Location: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Completion date: 2013
Artwork budget: $150,000
Sue Wade, Dir. Interior Design
The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal opened in March 2013, and was designed in a Venetian theme with neoclassical architecture and water elements. The interior followed suit with stunning marble floors, paneled ceiling, arched windows, marble balustrades all feeling very Renaissance. The opulent public lobby's upper walls which run the span of over 200' are divided by columns into sections which cried out for artwork. Twelve large-scale canvases were commissioned to reflect the neo-classical identity of the 5 star facility.
The interior of the building was designed to evoke an earlier neoclassical era, and the art was chosen to be presented accordingly, gold-leafed frames and all. The 12 canvases, entitled the Grand Canal Series, each 84" high x varied widths, (to fit in each architectural niche between columns), were conceived with the broader Venetian theme in mind. They are an elaboration of an earlier series of paintings that focused on architectural elements, usually with odd vantage points and extreme perspectives. The media is acrylic on canvas, and balances old-world traditional depiction with more contemporary sensibilities.
Sue Wade (Dir, of Design, Ritz-Carlton), was an absolute pleasure to work with. She was familiar with my work from previous projects, and was confident that my aesthetic solutions would be perfect for what she envisioned. The process consisted of exchanges of blueprints with maquettes, a ton of e-mail discussions focusing on colors and compositions, contractual details Sue guided me through, and long studio hours to assure timely completion. The works were completed ahead of schedule, rolled up for delivery, stretched and framed on site, and installed for the facility's opening. The process could've been supremely stressful, but instead was a joy, due to Sue's professionalism, sense of humor, and grace under pressure.