The 125,000-square-foot Kimpton Aertson Hotel tells a story true to its name, one of grit and honesty with elevated style. Paying homage to its neighboring university’s namesake, the hotel’s design recalls the humble beginnings of the Vanderbilt family. Their pioneering spirit elevated the family name to legendary status, characterizing the innovative soul of “Music City.” Placing emphasis on local artisans and craftsmen, the Aertson offers guests a unique, sensory experience at every touchpoint. The design team used a carefully curated mix of textures, materials and custom art installations to embody the historic, creative experience that is inherently Nashville.
The client, an art enthusiast and collector, was drawn to the influence early entrepreneurs and craftsmanship had on Nashville. This strong affinity for hand-crafted art pieces and passion for the sensical museum experience drove the direction of the design to highlight artistry at every touchpoint. From the design teams perspective, this created both a challenge and an opportunity. As the space design is typically the star, artwork is often an afterthought. No longer a complimentary element, the goal was to make the artwork within the Aertson the defining factor of the hotel design from the beginning.
The design approach for the Aertson was unique from the start. Before construction even began, the design team launched into meetings with artists and craftsmen to determine which pieces would reside within the hotel’s walls.
Before concluding design-development, Orly Genger was selected to commission the lobby’s reception desk. Genger worked closely with the building team to develop a detail-sensitive, ombre rope reception desk. The hand-knotted piece served as an inspiration for the remainder of the lobby design.
The neighboring, double-sided fireplace installation was another piece commissioned early in the process. UAP North America developed an artistic suspension of wire-bound river stones to create a striking entry moment.
While several, substantial pieces were commissioned early in the process, adjustable lighting was installed in vacant areas to accommodate installations selected at a later date. One example of this was Anne Lindberg’s striking, 17-foot wide, three-dimensional installation of thread which greets guests as they enter the elevator lobby.
Every niche within The Aertson – from guestroom to bathroom – offers a new artistic experience to be explored. Collectively, these pieces were carefully curated to bring a mix of industrial-meet-organic textures together in an authentic and innovative way.
In 1650 Jan Aertson emigrated from the Netherlands to America. To honor his home village, Jan changed his surname to “Vanderbilt.” 200 years later, railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jan’s great-great grandson, established Vanderbilt University, a landmark that symbolizes the spirit of his family. Kimpton Hotels believes a hotel should reflect the uniqueness of the city it resides in. In developing the unique aesthetic for The Kimpton Aertson Hotel, the Vanderbilt’s trailblazing spirit inspired the team to pioneer a new and innovative design approach that ensured artwork and craftsmanship was the driving factor of the design.
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CODA: Collaboration of Design + Art
The global online community that celebrates design projects featuring commissioned artworks.
[ manifesto ]
Art matters. Attention to the details of our environment leads to love of place, which brings us to take responsibility for the spaces where we live and work. And by extension, the people with whom we live and work. And by extension, to our local communities, our cities, our nations, and our world.
We champion the role of artists in our society. We need artists to provide us with inspiration, creativity, and imagination, and to help us envision a better world.
Architects and designers know that remarkable design can change everything. They connect the dots across disciplines, collaborating with artists to make the world a more beautiful place. They are the ultimate patrons of the arts.
In the process, design professionals promote imagination and creativity, and through their commissions, make original art integral to and accessible in people's lives.
Art in our public and private spaces helps us fight ordinary buildings, ordinary streets, ordinary cities. We celebrate the extraordinary.
The architecture of our buildings and the design of our interiors affect our happiness and well-being. Each of us deserves a daily dose of inspiration.