Art is big business: Aman COO Roland Fasel, above, shows two friends – Melanie Brandman is on the right – the company’s latest treasure, AMAN NEW YORK. The lobby, which soars up two floors from the 14th, is stage not only for Jean-Michel Gathy’s characteristic monochrome-taupe colour palette but is also ideal setting for this ceiling-hung paper sculpture, above. Dutch specialist Peter Gentenaar’s shapes here are supported by very fine bamboo ribs: as a young boy he could not stop drawing sometimes-outrageous cartoons or designs for battleships. Now, with his American wife Pat Torley, the studio Gentenaar Torley uniquely seems to control the highest-end paper art market, worldwide.
Aman New York, run by that eternal linguist student Rudy Tauscher, who is also, by the way, a darned good hotelier, has 83 suites, on floors seven to 14. Each suite has rice paper wall murals by Ryoko Adachi inspired by a 15th century pre-Edo piece, Pine Trees by Hasegawa Tohaku. From Girlahead’s viewpoint art is also in such details as the lobby’s outside terrace decorative pool, with an in-built fire pit that seemingly springs to life of its own accord ass darkness falls.
Aman junkies have called themselves a ‘club’ since time immemorable. Now this Aman launches a formal club, exclusive and obviously, knowing Roland Fasel’s Swiss passion for excellence, quality. There’s more Swiss ART+CLUBS happening in England. Gallerists Hauser & Wirth moved into the hospitality scene, via their Artfarm, when they bought THE FIFE ARMS in Braemar. Their latest purchase, for £40 million, is London’s GROUCHO CLUB.
Interestingly Artfarm’s CEO is Ewan Venters, who was formerly at Fortnum & Mason, He promises to respect the historic traditions of the Groucho, and to engage with membership to create a long-term future that builds on its eclectic appeal and maverick ethos. ‘I think Artfarm and the Groucho are, in many ways, kindred spirits, and I am excited at the prospect of welcoming members old and new to this legendary London club’, he says.
The Groucho Club was founded 1985 by female publishers as answer to London’s male-dominated private members clubs PMCs. Why ‘Groucho’? It’s named after Groucho Marx’s famous quote ‘I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member’. Today’s Grouch Club art collection, curated by Nicky Carter, does not seem to possess works by any Hauser & Wirth-grade artist other than, perhaps, Marc Quinn. What it does have is an eclectic membership list that ranges from Harry Styles, 28, to Melvin Bragg, 82, via disruptors Julie Burchill, 63, Stephen Fry, 64, and Janet Street-Porter, 75. Young at heart.