When The Peninsula Paris, France, opened on 1st August 2014, one of its many artistic touchpoints was a snowflake-like ceiling-hung disseminated Lasvit chandelier of hand-blown glass bits shaped as falling leaves. Currently this artwork, and the many striking paintings dotted around the first floor public spaces, are temporarily complemented by a select pop-up art exhibition. Through 26th November, the hotel is showing several pieces specially commissioned by Hongkong & Shanghai Hotels. The gal’s favourite is HOME, a dark wood box, 1.25m x1.25m with a glass top. Look in, and you appear to see down to infinity, or at least to the bowels of the earth.
Each of the four inner facets of the box bears a single neon-light letter, H, O, M or E. Thanks to mirrors, these electric shapes are seemingly reflected forever. Interestingly, Brooklyn NY-based artist Iván Navarro, states that all his pieces refer to the control of personal activity. Electricity was a way of manipulation during his childhood in his native Chile, when power was sometimes deliberately cut off. Almost immediately after HOME was installed, a local guest asked how much HOME was? We explained it was not for sale, said newly arrived GM Mauro Governato. He was showing me HOME. Peninsula’s corporate marketing boss, Mark Kobayashi, who had purchased the piece, was, completely by coincidence, in town, from his base in Hong Kong.
“The Peninsula Paris values artists and this cooperation allows things to happen. We will continue to generate awareness that we are not only for sleeping, eating and drinking”, he continued. It is also for keeping fit. The hotel’s 30m basement pool has a regular roster of important locals who come to do their daily laps – the number of outside members is deliberately kept to 21 so that hotel guests are not inconvenienced by finding pool lanes, or bits of LifeFitness gym equipment, are all taken by locals. It does actually show, throughout the hotel, that more and more Parisians are using this hotel, for coffee by themselves, or for small meetings.
There are many reasons for this. The public areas and bedrooms are really beautiful – see a video of room 334 below. The hotel staff are lovely, confident and natural: while I was waiting for my car on departure, doorman Guillaume started a fascinating conversation on the supposedly-20,000 scooters that are plaguing Paris traffic (whether they are Bird, Bolt, Bolt by Usain Bolt, Circ, Dott, Hive, Jump, Lime, Tier, Voi, Ufo and Wind). Guillaume moved here from another luxury hotel. This is the best, he says. Now that comment, from an employee, is much better than any online review, which as we all know can sadly sometimes be rigged. NOW SEE ROOM 334