Aug. 30, 2016
When the 73-room Beaumont Hotel opened its doors in London’s Mayfair district in 2014, it made an artistic statement so conspicuous that not even passers-by could disregard it. The building’s southernmost exterior is crowned by the British artist Antony Gormley’s inhabitable sculpture of a crouching man, which doubles as the property’s priciest and most conceptual suite.
But “ROOM,” the official name of Mr. Gormley’s sculpture, is only one element of a very deliberate artistic focus that the owners Jeremy King and Chris Corbin, two of London’s best-known restaurateurs, placed at the center of their concept, one that hinges on a fictional story that Mr. King created to establish a sense of place. Collected in a span of three years by Mr. King and his wife, Lauren Gurvich King, the art selection at the Beaumont works on two levels. “There is a simple decorative element that alludes to a particular period, but there is also a strong narrative,” Mr. King said. “Each work supports the back story I created about the New York hotelier Jimmy Beaumont who moved to London in the late ’20s to open his eponymous hotel.”
The art — a mix of more than 1,700 original paintings, photographs and prints that relate to places or people Jimmy would have known — serves to support the story and lend authenticity, the abiding buzzword today among hoteliers striving to offer guests an immersive and memorable experience. “If the art is not authentic when trying to create an atmosphere from a particular era, then you risk ending up with pastiche, when the intent is to celebrate the craftsmanship and creativity of the originals,” Mr. King said.