Skip to main content

Digital art can increase visual impact, create mood, and provide the simple ability to change content frequently.

Obie Hospitality’s Gordon Hotel opened last year in Eugene, Oregon, and features a 21-screen digital art installation by art collective Harmonic Laboratory. Titled The Great Wall, the digital art spans two floors and is located behind reception in the lobby. The Gordon has now had a chance to fix the problems and change the art, even hosting showcases for University of Oregon digital art students who contributed content.

As hoteliers examine the pros and cons of digital art, HOTELS explores the medium from the perspective of the hotelier and the artist – both from a cost perspective and impact on customers (and staff). We conducted a Q&A with Nicole Roselio, Marketing Director and Brand Innovator for Eugene-based Obie Hospitality, as well as John Park, Eugene-based Harmonic Lab Project Manager for The Great Wall Project .

HOTELS: Did you always know you wanted digital art for The Gordon Hotel, and if not, how did you come to that decision?

Nicole Roselio: We were familiar with the work of Harmonic Laboratory and were impressed with their large scale installations. We originally planned a large mural in the lobby, but wanted something a little more engaging that was also an opportunity to showcase different artists and spin the art. We didn’t want it to be static. So we showed Harmonic the space and the ceiling, and they came up with some ideas. We all decided that the digital wall was the path we wanted to take.

A look at the Great Wall inside the lobby of the Gordon Hotel, Eugene, Oregon

H: In terms of the budget, are you satisfied with your decision? Is there anything you would have changed or warned other hoteliers about before embarking on a project like this?

NR: It is an investment. There are hotels that will choose a few very important pieces of art, and that’s what they want to incorporate into the guest experience. I think what I love about it is that we didn’t plan on doing it. When designing the space, we knew our goal, but we didn’t know how to achieve it. My recommendation is to set aside what you want to spend, but don’t define and restrict yourself. Allow the fluidity to try something that may be unexpected but still fits your goals. It was a year-long process of exploration and logistical determination. If you don’t leave time for it, you might miss it.

We made a small model of the Great Wall in our model room as a test, where Harmonic put it together and figured out all the wiring and programming before duplicating it at 3 times the scale, which definitely helped . Because they did, it allowed us to make some adjustments before the big setup happened. Harmonic also continues to help with troubleshooting. If a screen goes dark, they are there to fix it, which wouldn’t be possible if they weren’t local.

H: What do the customer comments on the wall look like?

NR: From the moment people started walking through this hall, you would just see them stop and stare. It’s so unexpected. Even after opening several months ago, I still see people bringing visitors or family/friends to show them around, and some people just sit on the couch and watch. Not even guests per se, but locals. It definitely achieved our goal of having a place to engage and have rotating art. It also creates an energy in the space depending on the content being played. We learned to intentionally program natural/more soothing content in the morning, which also has slower transitions between frames. In the evening we will present the bolder and more dynamic student work, which also has a sharper rhythm and sense of movement. You definitely feel the change.

21 55-inch screens make up The Great Wall installation

H: In your future Obie Hospitality projects, do you think you will do more digital art installations? If yes, why?

NR: I would love to, yes. The extent of this one makes it a very special artist who knows how to create for him. Although the wall features different artists, it narrows the scope/field of artists who can participate. Maybe to make it more accessible to other artists, we would have a smaller scale room/screens in a future property, knowing now what it takes to create those rooms.

H: What would you have done differently if you had to do it again?

John Park: We were lucky to have entered into this project when we did it, essentially at the time of the landscaping of the hotel, but before the electrical and interior materials had been chosen. In hindsight, we’d probably opt for bigger and fewer screens to fill the same sized space. The technical needs of the project and the content creation of the video images displayed on the screens are related to the total number of screens. Thus, 15 screens of 65 inches would have been much easier to handle than 21 screens of 55 inches.

H: Any advice for hoteliers looking for digital artists to partner with, things they should think about?

JP: We suggest that hoteliers consider digital artists as partners and creative problem solvers who have the training and skills to develop innovative experiences. The media landscape is saturated with billions of small screens in the form of smartphones, but experiences viewing large video installations or digital projections in hospitality spaces can offer a digital cue for a place that no phone app can match. …Digital art offers a blend between the physical architecture of a hotel and a meaningful connection to the surrounding geography that guests hope to experience.

Source link