Briefed to "capture the spirit, richness and magic" of Mayfair's iconic Connaught Hotel, brand consultancy The Partners turned to Outline Artists' Kristjana S Williams to tell the story of 200 years of traditions, details and idiosyncrasies through a unique piece of art that would also form the hotel's rebranded identity.
Inspired by and depicting the hotel, the artwork (shown above) uses traditional Victorian etchings and reimagines them in a way that is both contemporary and elegant. The work captures not only the sense of place which the hotel occupies at the heart of Mayfair Village, but also the genuine warmth and gentle humour which are quintessentially British and profoundly ‘Connaught’.
The artwork (detail, shown above) tells the visual narrative of the hotel’s story, with each of the hand-painted and hand-cut elements of the collage capturing its most iconic features and tales, both past and present. Particularly notable is a Saluki hunting hound standing at the centre of the piece, the core feature of the hotel’s crest for over a century, as well as a number of butterflies which pay homage to a Damien Hirst artwork hanging in the hotel’s Michelin star restaurant, Hélène Darroze at the Connaught. References are also made to the hotel’s namesake, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn (Queen Victoria’s seventh child), whose portrait hangs on every floor of the hotel, as well as quietly celebrated details, such as the hotel’s ornate silverware and the horse chestnut trees that stand outside its entrance.
A year in the making, Kristjana's original 2m x 1.5m artwork has just been installed at the hotel for visitors and staff to enjoy, and choice crops from the artwork will also appear on 160 pieces of beautifully produced, high quality branded items, each element specially chosen to befit a particular application. For example, the key chain of the Duke of Connaught was chosen to feature on the room keycards, while a bird with an ornate cutlery headdress was used to feature on the front of the in-room dining menu.
Sitting alongside the hotel's iconic crest and purple colour palette, the use of elements lifted from Kristjana's artwork bring a new dimension and personality to the hotel experience, masterfully blending the tradition of craftsmanship in the creative process with a contemporary application, full of character and quintessentially British charm.
The artwork itself will join a collection of over 3,000 worksk displayed in the hotel. Guests will be able to study the piece in detail aided by an audio recording, telling the story of how the collage has brought the Connaught story to life.
The work has already picked up an in-book award and a yellow pencil nomination in this year's D&AD awards, and has scooped a Grand Prize at New York Festivals.