspaces’ by renowned US artist and influential member of the California Light and Space movement, James Turrell. He says: “The unique thing about creating a Skyspace in the Maldives is that if there were ever a Skyspace at sea, the Maldives is perfectly that in the Indian ocean. I look at water as spirit, and light as that spirit which unites the vision with the eyes closed (vision in the dream state) with the light that is in the physical world. This is something that is uniquely done here in the Maldives and why I entitled the piece Amarta. Amarta is the immortal elixir, which I feel to be light.”

Another impressive work is the images of Maldivian flora and fauna captured by renowned Brazilian photographer Cássio Vasconcellos. The series of nine large-scale photographic prints are found in guest’s villas and imbue the interiors with a tropical sense of place, drawing the outside in and further accentuating the architectural dialogue with nature.

Synthesis Monoliths by Hongjie Yang at Patina Maldives

When asked about which artwork at Patina Maldives was her favourite, Kim said “It’s very hard for us to pick one! They all have such unique qualities, materiality and narratives. From the specially-commissioned photography series by Cássio Vasconcellos featuring Maldivian flora and fauna, to the reflective sculptural installation by Hongjie Yang and the painstakingly hand-woven tapestry by Hiroko Takeda; every work has its own individual value and story behind it.”

The Artling is also an online gallery with offerings from thousands of emerging and established artists around the world. As an online gallery, the company aims to be at the forefront of the latest technology. “We utilize Augmented Reality on our iOS App to allow users to see artworks in their space to scale, we recently launched a series of Digital and Generative Artworks on the platform, and are in the process of launching a curated collection of NFTs.” In future, these new technologies are also to be integrated with the Patina’s art programme. Future plans include the creation of a dedicated space at the resort which would host a rolling programme of artist residencies, exhibitions and exclusive events curated by The Artling, with a particular focus on themes such as sustainability, renewal, community, balance and transformation.