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Beyond the basics: Spice up the generic concept of “Sense of Place”

Hotel, art gallery, or museum? Imagine stepping into the lobby of a picturesque hotel, where the walls are adorned with vibrant artworks, evoking a sense of the local culture and heritage. The air is infused with the aroma of regional cuisine, and every corner seems to whisper tales of the surrounding landscape.

© Azulik Tulum

This is the promise of the much-lauded “Sense of Place” approach in hospitality – the authentic essence. However, this concept is often counterpointed by interchangeable design, international trends in interiors, and artworks meant to blend in. On top, as we delve deeper into this enchanting concept, we uncover intriguing complexities and thought-provoking limitations that often linger beneath the surface. Join us as we peel back the layers of this alluring notion, exposing both the potential as well as the challenges that arise from transforming an abstract idea into a tangible experience.


When buzzwords such as local art, interactive installation, and themed immersive experience are not enough

Indictment “Authenticity”

Think about the basic strategy of whether authenticity is to be established via pure regionality and thus local artists or via a hand-picked theme interpreted by local as well as international artists. In the second case, local artists, and experts are also catalysts. This collaboration can ensure a more accurate portrayal of the culture and prevent cultural appropriation. On top, instead of just displaying art, incorporate educational components that provide your community with insights into the local culture, history, and traditions.


Indictment “Homogenization”

In order to avoid a generic or stereotypical representation of the destination, and diluting the uniqueness of each location. Diverse interpretations provide the spice. Interpret your “Sense of Place” in a contemporary and innovative manner by allowing a fresh perspective that resonates with modern minds while still capturing the essence of the place. Plus, don’t rely on one narrative. Boring! Enrich the understanding and connection by multilayered, dynamic stories acknowledging historical, cultural, and natural dimensions – and any you would like to add.


© 21c Hotel Chicago

Indictment “Overcommercialization”

Striving to create a “Sense of Place” can sometimes lead to an excessive focus on commercialization, where cultural elements are commodified purely for consumption. This can undermine the integrity of the local culture and heritage, turning them into mere marketing tools. Balance it out, and find your partner with tact who knows how to build up a deep understanding and has a sense of ethical sourcing and responsible art practices.


Indictment “Limiting Creativity”

Overemphasizing the need to conform to a preconceived notion of "Sense of Place" may stifle creative expression and limit opportunities for innovative and contemporary art that could still resonate with guests and locals alike. Be aware of stereotypes and preconceptions and find your very own values and expression. Take off your “management” or “design” glasses and let the artists have a word, talking artists’ empowerment.


© Byblos Art Hotel Veneto

Indictment “Little Dynamic”

The concept might struggle to adapt to rapidly changing socio-cultural dynamics and technological advancements, potentially resulting in a static or outdated representation of the destination. Keeping the focus on keeping one’s promise alive involves interactive and these days digital art. Updates and modification are one side, however, establishing a platform for artists while catering to the evolving interests of your community is another side to work on.


Art for the art’s sake. Stick out! Pop out! Stay true! Period.


If this article resonates with you, and you are looking for a like-minded partner in crime, simply reach out.


Yours truly,

Margot


A&P sidenote: All good things come in threes today. Three very different concepts take you away into various worlds of art: 1) Enter an interdisciplinary creative sphere by visiting Azulik a breathtaking melange of human touch, art and hospitality in the Mayan jungle. 2) 21c Museum Hotel Chicago claims and owns the art to travel. A place where comfort, culture, and curation melt into one attracting travellers and locals alike. 3) Peek behind the traditional facade of Byblos Art Hotel and stay tuned for a glorious blend of "Old World" meets over-the-top modern madness.

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